Local Super Bowl advertisers missed the boat

Everyone has been buzzing this week about the big national Super Bowl commercials, from the cute dogs and major celebrity endorsements to the laugh-out-loud babies and funny kids.

There are hundreds of websites and blogs measuring the various campaign successes. Social media continues the buzz with conversations and social syndication: rebroadcasting and linking to commercials on YouTube, Blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

However, did anyone happen to notice the three local Milwaukee ads that were sandwiched in-between the $3.5 million dollar national spots before half-time?

Don’t you recall that non-descript actor in a television and appliance sales ad or the voiceover selling some tools for a local hardware store chain? Surely you remember the cellular phone guy on a couch whining that he doesn’t get rewards from his provider?

These commercials were part of a small series of local ad blocks shown between the local NBC/TMJ4 News bumpers. Did anyone even notice these ads?  Is anyone talking about them? (Other than the fact that it was such a huge missed opportunity on so many levels).

These companies could have really done some amazing things to stand out and show off their brands as well as some of the local advertising and marketing talent Wisconsin has to offer. 

The core problem is that these commercials seemed to be an afterthought, as if they were plucked from a generic Tuesday afternoon lineup. Call up any Wisconsin production agency, digital creative house or independent media professional and they would have given their right arm for a chance to produce, develop or even collaborate on a local market Super Bowl commercial.

Shockingly to the companies who paid for the spots, the creative professionals probably would have all done all the work for free! What agency or professional wouldn’t want a Super Bowl commercial as part of their creative portfolio?

The detractors will say that the commercials were only seen in a smaller, local market, so why bother? Given the reach and power of social media, local is now global — depending on how good your ad is in the first place.
Ironically, Old Milwaukee ran a local commercial featuring Will Ferrell. It was only seen in one regional market with 15,180 households: North Platte, Neb. Business Week reports that the 52-second commercial has gotten more Twitter attention than Cadillac, Lexus and Century21 who all ran the expensive national spots. Now that is powerful exposure and buzz you can take to the bank!

William Caraher is a corporate chief information officer and a part-time, adjunct professor at Marquette University; teaching real-time social media marketing to graduate MBA students.  His thoughts and musings here are his own and not reflective or representative of his employers. He can be followed on Twitter at @WilliamCaraher.

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