The New Standard for Rating Super Bowl Ads

IMG_2695Every year after the Super Bowl, throngs of media outlets, advertising pundits and media consumers rate the ads. There appears to be no consistent standard by which the ads are rated. The standards seem to range from the highly subjective (e.g. whether the individual or entity judging likes the ad) to the slightly more objective (e.g. having a sample of viewers rate how much they like ads). One local advertising agency went as far as to hand out awards with witty names based on penalties in football such as the “Illegal Use of $$$” and “Should Have Punted.”

The problem with this relative subjectivity when rating the Super Bowl ads is that in many instances, they miss the point. Sure many of the companies producing the ads, produce them because having an ad in the Super Bowl has become a status symbol of sorts among companies. Many also do so to for the etheric notion of establishing their “brand” or for simply entertainment purposes. I do not refute these as legitimate reasons for producing the ad and purchasing the space.

Focus on Family AdHowever, I submit that if the ads were rating on a more objective standard, such as the impact the ads had on measurable marketing metrics, we would have a very different set of advertising winners and losers. For example, how would the much-hyped and controversial ad featuring Tim Tebow and his mother tip-toeing around abortion affect the key success factors of Focus on the Family? First, the ad drew loads of publicity. How did that one ad affect traffic to the organization’s web site? How did that affect donations? Finally, how did the ad affect views on parenting, marriage and other values the the organization promotes?

As marketers and advertisers we need to stop rating these ads based on subjective measures such as how much individuals “like” the ads. Rather, the standard by which these ads should be judged, within the marketing and advertising communities, should be how these ads help the organizations achieve their marketing and overall business objectives.

I welcome comment and data about how any of these ads helped the advertisers do so.