Look Who’s Drinking The Super Bowl Cool Aid

According to the deluge of positive, if not effervescent ink, about Sunday’s Super Bowl TV commercials we are back in the good old days of TV advertising and the highly profitable broadcast advertising agency. It’s a nice vision and one that the advertising industry gets to revisit and bask in once a year.

So, bask on. I figure we have about another two days of “We love advertising” delusional sunshine. The problem, of course, is that good old-fashioned TV advertising is dying a slow death. I could offer up reams of supporting data but you know what’s going on.

Super Bowl XLVIII

Americans have told us that they don’t like TV advertising for years and now can control their viewing habits better than ever. And why wouldn’t they, when they are deluged by commercials on network television. Football, in particular, is jam-packed with the average 3-hour broadcast having only 11 minutes of actual playing time. The Super Bowl, with its TV commercial hype, was the only football game that I watched this year without the benefit of DVR slicing and dicing.

DVR HH penetration and usage is up. This means that the percentage of shows viewed in real time is declining. And, this means that people are skipping commercials.

Viewers, in particular Gen Y viewers, are shifting their viewing habits to mobile, tablets and PCs where TV commercials can be easily avoided. Like landlines, the sought after Gen Y viewer doesn’t want or need a monthly cable TV statement.

Now that the Super Bowl spectacle is over what is the marketing and advertising industry to think? I hope that TV-oriented Creative Directors aren’t really thinking that their careers are safe.

On the other hand, I hope that the digital gurus aren’t over reacting to the Oreo “Blackout” Tweet. Despite it’s real-time power, according to Wired on February 4, the Tweet was re-tweeted on 15,000 times and generated 20,000 Likes on Facebook. Beyond the digerati patting themselves on the back, these are not CPG brand building numbers.

As Super Bowl mania cools down, we are hearing that FOX is heading into the market to begin negotiations for next year’s Super Bowl. I am sure that there are many agencies starting their own client conversations about the value of Super Bowl advertising (and, hopefully, integrated social media and PR programs.) It will be interesting in the next couple of years to see if the Super Bowl continues to look like TV advertising’s last gasp or a bridge into a more enlightening use of integrated TV advertising and social media campaigns. The next generation of Internet connected TV’s (ala Apple TV) should facilitate a closer relationship between the game, TV and social media.

Find more of Peter on Twitter at @peterlevitan



About Peter Levitan

Peter worked at Saatchi & Saatchi for 16 years. He was CEO and founder of Advance Publication’s New Jersey Online. Most recently he was CEO of the Portland ad agency Citrus which he sold in 2011. Peter also recently wrote Boomercide: From Woodstock To Suicide about Boomers “offing themselves” before they go broke.