No, not Tom Brady—The Super Bowl Ad.

Long hailed as the MVP of marketing tactics, it may be time to re-think if the Super Bowl ad is still a winning play in today’s complex marketing world.

Back when Lombardi was more than a hologram on the sideline, TV was the only game in town and presented an opportunity to impact millions of people effectively and efficiently.  Now, when even the Super Bowl is experienced across a broad range of platforms, marketers would be wise to question the value and potential of a single, 30-second spot on a Sunday night in February.

1. The field of play is changing. Given the growing fragmentation of media, it’s tough to quantify the short- and long-term financial impact of such a buy.  Granted, you are reaching 96 million people, but how many of them are potential customers? And, are you reaching them in the most efficient and effective way, given its $5.6 million price tag?

2. What is the “fully loaded” cost?  Even with such a large audience, ensuring your ad breaks through requires additional investment both online and offline, and before and after the ad itself airs. What, then, is the true financial impact in the short- and long-term of your total investment?

3. What are the opportunity costs?  The right way to see past the shiny appeal of this advertising icon is to consider how else you could spend that money.  Are you more likely to be successful in a single conversation with your customer or through a sustained dialogue throughout the year?

Keen’s algorithms validate two realities again and again for brand decision makers:

  1. Over-investing in a concentrated time period, even over an entire season, can make your program extremely unprofitable (and the impact likely to decay quickly).
  2. Continuity, on the other hand, builds value over time, like layers of rock.

The Super Bowl ad flies in the face of both of these contemporary marketing principles.

While a few behemoth brands may continue to pull out an occasional win at the Super Bowl, the winning playbook in today’s marketing milieu is built on consistency, a healthy diversity of online and offline tactics, and a keen focus on building a winning streak for your brand. Tools like Keen’s help marketers consider the real costs and benefits of opportunities and customize your playbooks to balance all these factors. Learn more.