The Super Bowl spot that changed the world

Happy 30th birthday, Mac.

Happy 30th birthday, Mac.

I had the TV on Sunday morning as I sat down to write about an Advertising Age article claiming that 80% of Super Bowl ads flop. In the background I hear Charles Osgood, host of CBS Sunday Morning, mention that this week marks the 30th anniversary of Apple’s famous “1984” Super Bowl commercial. A commercial that ran only one time, mind you. That is the antithesis of a Super Bowl ad flop. Thirty years later and people are still talking about it. Amazing. Do you think that in 2043 people will be marking the anniversary of the Go Daddy commercial in which supermodel Bar Refaeli makes out with the nerdy Walter? Not very likely.

The one-minute commercial — directed by noted director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator) — was made for a then-unheard-of production budget of $900,000. It went on to garner millions of dollars worth of free publicity, as news programs rebroadcast it that night. It was quickly hailed by many in the advertising industry as a masterwork. Advertising Age named it the 1980s “Commercial of the Decade,” and it continues to rank high on lists of the most influential commercials of all time. “1984” was never ever broadcast again, adding to its mystique.Read full post...

It’s okay to ship your pants!

In a world where advertisements hawking everything from cars to cleaning products bombard our oversaturated brains at every waking hour, a little shock can go a long way towards driving a company’s message home. Witness Kmart’s most recent YouTube ads entitled “Big Gas Savings” and “Ship My Pants.” If you say the names of the commercials out loud (try it in a crowded office), you’ll quickly figure out the hooks. Both videos rely on “potty” words and a mischievous sense of humor to relate a message of convenience and savings.

Blurring the line between propriety and indecency has proven effective. More than 22,000,000 people have seen and heard Kmart’s message in the past month. Combined, the videos received 103,732 likes and only 4,411 dislikes.

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30 seconds that can make or break you

With such massive price tags, these commercials better deliver.

On February 5 NBC will broadcast the epic rematch between the Giants and Patriots. But maybe your team didn’t make it to the big game. Will you still watch Super Bowl XLVI? Of course you will. You’ll watch for the same reason about 54% of viewers do — the commercials.

On one night each year the titans of marketing and advertising attempt to wow us with about 50 minutes of the most expensive commercials on television. NBC has sold out all commercial airtime for the big game, reporting that the average cost this year for a 30-second spot is $3.5 million, with some time slots costing as much as $4 million. That’s a 16 to 25% hike from the $3 million average cost last year. With such massive price tags, these commercials better deliver.Read full post...