Super Bowl Advertising and Purchase Intent

There’s an article on the American Marketing Association’s website which discusses Super Bowl advertising, and what I find so interesting, and refreshing, about the article is that it talks about a topic that most marketers and creative professionals never seem to discuss. Instead of talking about the brands, the cost, the special effects, the celebrities, the hype, etc., of Super Bowl advertising, the author of this article would rather discuss the topic of purchase intent. Yes, purchase intent. Remember that?

Sure a brand can spend $4 million for a 30-second spot, hire a well-known celebrity, use the latest in special effects, integrate the ad with social media, use real-time marketing, etc., but the question at the end of the day, or game for that matter, remains, do any or all of these tactics increase a consumer’s intent to actually purchase the product or service that’s being advertised? Yes, buzz might be created on Twitter during game time, or at the water cooler on Monday morning, etc., but, how many widgets will actually be sold as a direct result of the Super Bowl advertisement or overall campaign? Actually, to go one step further, this question could be asked of most any advertisement. Case in point…Nissan runs a television commercial which shows its cars doing tricks as they “snowboard” down a half-pipe. Really? And how exactly is that increasing a prospective customer’s intent to purchase an automobile that costs thousands of dollars? Why not actually talk about the car? (I’ll stop there when it comes to car commercials.)

My point, as well as the author’s of the article cited above, is that advertising in any shape or form needs to be driven by how it gets consumers closer to purchasing, as opposed to how it gets consumers to be merely entertained or amused. The stakes are too high for ads to be irrelevant, meaningless, valueless, etc. The litmus test for advertisers should be, does our ad move the consumer closer to purchasing, period. If it doesn’t then the ad probably serves as a great interruption.

Although I’ll be part of a somewhat captive audience during the Super Bowl, I can’t wait to see how many 30 or 60-second interruptions I get to witness.

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