Soundbites: Super Bowl Reach

NOTE FROM DAVE:  The “SoundBites” podcasts are usually re-written in an article style (via Shortcut Blogging), but this one was such an interactive conversation that I decided to simply use the transcript. Enjoy the game!

So far…in these pre-game days, this is my fave: Beuller? Beuller?

Want to read the transcript?

Chris Loghry: Welcome to BrandingBlog SoundBites with Wizard of Ads partner Dave Young. Dave wants to talk Super Bowl. I didn’t know you were into football.

Dave Young: I’m not into football, Chris.

Chris: Oh, you’re into advertising.

Dave: Yeah, that’s right. [laughs] That’s right. Everybody gets focused on the Super Bowl ads every year, don’t they? I mean…

Chris: Oh, they do.

Dave: The die-hard sports fans, of course, want to watch the game. And there are some of us that would just rather see the ad reel at the end of it.

Chris: And there are a lot of people that just watch it for the ads. Of course, now with You Tube and other sources you don’t really have to sit through the whole thing, but…

Dave: That’s true. And sometimes those ads are released on YouTube even before the game.

Chris: So, what’s been your thoughts on Super Bowl advertising? I haven’t even looked to see what kind of rates they’re getting this year. It always seems to go up no matter what the audience, doesn’t it?

Dave: It really does, and last time I paid attention, wasn’t it about a million dollars a second, something like that?

Chris: Something like that. It’s, you know… it’s crazy expensive.

Dave: And, you know the big selling point is the huge reach…

Chris: The captive audience worldwide.

Dave: Yeah, it’s a gigantic audience. And so, if you remember conversations we’ve had about the advertising performance equation and reach versus frequency, what the Super Bowl offers is this huge, huge reach. And reach is just the number of people that an ad reaches. Frequency is how many you’re reaching and you measure frequency over, you know… yearly, weekly, monthly, whatever. And so when we buy radio, for example, our goal is to try to reach people three times in a week. And it usually takes 20 or 30 ads, depending on the station—sometimes more, sometimes less—to accomplish that.

Chris: Super Bowl advertisers aren’t getting much of that then, aren’t they?

Dave: No, no

Chris: With one ad.

Dave: For the most part, yeah. There may be a few companies that buy several ads.

Chris: True

Dave: But yeah, you’re getting a frequency of one with however many gazillion people you have. It’s extra large reach with minimal frequency. The only problem with it… it can be a good thing, depending on the business, right? So, if you’re a big brand that does business with people year-round, all the time, day in, day out, You’re Coca Cola. You’re Chevrolet. You’re just a giant corporation that it can be a good exposure for you, I guess is the thing. If you’re just trying to sell something… it can be a little weird and it can be strange to try to figure out if it’s a good buy or not.

Chris: It can all also backfire, can it not?

Dave: Well it can, because you’re putting all your eggs in one basket.

Chris: Right.

Dave: So if you’re a company that has to save up all year so you can buy your Super Bowl ad… I think it can be either a waste of money or really harmful to your business.

Chris: You would advise against it in most cases, I’m guessing.

Dave: In most cases, sure. And there are some companies that just have money to burn and they want to be on the Super Bowl and it’s important to them… I think of Go Daddy, for example. They always have some Super Bowl ad that’s just got racecar drivers and hot chicks in it.

Chris: Right. And you wonder, “What’s the point?”

Dave: Yeah, the funny thing is, they’re not relevant to the business they have.

Chris: Right

Dave: Right. They try to get you to their Web site and, “Hey, you’ll see more by going to our blog,” or whatever but they don’t talk about what it is the company does. So, strangely enough, if you remember some of those Super Bowl ads from before the dot-com bubble… do you remember that? When all these Internet companies…

Chris: Before the bubble burst?

Dave: Before the bubble burst, yeah. The Super Bowl was full of these bizarre ads from these companies that are no longer around.

