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The Case for Transparency in the Super Bowl

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The debate over which commercials were good  (Bud Light and Doritos) and bad (Go Daddy and Denny’s) is a Super Bowl tradition, like guacamole and salsa.  USA Today’s ad meter scores have been the deciding factor in the success of ads in years past, but now engaging your audience prior to the Super Bowl Sunday is a key component of a successful Super Bowl appearance.  Budweiser allowed its fans “vote” in the Clydesdale spot, the Focus on the Family ad was a topic of conversation for over a week leading up to SB44 and numerous companies teased their spots on Facebook prior to the game.  The evolving landscape of B2C relationships necessitates that companies align themselves with their consumers’ perception.

Cunningham, Cornwell and Coote (2009) argued that an organization’s identity is not what it says it is, but what its consumers say it is; therefore, it is a dynamic entity controlled by the consumer, and molded by the organization.  The Super Bowl is a proven platform for companies to reinforce (Google), reinvent (Kia) or introduce (Flo TV) its brand to a mass audience.  These companies have attempted to shape an identity which they can attach their brand to; however if their product is incompatible with the image which they are perpetrating the ad will be ineffective.  Admittedly, I do not know anyone that owns a Kia, but would it really be the first choice for a Vegas road trip?  Meanwhile, critics derided Flo TV’s ads, but their message was true to what their product is, a toy for bored men.

Cunningham, Cornwell and Coote (2009) do assert that sponsoring a major sporting event can help a brand craft its image, if it aligns with the company’s core values and philosophies.  Accordingly, a company which aligns its message in a Super Bowl, with its core values stands to gain substantially from the Super Bowl’s mass appeal (  A well executed Super Bowl campaign would then offer the viewer with insight into the ethos of a company (Volkswagen).  Brands should strive to integrate their traditional marketing strategies and new media endeavors, much as Coca-Cola did, to demonstrate transparency with their consumer.  By becoming transparent a brand exhibits faith in its product and truly molds its image.


Written by Peter Amador

February 9, 2010 at 6:03 PM

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