The battle for hearts and minds

With Super Bowl weekend upon us, our eyes will take to the screen to watch with great anticipation…the commercials. This year, at a time when a lot of people are saying traditional advertising is dead, advertisers are ponying up $4,500,000 for 30 seconds of your attention. I guess it’s worth it – when else do they get a dedicated time when consumers are actually looking forward to seeing their ads? When else do consumers get a chance to marvel at what can be done for a mere $150,000 per second? Each year, we expect to be “bowled” over but year after year, by and large, we’re not.


Why, with so much at stake, do all but a few spots become forgotten elements of Super Bowl Sunday? Be honest, two weeks from now, how many will you remember? More important, how many will have influenced you? And this is on a day when we wait for them, want to see them and want to remember them.

Now try getting through to people on a normal day when they’re trying to get out the door, get dinner ready, or get the kids to bed. This demonstrates how incredibly difficult it is today to get your message even seen, much less understood. Breakthrough creative, something that interrupts you, something that jolts you to such a degree that you can’t help but stop and take notice – and then take action – is getting harder and harder to produce today because there is just … so … much … noise. It’s a battle for the mind and our heads are already overflowing.

Another way to reach people (and influence them) is to battle for the heart. Talk to them. Show them, by example, what you are trying to say. Build value with your customers by being consistent with what you promise. Day by day, month by month, year by year. Continually build belief and trust in what the brand stands for. And support it by being truthful and dependable. Try showing some humanity.

But you can’t do that in 30 seconds. Not even if you had $45,000,000.

The best way to influence is to combine the two. As creatives and marketers, we have always (well most of the time) been able to get the attention of the customer, at least for a moment. But after that, it’s up to us to help our clients capitalize on the opportunity and win the hearts of their customers. We do this by giving them creative that is more than an art form, and has more to it than sheer entertainment value. We give them something that actually adds value to their lives.

But for one night, enjoy the game, enjoy the spots – but forget about the $4,500,000 they cost to place.