Sunday, February 7, 2010


Advertising - a war, waged through any number of mediums, between one or more companies, with the explicit intent of enticing consumer to "buy" whatever they are "selling"

Advertisers Push Nielsen to Count Online Viewers

I heard this story while driving to work earlier this week. It immediately made me think of the Superbowl. According to one article on wikipedia -

The Super Bowl, the championship game of the National Football League in the United States, is known for the high-profile advertisements that air during its television broadcast. The broadcast typically ranks very highly in the Nielsen ratings, reaching more than 90 million viewers. Prices for advertising space can typically cost millions of dollars; 30 seconds of advertising time during the 2010 telecast is expected to cost US $3.01 million.[1]

The high price tag of the commercials all but promises that they will be spectacular and innovative in most cases. The commercials are often highly anticipated, generating much buzz even before the game is played usually because of their innovation or sense of humor.

Ouch! That's spendy! But, with good reason. The ads obviously work.

I personally have been watching the Superbowl since I hit American soil in 1980. It's an anticipated yearly event involving socializing, unhealthy snacks, beer, and betting. I grew up in Colorado Springs, where the early '80s saw houses painted orange and blue and school kids' winter curriculum involving research reports on Bronco players and art projects lining the halls: footballs, goal posts, and John Elway. So, I get the ball hype.

But, when did the ball game become more about the ads than the actual play time? I will shamefully admit that I have learned to look forward to the ads, as well, sometimes more than the game, if I'm not highly invested in either of the teams. They are over-the-top...wild, funny, titillating, emotional.

Many of them are little 30-second movies. Some extend throughout the game...with strings of ads that are all they keep you watching and waiting. It's almost embarrassing how easily we fall into the hands of the advertising giants. How we play right into their sleazy embrace.

So, we watch the ads, maybe we should question the hold they have on us. Maybe, just maybe, we should get up and get another beer or a slice of pizza, instead of watching...or not. Some habits are hard to break. I say this as I sit here drinking my first Coke of the year...already wondering what their ads will be today. Besides, there is no getting away from advertising. We are bombarded with them on a daily basis. I guess the idea is to not let them sway us without thinking first. I avoid being involved, as well - I try not to wear clothing that turns me into a walking billboard for companies who do nothing to better the world. How silly to wear a shirt announcing that I support "Hurley" or "Billabong". What the hell have they done? Are they organizations that feeds the hungry? Are they awesome local bands? No...and yet somehow people are falling all over themselves to wear these types of logos. They'll pay two to three times as much for a t-shirt with the logo than they will for a plain one, then walk around believing they're cooler (teenagers are the most vulnerable to this) because they're unwitting marketing puppets being used by a useless corporation.

Yikes! I'll get off my soap box now.

I wonder, though...with the shift in America's chosen entertainment modes, will the Superbowl continue to be the grand-daddy of all ad-wars? Hmmm...I guess we'll see this afternoon. Let the ads...I mean "game"...begin!

Somebody's bringing salsa, right?

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