Never mind the show, let’s watch the adverts

It’s the biggest day of America’s televisual year tomorrow – a day so big that retailers such as Best Buy are ramping up their marketing to capture the trade of all those people tempted to upgrade their televisions in preparation. Food is being readied, beer being bought, and corner shopsbodegas are running out of ice across the country. And all because millions of people want to watch a few advertscommercials.

Unfortunately the most eagerly anticipated ads of the year are interspersed with short breaks featuring the Superbowl,  the most overhyped sports game of the year. Apart from this year, of course, where the match-up between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers has all the allure of a game between Derby County and Fulham on a wet Monday night in November.

Never mind, there’s still the ads to look forward to. The Superbowl offers one of the few opportunities left for advertisers to reach a mass audience in one go, with last year’s clash between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots attracting an audience of around 97 million. As a result, brands are falling over themselves to get into the breaks, with each attempting to outdo each other with big budgets, Hollywood production values, and a healthy dose of humour thrown in for good measure.

To be fair, many of them are pretty amusing or impressive. Certainly impressive enough to get featured in shows such as The Greatest Superbowl Commercials Ever, at least. There’s no getting around the fact that, during the live broadcast of the ads, you have to watch some overpaid men try to move a ball ten yards forward, but you can’t have everything.

The strange thing is that the UK doesn’t have an equivalent ad-fest, despite the attempts of broadcasters to create one. Nobody puts a particularly special effort into their FA Cup Final ads, for instance, or fight amongst each other to get into the Christmas special of Heartbeat. Personally I’d like to see the World Darts Championship final declared the focus of UK marketing efforts, if for no other reason than it will take your mind off how big Raymond van Barneveld’s gut is these days.

Incidentally, the Superbowl broadcaster NBC today announced that it is currently in talks to sell the last two of the 67 spots for the game, the rest of which have already been sold for between $2. 4 million and $3 million per 30-second slot. And that’s before the advertisers have even thought about the cost of creating the commercial itself.

Economic crisis? What economic crisis?

3 thoughts on “Never mind the show, let’s watch the adverts

  1. Silverback

    Spending a fortune on FA Cup commercials would be a waste of money, Dylan, as we both know that everyone scoots into the kitchen to get a ‘brew’ going at half time and so would miss them all.

    Now if the US networks ever get their hands on our glorious game, we’ll have ad breaks every time Ronaldo falls over in the penalty box or Joey Barton smack a teammate !

    (sorry about the Ronaldo bit, mate)

  2. Trixie Trouble

    The frequency of commercial breaks is one of the things that drive me crazy about US TV.
    The other thing that irritates the hell out of me is ‘the recap’. One can now spot a UK/US co-pro a mile off now by the editing punctuation (ie where a US comm break would be) and the following recap which, extremely annoyingly, summarises what the viewer has seen in the last five minutes.
    I may have the attention span of a gnat but I can follow a programme for 20 minutes.
    What will happen to the programme quality when the ‘MTV generation’ are running the show?
    There can’t possibly be a greater ratio of commercials & recap to programme content, surely or TV will literally reverse to become commercial channels with 5 minute programmes interspersed.
    Rah.

  3. Trixie Trouble

    And to add insult to bloody injury, straight after MotD the BBC have just promo’d the Superbowl for tomorrow. The angle was “an epic night of entertainment with live music that will totally rock your world and that’s just half time”!
    Grrr.

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