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The IC Instant Opinion Poll: Super Bowl Ads

The IC Instant Opinion Poll: Super Bowl Ads

The media & entertainment industry is rapidly evolving. Technology, business models, ecosystem dynamics — you name it — appear to be in perpetual cycles of change. Wouldn’t it be helpful from time to time to take a quick temperature reading, a moment-in-time assessment of the prevailing winds behind a timely topic? We created the Imagine Communications Instant Opinion Poll for just that purpose. Please weigh in on what you think about the current issue of the day.

What do Super Bowl ads tell us about the future of the media industry?

On Sunday, more than 100 million people will tune their televisions to one of the most exonerated media events – the Super Bowl!  Whether you like the Pats or the Falcons, football takes the sidelines for the week leading up to February 5 for many of us.  Why?  It’s all about the ads.

Nearly half of all Super Bowl watchers now tune in for the ads, according to this 2015 Media Post story.  In addition to sometimes being more entertaining than the main event, those Super Sunday ads are emblematic of just one more plot twist in the rapidly evolving video consumption story. With the reimagining of content across new platforms — like YouTube, VEVO, Amazon Prime, etc.— no longer are viewers expecting programs of standard length.  Gone are the days of the 22-minute sitcom and the 53-minute drama. 

Commercials are undergoing a similar change.  Formerly relegated to 30-second spots, ads are also now variable in length and topic.  Just take the Top Ten Ads of 2016, as identified by AdWeek.  These top-picks are way longer than 30 and 60 seconds, and way more entertaining than even the Budweiser Clydesdales and Joe Namath spots of Super Bowls gone by.  (Yes, I’m giving away my age with those references!)  These new advertisements are subtle, sophisticated, pop-culture vignettes. 

Over the holidays, I forwarded multiple ads to my family and friends to celebrate the season.  In fact, my dad was so enamored with this amazing John Lewis ad, which attracted nearly 25 million YouTube hits, that he used it in a Sunday sermon!

In essence, advertisers are now using the “Content is King” playbook.  They realize that ads, when done well, are variable (and valuable) content.

Read that again.  Content.  Not commercials.

So, back to the Super Bowl.  If Content is still King, then data is the royal advisor — or assistant coach, to stick to the football metaphor.  We all know that there is no better reach and frequency than the almighty Super Bowl, the media’s single, largest, annual live event.  Yes, we know a lot about the viewers who tune into the Super Bowl, but what about personalization? 

Since the ads themselves are now original content, advertisers are now posting their own content on their own channels.  If you’re a fan of ads — like I am! — you probably already have seen the pre-Super Bowl hype promoting this year’s batch of ads.  Almost every Super Bowl ad is now unveiled first on a YouTube channel, Facebook page, etc. — you can watch them here.  The advertisers are leveraging multiplatform distribution to gain deep insights, gathered from digital video partners, as well as the broader audience that’s delivered through television.

It’s a winning play!  Advertisers now can leverage the power of TV and the power of consumer-driven data before the game even starts.  This is the new playbook: audience engagement across all content types and all platforms. 

Opinion Poll Time

Tell us what you think. Will you watch this year’s Super Bowl ads before the big game, agreeing that TV ads are morphing into rich, standalone content capable of attracting their own audience? Or are you content to wait until Super Sunday, convinced that, with the exception of the Super Bowl or other major media events, ad spots made for mass audiences are still all about bathroom breaks?

Are you likely to watch Super Bowl ads prior to the big game?

Results: Check in periodically to see the running results. And feel free to share the rationale for how you voted. Send your comments and we’ll share the best of them in a follow-up post.


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