Chris: I was just going to say… companies that don’t exist anymore. [laughs]

Dave: And it was just a monumental waste of money buying these ads because they weren’t relevant to what the company did. Go Daddy survived despite that because they offer a valuable service and they do it pretty well… they just have this bizarre kind of marketing concept that I’ve never quite figured out because it’s just not relevant to the services that they offer. They’re an Internet registrar and they offer [laughs] those kinds of services. They don’t have anything to do with racing. They don’t have anything to do with models. That seems to be…

Chris: And up to this point, it seems to work. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Dave: I don’t think they’re successful because they’re super bowl ads.

Chris: Okay.

Dave: I think they successful despite their super bowl ads. They’re spending money on Super Bowl because Bob Parsons wants to spend money on the Super Bowl. The owner of Go Daddy thinks it’s fun to spend money that way. And they’ve got loads of money.

Chris: Sure.

Dave: And that’s what they do with it. I don’t think the super bowl ads are driving business for them, but I couldn’t tell you…

Chris: What about recall? What about two months down the road when someone’s thinking, “I’ve got to register a domain name. How about that [laughs] what was it? Go Something?” Any of that?

Dave: I think you’re more likely to think, “Where can I find a video with Danica Patrick in it?”

Chris: You think it’s more of that?

Dave: Well, what else are you going to remember form those ads?

Chris: Well, that’s true

Dave: If they don’t talk about domain name registration, I guess they’re assuming that males are going to go there looking for more pictures of these girls and if they don’t know what Go Daddy is, come to the realization that, “Oh, Go Daddy is where I can register domain names.” And maybe some day they’re going to need to register a domain name. I don’t know. I think it’s a line item in Go Daddy’s marketing budget just called, “Ego.” And that’s… [laughs]

Chris: You and I are agreed that we don’t get it.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Okay.

Dave: I think an extra large reach is like, if you decided… here’s where it works, here’s where it doesn’t. If you go to Costco or Sam’s and you decide, “You know what, I’m going to finally buy all the cheese I’m ever going to eat. I’m going to do it all at once.” [laughs] Does that make sense? Does that seem like a good buy?

Chris: No, not at all.

Dave: It seems kind of stupid even saying it. It feels stupid to say it. Now if you have… there’s probably other products that you can say, “You know, I think that I’ve got this big garage and I don’t want to put anything else in it. Mice can’t get in it. Maybe I’ll buy all the toilet paper I think I’ll ever need in my life.” Maybe that’s a good idea. I don’t know if it’s a good use of space or not, but it’s certainly something you could do. It just doesn’t make sense to most people. And I think in advertising you have to do what makes sense, and in order to do what makes sense, you‘ve got to study it a little bit more than just saying, “Oh, the Super Bowl is here. They offered me an ad for X-million dollars.” Or, my local whatever just called me up and said, “Hey, we’ve got this magazine. Would you like to buy a full-page ad for X amount of dollars. It reaches this many people.” And if your budget… if you don’t take frequency into account, it may not be a good buy for you. You’re buying reach without thinking about the long-term consequences. You’re marketing plan should be as long as your business plan is. You should look forward in your marketing, just as long as you plan on being around.

Chris: Because there’s plenty of ways to throw your money away.

Dave: There’s plenty of them.

Chris: But you want to spend…

Dave: People are not going to endure all the time. You’ve got to think about your buying cycle. You’ve got to think about frequency, you’ve got to think about what your competitors are doing. And not just look at large reach, no matter how much it costs.

Chris: Who are you picking in the Super Bowl, then?

Dave: I don’t even know who’s playing.

Chris: [laughs]

Dave: I’ll probably watch some of the ads.

Chris: How about we’ll get back together after the Super Bowl and talk about what happened.

Dave: Sounds good.

Chris: Well, we can talk about the Super bowl ads, maybe. All right… thanks Dave. You’ve been listening to BrandingBlog SoundBites with Wizard of Ads partner Dave Young. For more information visit Dave Young’s Please feel free to share this broadcast by sending the link or this mp3 to someone who can benefit from the information. And thank you for listing to BrandingBlog SoundBites with Dave Young.

Roy Williams has more to say on the subject of Reach and Gross Rating Points.