Superbowl Ads: Staying on point and getting audience recall

What makes advertising go viral?  What makes advertising effective?  Can they co-exist in your overall marketing mix?    A lot of experts and statisticians think there are 3 significant components  to “viral.”  Funny, celebrities and/or plain old sexy.  What’s your take?

I won’t go into who I think topped the rankings of Superbowl ads since its done to death in other media outlets, but what I am going to do is chat a little bit about getting to the point with your message to generate advertising recall.  We talk about this subject a lot with Right Here Interactive customers, partners and internally and it’s important to you as marketer to understand the concepts and apply them to your own efforts.

I had no real skin in the game itself since I’m not a fan of either Green Bay or Pittsburgh (although, hailing from Buffalo NY, I was rooting for Green Bay).  So for me, the evening was more about the ads themselves.  I tried to watch as many as I could without being unsocialble to the other party guests and hosts.  One thing kept sticking in my mind, an opinion if you will.  Who… oh who…. will stay on point???

I feel like one of the biggest challenges that advertisers face with their Superbowl ads is “recall.”  No, I don’t mean recalling or not playing a certain ad.  Rather, can the average person recall who the ad was for?  Last year, Justin Timberlake did a great and funny parody of himself in an Ad, but for the life of me, I don’t remember who or what it was for.  If you and I don’t remember who or what the advertisement is for (even if it’s the funniest thing since Caddy Shack), is the ad effective?

Think about how many of the ads you recall not by the advertiser or product, but rather by the celebrity, or the humor behind it, without recalling who the advertiser was.  I’m not saying that this is the case with all of the ads or even most of them.  There seems to be a direct correlation between the amount of effort made to make things funny and recall effect.  It’s a fine line between great ads (i.e. funny, etc.) and effective ads.

On the plus side, even if an ad is super funny or just plain awesome and has a low recall, it may fair well over time as most media outlets are replaying, polling, and talking about the ads repeatedly.  It’s completely free placement and worth a lot to the advertisers.  I mean seriously, how many events have post event polling on how great the ads are?

But I digress, I want to show you who I think did a damn fine job with the balance between funny and effective.  Verizon.  A simple message about how much we all seem to love the iPhone, but now with call clarity.

I really think that Verizon hit the mark in a big way.  It was subtly funny, yet it got its message across as clear as day.  They want you to know that you can actually make calls with their network.  Sure, it wasn’t over the top funny and the closest thing to a celebrity endorsement is their own creation; the “can you hear me now” guy, but everyone who laid eyes on that ad sure did remember it was Verizon.

Verizon really did do a great job making it appear that they are the superior carrier, despite the many reasons guru’s are saying to wait or think twice about switching to the Verizon service early on.  Your humble narrator will heed these warnings and wait (iPhoneless I might add) until the iPhone 5 arrives.

Bottom Line

Whether this year is all about videos, mobile, social media, or web and microsites, you need to keep that balance between creating a viral buzz with your messages and assuring your advertising recall is as high as it can be.  People won’t be re-evaluating and polling how great your spot is after they’ve watched it that first time.

Make it memorable…

photo credit: Any given sunday via photopin (license)

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