Super Bowl Ads Can Make Or Break A Career For Newbies

The Super Bowl is the largest one-day televised event in terms of ad spending.  The past four Super Bowls haven’t just been the most-watched TV programs in history—they’re also four of the five most-watched broadcasts in American history. NBC Universal, which renewed its contract with the NFL for an undisclosed amount, has sold all 70 ad slots at an average price of $3.5 million. And with as many as 115 million viewers watching the exposure those ads will get is literally priceless. For 20-somethings new to the industry,  just getting into either the ad space or in the digital ad space, then the Super Bowl is your…chance to win an Oscar (I wanted to say Super Bowl but that seemed redundant.)

According to FINS, the massive size of the Super Bowl audience can supercharge an ad career, said Tim Calkins, 46, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Those new to marketing can play to the desire of advertisers to link a TV ad with a presence on the Web, he said. “Every Super Bowl ad now is paired with a website, a Facebook page and an email campaign,” said Calkins. “If you’re a new creative person those can be great opportunities to produce something original.”

The use of digital ads and techniques has become so widespread that the dynamic between seasoned and new talent on Madison Avenue has totally changed, said Zain Raj, 48, chief executive of the marketing network Hyper Marketing and the author of Brand Rituals: How Successful Brands Bond with Customers for Life.“Traditionally the model has been to put in the best and most seasoned creative people on Super Bowl ads, since those are the people who have proven themselves in most cases,” he said. “But brands are seeing that younger people not caught up on the paradigm of what a Super Bowl ad should look like can actually make a difference.” Plus with younger talent, costs are less. It is much more cost-effective to hire Peggy Olsen instead of Don Draper.

And a lot of the talent being recruited to do these ads is coming through digital advertising in the first place.  This recruitment trend started in 2006 when PepsiCo ran banner ads on Yahoo and other sites, asking anyone over 18 with a video camera to send in pitches for its Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, said Calkins. That year, Dale Backus, 26, and Wes Phillips, 27, working under the name 5 Point Productions, created their first Doritos spot, “Live the Flavor,” which ran on CBS during Super Bowl XLI.

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