Super Bowl Advertisers are Dropping the Ball — and Missing the Big Play

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Sebastian Jespersen
Super Bowl Advertisers are Dropping the Ball — and Missing the Big Play

Just as I was previewing some of the early releases of Super Bowl ads, I was struck by a conclusion of the latest Interbrand ranking, Best Global Brands 2022: “This year, against a backdrop of increased economic uncertainty, the cumulative value of the world’s 100 Best Global Brands surpasses $3 trillion for the first time.” As someone who has dedicated a career to understanding how brands are crafted in a digital-first world, I had to pause for a minute to think not only about brand value per se, but how it relates to the Super Bowl, and the advertising tradition that will be repeated again this year.

Advertising legend Stan Rapp argues that most brands are wasting a tremendous amount of money on Super Bowl “non-vertising”. Brands should innovate the format and consider the event as an opportunity to build a Share of Life relationship with consumers.

Inspiring customers to play on your team.

Over the past 30 years we have seen massive technology advancements and significant changes to the brand–consumer relationship dynamic, yet most Super Bowl ads still use the same format – mass communication on TV. The Super Bowl and its highly-produced ads are striving to be entertaining for an audience of 100 million people, but are they also creating true brand value in a digital first world? The newly published Interbrand Ranking outlined that brands that build a strong functional, emotional and moral connection with their customers play a greater role in their lives and occupy a greater proportion of their time, which in turn leads to customers wanting the brand to succeed.

At Vertic, we also believe that brands today are created by the sum of meaningful digital interactions we have with them. In the evolution of marketing, we’ve seen a marketer’s monologue through TV spots and print ads transition to a marketer-customer dialogue through social media to now an emerging marketer-customer collaboration. We call this new one-with-one (rather than one-to-one) participation or Share of Life®, which defines meaningful digital practices that seamlessly integrate in customers’ lives, while “effortlessly” increasing brand value. This also explains why Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are consistently at the top of the Interbrand ranking. As human beings, we simply have more meaningful interactions with them than any other brands. As a result, we are willing to share our lives with them.

Turning spectators into players.

Technology has given brands a global platform and the ability to interact with people at scale. It has forever altered how people get information, communicate, and engage with each other. And it has fundamentally changed the relationship between brands and people. Today, people want to do more with brands that allow them to do more.  

Yet, many brands continue to invest most of their marketing efforts on and for themselves. And while I’m not against Super Bowl advertising, I believe it’s time to think beyond simply creating awareness to constructing ways these costly efforts can really serve to “kick off” brand intentions and greater customer participation across touch points. Today's consumers wish to be participants in the evolution of the goods and services they consume, as well as the content created to tell their stories, as they choose to share their lives with some brands more so than others. Brands that are willing to embrace this new relationship will find themselves generating greater value—for the customer, the company, all stakeholders…and the increased responsibilities that are redefining the role of marketing. I'm curious to see whether also this year, brands simply strive to gain attention or whether they use the still largely untapped potential of this advertising platform and start to focus more on customer participation. Maybe AI even has the power to shake things up here?

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