Advertising: From Seattle to New England and Everywhere In-between

Advertising: From Seattle to New England and Everywhere In-between
Emmie Musser
January 29, 2015
Illustration of TV with car and football

Super Bowl Sunday is days away, and for this advertising junky, the anticipation is second to none. But it’s not just the horses, talking babies and celebrity spokespeople who have me counting down the hours. It’s the regional advertisers that will keep me glued to the TV, Twitter and Facebook.


I love a local celebrity. Having an ad in the Super Bowl instantly gives a business credibility, and after all, isn’t that what advertising is all about? Create awareness > inspire people to learn more > create preference for your business/brand > create a sale > live happily ever after.

I love that most people don’t fully understand that every ad they see during the Super Bowl is not at a national, $4 million per-30-second ad level. Every year I’ve placed a regional ad, my phone alerts go crazy with friends and family: “Can’t believe you got an ad in the Super Bowl!” And I respond, “Yes, yes I did.”

Who should advertise in America’s most-watched television broadcast of the year?

Not everyone. There are many things to consider. Here are my top two:

1. Campaign Goals: The Super Bowl is the right time to launch a new campaign, a new offer or give a shot in the arm to an existing campaign that needs a boost. You’re reaching a huge audience; this is not the place for niche campaigns. If your message doesn’t pertain to many, then save your money. Think of the Detroit market. We’re talking about 1,833,320 expected viewers. That’s like filling Comerica Park 40-plus times. If you had 30 seconds of dedicated time with this crowd, what would you say and what would you pay? Would they be interested?

2. Quality Creative: The good news is that your ad will be placed next to companies spending $4 million on a 30-second TV commercial. The bad news is that your ad will be placed next to companies spending $4 million on a 30-second TV commercial. They are likely also spending a lot more than you on creating that commercial. Make sure your message is polished and professional. It doesn’t have to cost millions or even tens of thousands of dollars. People will prefer you in spite of the lack of celebrity spokesperson simply because people prefer local.

How to get there and do it right?

1. Hustle. The Super Bowl is not going to call you. The advertising inventory available at a regional level is very limited. Account representatives from local stations carrying the Super Bowl will offer these coveted spots to their most responsive partners first or to those who take initiative and call early. 

2. Shop the spots. When negotiating ad placement, keep in mind that pregame and postgame also get really high ratings. The cost of an in-game spot may not be a responsible spend for your campaign, but you can still be part of the big day by getting the last spot before kickoff or first spot before the trophy presentation.

3. Beware of the local yokels. Some local businesses will ignore tip No. 2 above (Quality Creative). They will run an ad that is counterproductive in that it is so unprofessional it will even offend and cost them business. Don’t let your ad land next to them. Ask about the other advertisers. Get placement away from your competitors and other advertisers you don’t want to be associated with. The first or last commercials of the break are where you want to be. Get additional value added by attaching to station promos and filling five-to-10-second slots when available.

4. Have your digital presence ready. If all 1,833,320 people visit your website at the same time, can your server handle the traffic? Is your site responsive to accommodate all devices (i.e., mobile phones, tablets, etc.)? Is your content good? Will they find you at all (SEM, SEO, social, etc.)?

To the regional Super Bowl advertisers of 2015

Congratulations! You overcame the intimidation of Super Bowl TV commercial price tags, negotiated on a local level, and are proud to have your locally produced TV ad positioned next to one with cowboys, puppies and who knows what. You are getting your message out there. While it may not make the water cooler conversation on Monday, you will have effectively created top-of-mind awareness with hundreds of thousands in your market, and that is the first step to any solid marketing campaign. Much success to you and your business in 2015!