Does anyone else hear the clock ticking?
If you didn’t know beforehand that some of the spots that ran during the game on Sunday were written (and in the case of Doritos, produced) by non-professional advertising types, would you have noticed just by watching?
If your answer is no, then you understand the problem. When the work of the pros cannot be separated from the non-pros, it’s only a matter of time until worth is questioned.
Sunday was the ad industry’s chance to shine. On the same playing field, in front of 90 million people, the pros had the chance to show why they’re worth every penny of the exorbitant fees they charge. Their competition - amateurs. In any other profession – take football for example – the difference would have been striking.
The fact that it wasn’t should be troublesome to the ad industry.
To any agency whose client might be questioning why they are paying the fees they are paying, Sunday was an opportunity lost. At the same time, it was a harbinger to the future. Super Bowl Sunday is unique in many ways. The major one being that viewers actually look forward to the advertising. The room is shushed when the commercials come on so that people can hear every word. Clutter – there is no clutter to break through – the viewer is waiting, leaning forward, not back.
You would think a smart agency would have taken this into account and created their commercial to work a little differently, taking into consideration the context of the viewer. The fact that this did not happen does not bode well for traditional agencies in the future.
On the digital platform – VOD, DVR, online – viewers will be able to opt-in to ads of interest – leaning forward, not unlike Super Bowl Sunday. This offers the opportunity to approach the viewer quite differently. Traditional ad agencies know how to, and are paid well for, creating ads that break through the clutter of a three-to-four minute commercial pod. Period. Create awareness and their job is done. But to offer some sort of persuasive argument to an audience that's already interested, well, that’s a skill long since forgotten.
The digital marketplace requires advertising to work quite differently than it does now. Advertising, to be effective, must understand that the viewer comes to the message, not vice versa. After watching the effort put forth on Sunday, it’s obvious that traditional agencies aren’t yet equipped to do this sort of advertising.
The good news, if there was any, is that amateurs aren’t any better than the pros.
At least, not yet.