The Super Bowl Waste


Super Bowl Commercials. Wasteful.

Super Bowl Commercials- Just Entertainment

Wasteful Super Bowl CommercialsSuper Bowl commercials are more important than the game itself.  Is no longer merely the sporting event it used to be.

It has gradually, over the years, and especially the four decades of its existence, become the definitive cultural event of our age, at least in this country, the United States.

This event has got so thoroughly hyped over this decade that anticipation, not only of the actual game is king. The anticipation of the pre-game show. The half-time show. And, the advertising has begun to claim as much interest as the actual sporting event itself.

Let us first look at the sporting event itself, the NFL finals before we talk about the Super Bowl commercials..

Not like other sports

Unlike baseball and basketball, the other premier American sports, the NFL’s championship is not the result of seven matches. It is a single game.

The teams playing may have played before, and one might have won handily in an earlier skirmish, but this may have no bearing on the outcome on this stage.

There are few games where outside factors play a greater role. Where actual skill can be trumped by sheer psychological pressures. Injuries, wind, moisture, temperature, and familiarity with the stadium. The relatively unpredictable bounce and wobbles of the peculiarly shaped ball. The psychological states of players, all can conspire to determine the winner.

And yet this single event, perhaps because it is only a single event, has become the premier sporting event of this country. It has become the premier media event in the country. Broadcast in hundreds of countries. And the Super Bowl commercials are as big a deal as the game.

It is a unique showcase of American popular culture.

In addition, this pre-eminence has given the event a glow that makes players, coaches, and performers mega-stars. Advertisers, agencies, and organizers feel more self-important than the event actually deserves. The spend a ton on Super Bowl commercials.

Just think of it, this single event accounts for almost $9 billion of spending.

Super Bowl Commercials. A Crowded Market

With each Super Bowl, however, we can be sure that most of it did not fulfill the purpose. The purpose for which companies were paying heavily for it. Like increasing market-share for their respective products.

So many of them are funny, some are even hilarious. But, most of them were so busy entertaining that they forgot to identify their brand properly. What was most shocking was that almost all of them failed to provide any reason to switch. To switch from a competitive brand. That isn’t funny.

Are Super Bowl Commercials All About Business?

It’s difficult to get over the feeling that Super Bowl advertising is less about business. It is more on an ego trip for the advertising people and their ad agencies. Each seems to address, not the prospect, but their peers and competitors. Those in the advertising industry. All to get some bragging time within the community.

Wasteful Super Bowl CommercialsThat depressing notion was followed by and even more horrifying thought. That the people who made and approved these commercials are jaded in a culture of entertainment. So jaded that they had forgotten the purpose of advertising investments.

They were blindly developing and producing advertising that was draining their financial resources. And doing it so wantonly, as though they were keeping the faucet running.

The companies and agencies that developed and approved all this Super Bowl advertising have lost sight of the purpose. And are being allowed to make, these enormous investments in advertising.

Business is the most accountable function in our world today.

There are shareholders who have made investments in these companies. Investment based on the expectation that these companies will accomplish better results than their competitors with lower investments will.

Accountability? Wasteful Super Bowl Commercials

The Boards of Directors are accountable to their shareholders.  They are supposed to ensure that the management they select to run these companies will be responsible and accountable. This is precisely why the compensation of top management has itself been sharply increasing.

Because, these top managements are expected to deliver significant increments in profits. And on a sustainable basis, year in and year out, year after year.

Wasteful Super Bowl CommercialsIn the midst of all this accountability, how can these advertisers spend so much so irresponsibly?

How can they even consider airing commercials that cannot be reasonably expected to affect conversions of their competitors’ customers to their own brands?

Crazy costs

So, how can they even imagine paying such stratospheric rates demanded by this peak media event of the year?

Could it be that the advertising profession, and it practitioners, don’t really understand the relationship of their function? The relationship to the bottom lines?

We have long feared this. But the advertising at this Super Bowl has demonstrated that there is little if any consideration of accountability. Accountability going into the decision-making processes that led to the selection of these commercials.  And even less to the approval of these media rates for airing them.

Our advertising industry is still infatuated with the appearance of cleverness in advertising.


This may sound like a full condemnation of today’s competitive market scape. And it is.

However, it is also a clarion cry that sings of opportunity to those who can place ego well behind  themselves. And Solute effectiveness. And, decide to put share-stealing practices into their advertising strategy. (Read how to find important emotional messages for your advertising here)

See more posts in the following related categories: Super Bowl Advertising