Taking a Page from the Super Bowl High

Colleen Leddy is the group communications strategy director at creative agency Droga5. Follow her on Twitter @colleddy.

Yesterday was Super Bowl Monday. And for those of us in the advertising industry, it was a bit harder than usual to get out of bed. We had to go back to sharing equal status with used-car salesmen. Today, consumers go back to being skeptical of our promises and seeking ways to avoid us.

We have to wait another whole year to be back in the bright lights of the Super Bowl.
But Sunday was a good day for the ad industry. We celebrated each other, and we were the darlings of the media. Our friends and family sang our praises. Super Bowl Sunday is arguably the one moment each year when people opt in, not out, of advertising.

So why is the Super Bowl the exception for advertising, rather than the rule?

As an industry, we treat the Super Bowl ad differently than a normal ad. It gets its own brief, its own budget, its own meetings, and the best and the brightest minds at the agency. Everyone clamors to work on this ad.

We feel differently about creating this ad. For a moment, we’re not marketers. Instead, we’re magicians, turning insights into entertainment. Turning clients’ $3.8M investment into newfound fans We understand that the very best ideas happen when the creative output and the context it appears in are so perfectly intertwined that they can’t be pulled apart. So we dive headfirst into the context and learn everything there is to know about people on Super Bowl Sunday. We learn that this viewing experience is more social than most. We learn 1.25 billion wings will be consumed, and we learn that people are more likely to go to the bathroom during the game than during the commercials.

We acknowledge that the Super Bowl ad isn’t really about 30 seconds of advertising. It’s about connecting with a captive audience and making ourselves relevant in that moment. And it’s not just about those 30 seconds. Instead, we fire all cylinders against one great idea and carefully craft digital, social, activation and PR plans to support the moments leading up to, and the moments after, the ad. We know these plans are as important as the ad itself.

But throughout the year, we forget. We forget about the magic that comes to our industry via the Super Bowl. We become complacent. We champion content but often forget about context. We spend our time thinking about the ad versus the big idea.
Today could be a rough day for those of us in advertising. It could also be an opportunity. The glory of the Super Bowl is still fresh in our minds, and we have the chance to apply this thinking to every ad we make. We have the opportunity to create more days when people want to hear from us. We don’t need the bright lights of the Super Bowl to guide us.

Image via Shutterstock