Monday, February 7, 2011

It's a crap shoot.

I don't know how many commercials were on last night's Super Bowl. I suppose I could look it up but I don't really care that much.

What impresses me about Super Bowl commercials is that everyone--not just everyone in the business--but everyone knows how high the stakes are, how much it costs per 30-seconds, how big the stage, how intense the scrutiny.

Therefore, you'd think, that agencies, clients, marketers, researchers, brain scan neurologists subjected the spots that ran last night to all sorts of testing regimen. Was there a single spot that ran last night that didn't test well?

Assuming that's the case, why were so many just bad? Boring, loud, rip-offs, dumb, incomplete, non-persuasive?

My guess is that if you did research on research you'd find that research is right about what it's researching about 50% of the time.

In other words, the spots last night tested well, but the tests themselves probably didn't.

There's an old Latin-ism translated as "Who will guard the guards themselves."

Who tests the testers?


Tore Claesson said...

That is a very god question.

Anonymous said...

Amen. I also had the same feeling. The ads this year were subpar.

Hannah Tannenbaum said...

I would take it even further than just saying the ads were bad, a few of them were outright offensive. The groupon ads which started out seeming like real charities and then devolved into a coupon website?!?! disturbingly bad!

geo said...

You tell 'em, Hannah. It's funny but Broadcast Media used to have a set of standards. Networks, for instance, in order to get an FCC license used to have to comply with rules about their news programs as well as educational programming. Similarly advertisers needed to comply with "community standards" around decency. (I remember a friend of mine getting a commercial killed because it contained a "burp.")

All these limitations have disappeared. We routinely see opinion masquerading as news. And commercials that are crass, disgusting and downright, as you point out, disturbing.

Anonymous said...

I second Hannah's thought. The Groupon spot was just bad taste. The others were just lame.

geo said...

Even the idea of using Eminem as a spokesperson would have to make you think twice, at least to people of my generation who control 77% of the disposable income in the US.

His "anthrax on a tampax" offends me. Not sure he's the symbol I'd want for the rebirth of the American auto industry.