Ungodly Costs of Advertising Should Be Cut (or Be Repurposed for a Worthy Cause): A Super Bowl Ad Critique

by cindybrugge

In line with the rest of America, this week’s blog is obviously going to rant about something relating to the biggest event in my house; the Super Bowl. My dad, a father to three girls, takes every opportunity to tout his masculinity to the “nth” degree. So, when February comes around, he buys 30 pounds of beef for a barbecue and invites his friends over for a day of eating and yelling at the television screen. I refuse to take part in the event, but I did cave this year for my beloved Bruno at half time. Normally, I won’t even watch the commercials.

This year, I was lucky because most of the commercials made it online before the game, and the best Super Bowl commercial wasn’t even aired during the game. If you haven’t taken the time to watch the Newcastle Brown Ale commercial, stop reading right now and go check it out!

Now that we’re all on the same page, we can all agree that the Newcastle strategy was entertainingly clever. They picked a very trendy but relatable actress, who’s known for her quirky, quips in interviews. If you’ve ever seen her in an interview, you might feel like she helped them write this script. Plus, the closing shot of the beer is just enough irony to really make the commercial perfect.

It’s funny that the Super Bowl has become more about the advertisements than anything else. Companies invest oodles of our moola into convincing us to spend more money. For this exact reason, Newcastle designed their entire advertising strategy around this ridiculous reality. Before the brand released the hilarious ad staring Kendrick, they shared a few other tidbits of comic genius such as a “Teaser for Newcastle’s Mega huge football Game Ad,” videos with a mock focus group and a few other ingenious videos. To harp on their parody, one video even says, “Get ready for some marketing!”

To further exploit the cheap advertising alternative, Newcastle jumped on the other “free” marketing bandwagon – social media. Three days before the Super Bowl, Kendrick tweeted, “Newcastle paid me to tweet about an ad they didn’t make. It’s a weird time people.” With the video attached, the tweet went viral – totaling nearly 3,000 retweets to date.

Although I think Newcastle was the reigning champ this year, they weren’t the only ones to create an inexpensive marketing campaign that caught millions of eyes. Other companies, such as J.C. Penney and Esurance, jumped into this low budget forum for capitalizing on the Super Bowl traffic. With nearly 25 million tweets in the four-hour time period of the game, many brands were able to reach out to their followers with creative social media strategies. It seems that young people enjoy this interaction just as much as the multi-million dollar advertisements. Personally, I find it much MORE entertaining and I respect the corporate thriftiness.

I think this trend is going to start popping up more and more in the future. I’ve seen this creative alternative to traditional ads in other avenues. For example, the Secret Life of Walter Mitty advertising budget facilitated a very cool opportunity for Indie Filmmaker Casey Neistat. Twentieth Century Fox offered him $25,000 to produce a promo video with the mantra “live your dreams.” With this massive ad budget, Neistat spent the money to provide supplies and meals to thousands of Filipino typhoon victims. His team recorded the effort and created a touching video. This alternative option to advertising reminded me of how incredibly large the budgets are for marketing and how it can be used otherwise. It still effectively marketed the movie, but it made the viewer believe in something good again. It’s this creativity that I hope to see in the future because, honestly, there’s just no need to spend $4 million to produce a 30-second advertisement.