Super Bowl Ads Sell Products, but Do They Sell Brands?

Much of the advertising purchased during the Super Bowl is about selling corporate brands rather than products. Assistant Professor Shelle Santana discusses the art of storytelling on the world’s biggest television stage. Which stories win (or fumble) on game day?
Brian Kenny: “This flat tire needs a man,” says the narrator of the Goodyear Tire commercial that aired during the inaugural Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs in 1967. The ad featured a damsel in distress with a blown tire on a dark and lonely stretch of road. He goes on to say, “When there’s no man around, Goodyear should be.”

It probably shouldn’t be surprising that advertisers took a chauvinistic tone for spots appearing on a game that was expected to be watched mostly by men. With brands like Ford, Chrysler, Muriel Cigars, and Budweiser, it was an advertising bro fest, but also a reflection of the cultural norms of the time. After all, the 1960s was the dawn of the golden age of advertising when agencies were evolving from product pitchers to storytellers. That first Super Bowl was broadcast on not one, but two major networks, capturing an audience of 56 million viewers. A 60 second spot cost $85,000. Advertisers were hooked from the start.

Fast forward to 2019 and the Super Bowl is still one of the most watched events at major network television, but now, women make up almost half of the 100 million viewers. Thankfully, the chauvinism has been dialed back, a clear indicator that brand storytelling has evolved with the times. At a cost of over $5 million for a 30 second spot, competition between the advertisers is every bit as intense as the play on the field. Today, we’ll hear from Assistant Professor Shelle Santana about her case entitled, Super Bowl Storytelling….[ Read More ]



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