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An Open Letter to the Most Important
Viewers of the Big Game
Published January 30th, 2015 
in Media Post 

If you aren’t aware, there’s a big football game this weekend. And, as is the custom, the talk about the commercials is just about as deafening as the talk about the game. So let’s dig in…

With a record base price cost of $4.5M for 30 seconds, and approximately 60 ads for sale, you can do the math and quickly realize that there are still companies who feel they need to make a big impression on the anticipated 110,000,000 viewers.

As people discuss these spots, the big question is simple: “Is it worth it?”

To answer that question, let me ask another: who’s the one audience that’s paying attention more than any other audience? Think about it — there’s one audience that cares disproportionally more than any other group.

This key audience is not the millions of beer-drinking men ages 20-45. It’s not the millions of clothes-buying Millennial girls just hoping for halftime. It’s not the homemakers, soccer moms, or health-conscious Baby Boomers who need prescriptions for any and everything a drug company can diagnose… In fact, this key audience is actually not measured in the millions, thousands or even hundreds. This audience is a minuscule portion of the viewing public. But this audience will be watching the commercials with incredible focus. They will be comparing, ranking, and analyzing every non-game second.

And for a certain type of company, these 60 people are the most coveted target audience on the planet. They are the chief marketing officers who approved spending $150,000 per second during the game. They will watch their ad and they will watch every other ad to see how their ad compares.

At the end of the game, there will be a few lucky CMOs whose ads were great and who will be lauded for their “risky but brilliant” decisions to spend the millions. (Ironically, even those whose ads were terrible may still get to keep their jobs because the “worst” ads will probably get as much post-game discussion as the best.) But for those whose ads were in the middle of the pack, they are the ones who are in the most perilous employment positions. Because while their ads didn’t make a memorable impact on the audience, their expense will make a memorable impact on their budgets.

To those 50 CMOs, we want to make an introduction: welcome to 2015, it’s the new era of building relationships through experiences where your customers want to be in a dialog with you instead of you yelling at them from the biggest stage.

The confluence of social media, permission marketing, and physical experiences has turned the control over to the consumer.

They don’t want to laugh at your spot, they want to be rewarded when your product or service surprises them with a joyful moment. Delivering what they value in a way that delights – and involves – them will win a customer for life. It could be in the store, at the game, inside a theater, at a museum, even at the dentist’s office – but when it includes them, then you’ve created a brand experience, instead of just a brand impression.

So, to the CMOs who may have their jobs on the line next week, there are hundreds, if not thousands of brand experience marketing firms and consultants who want to help you. They are a new breed of professionals who want to help you make a much more powerful impact on your real target audiences through experiences that engage, entertain and excite.

The irony being in the fact that brand experience firms’ best shot at reaching CMOs is to place their own 30-second Super Bowl spot.

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