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Making a Super Bowl size advertising mistake

Johnny Molson


Be remarkable and disrupting… more than once

“Oh, sure,” the business owner says, “those ads in the Super Bowl are creative but nobody ever remembers what the ad was for!” This oft heard complaint is usually followed with the jaw dropping price that major brands pay to be on the Super Bowl.

To some extent, the anecdote is accurate. The Super Bowl ads will talked about as much as the score of the game itself. Social media will extend the reach (and life) of the ad beyond the program. And, it’s the only show where people wait and watch the commercials.

So, where does this perfect recipe go awry? You only see the ad once.

The audience can’t remember the brand when they only see the ad once or twice. Even with deliberate attention, memory just doesn’t work that way.


Businesses have half the equation right. These are remarkable ads. They stop you dead and force you to watch. Little ponies. Talking babies. A monkey. You laugh one moment, and bawl the next. It’s truly a creative showcase. The brilliant brands will use Sunday to kick off a new campaign. Start with big blast, then keep pushing through the rest of the year. This is a game of memory, and the customer has to hear from you more than once. You must get enough repetition with the same customer if you want her to remember you. When you had to memorize the states, the periodic table, or the list of adjectives, repetition was the

The ones that fail are the ones that blow their budget all in one night. Those are the ones we forget, because we never get the chance to remember.

If you ask me to choose between a one-off ad during the Super Bowl, or consistent advertising during 60 Minutes for the entire year, I’m betting my money on Morley Safer over Peyton Manning.

Yes— be creative and compelling. If you don’t get their attention, you don’t have a hope. But, ya gotta do it more than once. …or you don’t have a hope.

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