Advertisers were spending like it was 1999

As is usually the case, yesterday’s Super Bowl TV spots left me thoroughly underwhelmed and shaking my head at the money wasted by most marketers who advertise during the game. In my view, the quality and creativity of the ads matched the weather in Miami and the game on the field: sloppy and mediocre.

Even the halftime show was bogus: Prince and his two hot dancers strutted around in the pelting rain, belting out a medley of hits and misses. In fact, I thought the title of one song briefly performed by the artist formerly known as Prince (and now once again known as Prince) perfectly summed up Super Bowl XLI: "Party like it’s 1999."

With some 30-second Super Bowl spots going for $2.6mm, it’s safe to say the advertisers were spending their money like it was, in fact, 1999 (and the dotcom bubble had never burst and digital media had never completely and irrevocably changed the rules of the marketing game).

There are always exceptions to the rule, but mass advertising for advertisers like and other obscure brands makes no sense. In fact, the mega marketers are finally waking up to the incredible waste that is Super Bowl spending, and going one of two alternative routes: either adding all sorts of digital, one-to-one marketing components to the basic 30-second spots or, a la Procter & Gamble and Unilever, simply bypassing the game completely and finding better, smarter ways to spend their money.

As for me, I neither partied last night nor spent money like it was 1999. Instead, I opted for an earlier time frame and dialed in my favorite HBO series, ‘Rome,’ to see how Octavian, Mark Anthony, Attia, Brutus and the gang who really knew how to party cut the rug in 42 B.C.

6 thoughts on “Advertisers were spending like it was 1999

  1. I agree. Advertising during the SuperBowl seems to be more about vanity and/or the fear of ‘what if we don’t advertise’ than effectiveness. I only chuckled a couple of times. Bud and Coke each had several commercials, none of which will impact my purchase decision about either. As for and the career site(s), I’ve yet to visit their sites, probably won’t and I don’t remember if there was one or multiple career site ads. Surely, they could have spent their marketing budget much more wisely.

  2. These commercials aren’t worth it.
    If corporations really want to make consumers happy, they should forego costly Super Bowl ads and instead invest in a Chief Customer Officer, a single person of power charged with putting him or herself in the customers’ mind.
    But instead they spend their time and money making sure their ad is funny and entertaining, which doesn’t mean it sells more products. A good marketer surprises consumers by giving them new ideas on how and why to use a particular product. Ads developed by typical people or starring famous celebrities may get laughs, but are unlikely to generate sales. For every dollar you spend you should be seeing a dollar back and I sincerely doubt that these companies are generating an additional $2.6 million due to these Super Bowl ads.
    Marketers need to stop thinking that marketing HAS to be creative. It HAS to sell goods and services. Sometimes the least creative marketing is the most effective.
    Mark Stevens
    CEO of MSCO

  3. What a total waste of money. King Pharma’s “Heart Attack” commercials were like watching gang wars. The absurd part is that it was actually a direct response ad pushing consumers to go to Like two million consumers were going to leave their TV sets and type in this URL.

  4. u really don’t give up on this topic, do you? and the fact that you chose to pick on godaddy clearly shows you have no understanding of ads and the super bowl and have obviously not read any of the artilces about how it helped their business.
    and since there is no reasonable way to respond to me (or andrew) do what pr folks do best- ignore, spin, and come up with another blog to bury the response. and lunch idiot, i await your grammar remarks. by the way lunchy, congrats to you- i hear minimum wage has been raised to 7.25 per hour. dont spend it all in one place…

  5. I agree, for most Super Bowl advertisers it’s all about ego (and box seats!).
    But I think GoDaddy is one of the few exceptions where a Super Bowl spot has actually paid off. Before the Super Bowl, NOBODY had heard of them. Domain registration companies were a dime a dozen, and there was no clear market leader. Enter GoDaddy, with its cheesy babe-filled spots. Granted, most people were confused by the message and what the company was actually selling. So confused, in fact, that they went to to see what all the fuss was about.
    From what I’ve heard, their business blew up right after their first Super Bowl ad a few years ago. They’ve come back every year since, so I’m pretty sure the ads are generating the desired result.

  6. $2.6mm just to buy the ad…let’s not forget how much they paid for the “creative.”
    I’d skip it all and post it on YouTube for free.