Did you know that a tiny, albeit well-funded start-up named uCool.com paid a cool $2.25 million to air a 15-second spot in the fourth quarter of yesterday’s Super Bowl extravaganza! According to The New York Times, uCool was one of 15 first-time advertisers in Super Bowl XLIX, the most since the good old dotcom days.
Some of the other newbies included Loctite, Jublia, Wix.com and Mophie. Do you remember a single one? I sure don’t. And, if I hadn’t been looking for it, I would have missed the uCool spot entirely.
I did, however, notice the totally bizarre Carnival Cruise Line spot with a voice over from the late John F. Kennedy (since when does one mix the gravitas of a slain president with the fun of a cruise?). I also watched the Nationwide Insurance spot which was ill-advised to say the least. Talking about death and dying in the midst of the worldwide festival that is the Super Bowl is in such poor taste. And the McDonald’s Valentine’s Day promotion that’s supposed to bring us all together through peace, love and hamburgers was pure hokum.
But, I digress. Back to the start-ups and their huge gamble in plunking down millions of dollars in the hopes that a 15- or 30-second commercial will suddenly make them a household name. Apparently it works every once in a while. The Times cited Chobani Yogurt as one example.
But, in my mind the odds remain ridiculously high. And, you tell me, is it wise to risk one-fourth or one-half of your entire marketing budget on one 15- or 30-second spot? That’s riverboat gambling at its best. And, woe betide the marketing officers who rolled the dice and came up with craps. Their tenure may be even shorter than their 15-second spots.
In my mind there are far better, and smarter ways, to spend $2.25 million through a blended strategy that includes earned, owned and paid media. Why through a desperate Hail Mary pass when it is so unnecessary? I’ve had it. In fact, in my self-appointed role as PR referee, I’m throwing a flag at all the newbie Super Bowl advertisers and penalizing them 15-yards for unnecessary riskiness.