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mirifique's avatar

Why can't they make Superbowl-quality commercials all the time?

Asked by mirifique (1537points) February 11th, 2010

I realize some Superbowl commercials have higher “production values” and are thus more expensive to make, necessitating limiting such commercials to the Superbowl. But most are just outstandingly innovative and creative. It seems like it would be a noble goal for ad agencies to always strive to be this creative… Does this mean that for the rest of the year, ad creation departments are just kind of giving it 40%?

Or is it rather that the Superbowl ad is a medium in itself; that it must captivate an audience already expecting something more off-the-wall, fun, and in keeping with the party atmosphere of the Superbowl? Still, I wish ads were always written and produced at this level of innovation.

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24 Answers

phil196662's avatar

And did you watch the game or like us-record the game for the commercials!

ETpro's avatar

Good question. I suppose you can’t expect a simple 30-second spot that’s going to run a few times off prime time and has a meager budget to get the same level of creative effort devoted to an add that will cost $3 million for just one 30 second blitz but will air beofre over 100 million viewers who will ctually watch the ad and talk about it later.

VohuManah's avatar

To me, its the exposure that comes with having an ad like that. You don’t see voting for late night nuclear-turbo-atom-compressor-blenders, nor does the creepy neighbor that sifts through your trash at night talk to you about them. The stigma of having a Superbowl ad also makes the CEO of the company bulge a little in his pants every time he thinks about it.

Spinel's avatar

Companies don’t have that kind of money to be throwing around all year long.

mirifique's avatar

@Spinel Well that’s exactly my point—why is it so much more expensive for people to simply be more creative? It seems like for a given ad agency, everyone should be performing at their peak the whole time. Or maybe that’s just me making comparisons to the entertainment industry.

SeventhSense's avatar

It’s a hefty investment. A company that makes a big investment in production and cost of air time wants a guaranteed return.

Spinel's avatar

@mirifique Expenses are not just for “idea” services. The more creative and graphical a commercial is, the more it costs to produce it. The more expensive the software/graphics/designers will be. Also, an ad agency has to maintain itself, it’s machines and it has to pay its employees. All of that takes serious cash. Charging more for higher quality commercials helps to cover those costs while the the extra provides a cushion to fall back on in future hard times.

An ad agency can practice top performance with every ad, but that does not cut back on producing costs (or the costs I mentioned above).

Still, good question. :)

andrew's avatar

Because it’s really, really difficult to make a good commercial, and only a few, large corporations are willing to take the chances with their brand and their resources to make something that clever.

DeanV's avatar

Companies are not guaranteed the visitors on yearlong commercials like they are on Super Bowl commercials, and that’s a turnoff. Why throw buckets of money into a commercial if you’re not assured people will watch it?

@andrew I think you mean good commercial…

Strauss's avatar

one word answer—$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

mrentropy's avatar

If you’re going to spend that much money on a Superbowl spot then you damn well better have a really, really awesome commercial that everyone will remember for the next 12 months.

ETpro's avatar

@mirifique As a web developer I can assure you that creativity DOES cost money. I could come up with a killer idea for a web site given enough time and money, but most sites we build are on small budgets and tight time-frames. We don’t have the luxury to spend weeks or months brainstorming, holding focus groups to test market ideas, then throwing the best technology money can buy at a project. Super Bowl ads, because they will be seen by so many people, have all those luxuries going for them.

Nullo's avatar

In short, because it’s too expensive.
The Superbowl snags the attention of most of the country; you are guaranteed a respectable audience size. So you can afford to go all-out.

@Yetanotheruser That’s not a word :P

PandoraBoxx's avatar

The point of commercials is to move product. Most companies don’t have the kind of money to pay for the creative production that goes into great spot. They would rather have a more generic spot but a broader media buy. We would fight that all time with clients. They would want to skimp on production for more market penetration.

Nullo's avatar

To all you people that only watch the game for the ads: Yahoo! and about ten bazillion other sites were posting the ads online as they aired.

The Focus On The Family ad wasn’t nearly as controversial as all of its detractors were saying that it was going to be. In a way, I felt disappointed.

El_Cadejo's avatar

superbowl ads have been pretty lame the past couple years

davidbetterman's avatar

I liked the one where everyone strips down to their B-Day suits in that office…

Nullo's avatar

I agree, they were pretty weak this year. These are much, much more entertaining.
I especially like this one

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@davidbetterman, but did you like the ad enough to remember the name of the product?

mrentropy's avatar

@PandoraBoxx Another thing to wonder about. At what point does the commercial become so good that people remember it, but not who it was for? The “Head On Apply Directly To Forehead” commercial was endlessly annoying but it was hard to forget who made the product.

thriftymaid's avatar

I’m laughing that anyone watches commercials; I mute them.

davidbetterman's avatar

@PandoraBoxx NO, I never remember those details. I ma trained to ignore such tripe. I am the advertising world’s nightmare. And i never buy anything because it was advertised. I buy things I need. At the lowest price available, usually.

Strauss's avatar

@Nullo I know, but don’t you love the irony! :P

Nullo's avatar

For me, at least, it’s a professional interest; my background is communications and PR.

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