Super Bowl Spots Don’t Need To Induce A Transaction To Work

Adweek created a new Super Bowl blog and recruited several luminaries from Adlandia to contribute to it today.
One luminary, direct marketing guru Seth Godin, (who coined the term “permission marketing” ) says today’s media game isn’t about “selling anything, per se.”

Instead, it’s about creating a short little movie that spreads. Yes, it’s permission marketing. Permission marketing because viewers are asking for the ads, they want the ads, they look forward to them. BUT, we’re not watching them because we want to buy or even to learn (the way, say, Google ads work). We’re watching because we want to be in on the joke, to have something to share.

In other words, people want to avoid being labeled cultural illiterates come Monday morning. Personally, I revel in my cultural illiteracy. But it doesn’t apply to football. I like football.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I’m always a little weary of commentator/consultants who use their own catch phrase in every situation.

  2. If corporations really want to make consumers happy, they should forego costly Super Bowl ads and instead invest in a Chief Customer Officer, a single person of power charged with putting him or herself in the customers’ mind.
    But instead they spend their time and money making sure their ad is funny and entertaining, which doesn’t mean it sells more products. A good marketer surprises consumers by giving them new ideas on how and why to use a particular product. Ads developed by typical people or starring famous celebrities may get laughs, but are unlikely to generate sales. For every dollar you spend you should be seeing a dollar back and I sincerely doubt that these companies are generating an additional $2.6 million due to these Super Bowl ads.
    Marketers need to stop thinking that marketing HAS to be creative. It HAS to sell goods and services. Sometimes the least creative marketing is the most effective.
    Mark Stevens
    CEO of MSCO