Super Bowl yes. Super advertising no.

simon_cowell

It’s Super Bowl time.  The ad community is lathering up for the “Oscars of the ad business.”

I’m setting my sights pretty low.

One person’s view, but Super Bowl ads lately have underwhelmed.  I’m trying to remember one now.  Oh yes, GoDaddy.  Well, I don’t remember the ad, exactly. I do know what GoDaddy does, though, which puts me in the minority. Since they’ve been peddling soft porn Super Bowl spots I’ve purchased ten or so domain names.  From Network Solutions.

Wait, I’m being unfair.  It’s not really the Super Bowl.  It’s advertising in general.

Talk to me about the great ad campaigns of all time.

What, the crowd-sourced, do-it-yourself snack work didn’t make the list?  Nothing with chimps?  How about the new light beer campaign launched on the Big Game last year (They did launch one, didn’t they?  Don’t they always?)  Wait, pop-culture-driven colas always have good work.  Oh, right, they did a fundraiser instead.  Or, maybe that was the year before.

Why are the all the truly great ad campaigns things of the past?

Because it’s too hard to measure their success.  Here, have a look –

CEO:  “So, that ad campaign you ran last year, how’d it do?”

CMO:  “Great!”

CEO:  “Really?  How do you know?”

CMO:  “Everyone loves it.  Ad recall and brand image numbers were through the roof.  We shattered our purchase intent norms.  And sales rose 17%.”

CEO:  “How do you know the sales increase came from the advertising?”

CMO:  “Well, you can’t know for absolutely certain, but when all those other numbers go up and then sales go up, we feel pretty good that they’re related.”

CEO:  “You feel?  The guys from Google don’t feel anything.  They know.  They always know for an absolute fact how many people clicked and then purchased.”

CMO:  “Yes, well, people can’t click on our TV ads to buy yogurt.  At least not yet.  And, even if they could, I’m not sure they would.”

CEO:  “I need better than ‘I feel.’  The board could give a crap about how you ‘feel.’  I need to see the ROI on that campaign.  We spent $40 million on it.  How much more yogurt did we sell because of it?”

CMO:  “It’s not like online advertising.  We can’t just see some kind of definitive conversion ratio.”

CEO:  “You’re fired.”

Trust me, the next CMO doesn’t try to make anyone “feel” anything.  That’s why you can watch 100 commercials this week and not “feel” like buying a single product advertised.

What a bummer!

Meanwhile, rest assured people are getting promoted out of cubicles everywhere counting all those website hits and Facebook likes and Twitter mentions, scrutinizing conversion ratios and pay-per-click trends, and analyzing which mobile platforms yielded higher page view numbers.

I hope it’s a good game at least.

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