Are Superbowl ads the best use of businesses’ money?

Marketing strategy is changing. At least seven advertisers from 2010’s Superbowl will not return: Papa John’s, Intel, Monster, Dr. Pepper, Denny’s, Universal Orlando and KGB. Are they fools for pulling out? Or are they making the right decision?

USA Today posted an article recently  discussing the aforementioned companies’ situation. The $1-3 million price tag for this year’s ad slots seems absurd. Surprisingly, however, it’s been incredibly competitive. The media space sold out in October!

Superbowl ad space has always been contention for debate. It draws an ungodly amount of eye balls and gets almost as much publicity as the Superbowl itself. It seems like a no-brainer to want to be the “talked-about” commercial for that particular year.

Some companies disagree. With such large amounts of funds available to spend on marketing, it seems the money might be better used in other, more interactive markets. Just take a look at Pepsi. Last year, they didn’t produce a single commercial for the Superbowl. They decided instead to spend the money on digital media. The PR announcement alone did more for them than so many other companies’ entire marketing efforts.

With the saturation of social media and mobile, it seems plausible that the money could be better spent. Papa John’s has ingeniously offered to give everyone in America (more specifically those who sign up for their loyalty program) a free pizza if the game next Sunday goes into overtime.

People love viral, guerrilla and other alternative ads. The affordability of social media is ridiculous. I wonder if those dollars could be used for something better. What do you think?

Authors: Marina Kaljaj and Eric Swenson

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