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It’s been only three days since Super Bowl Sunday, and already a couple of things are undoubtedly true about the overly-hyped commercials from the broadcast:

1. You’re already bored to death with all the talk about which ads were good, bad, funniest, blah, blah, blah…

2. You’ve already forgotten about 80% of them — or more.

Yes, once again sharp direct response marketers everywhere have gotten our annual good laugh at the expense of big, dumb companies. I found myself continuously shaking my head for hours on Sunday, wondering how so many otherwise-smart corporate executives could believe whatever BS the various bigwig advertising agency folks told them to convince them to throw away millions of dollars on such ineffective garbage.

I counted a grand total of one — ONE! — Super Bowl ad that had both an Offer and a Deadline — the basic elements of direct response marketing. In true big, dumb company form, however, they flashed that offer so momentarily quickly on the very bottom of the screen at the very end of their commercial that almost nobody even noticed it.

Did you?

I found a replay of the ad here — but this video doesn’t include that offer at the end of the ad:

Why is the offer gone from this video? My guess is because of its deadline: As I recall, it said something about “The first million [to Like a Facebook page or something] get a free Pepsi.”

With an estimated 100 million-plus viewers, that seems like a fair scarcity-based deadline.

And if indeed those million people responded to that well-hidden offer at the end of an otherwise-useless ad, that means Pepsi “bought” one million leads — via their Facebook page or wherever — for the cost of one can of soda each, plus the $3.7 million cost for the airtime, or about $4 apiece total.

With the right back-end sales funnels and strategies in place, Pepsi should easily be able to turn that into a profit.

Which is a lot more than anyone can say for the vast majority of other ads aired during the big game.

As usual.

This was indeed another sad-but-typical year of ineffective Super Bowl ads (unless you feel that the main point of an ad is to entertain instead of make money, which apparently the misguided corporate execs okaying these crazy ad expenditures believe).

That’s why before I sat down to write this post, I decided to check back into my own archives to re-read what I wrote one year ago about last year’s similarly-disastrous bunch of not-so-super commercials.

And guess what?

That post just so happens to be as strikingly appropriate for this year’s ads as it was for last year’s collection.

But before I invite you to read it, allow me to single out one of this year’s Super Bowl ads that I felt had an especially-appropriate message for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Do you know which ad I’m referring to? Here’s a hint…

It drives home the meaning of a saying I’m well-known for:

“Ideas Make You Feel Good, But Only ACTIONS Make You Money!”

I have no idea whether that ad convinced millions of people to purchase services from, but I hope it helps a whole lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs give themselves a much-needed kick in the butt to TAKE ACTION on their ideas — NOW!

If you want to read more of my take on the sorry state of Super Bowl advertising, Click Here to read what I wrote about last year’s disastrous crop of Super Bowl ads. The post is just as fitting today, and will likely be next year, and the next…

3 Responses to Fumble!

  1. Jim Broline Reply

    February 6, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Ivory tower syndrome is alive and well, evidenced in Super Bowl ads. They measure things that are not directly related to sales, such as brand recognition. It happens when corporate marketers measure elements that are too far removed from closing sales. That’s an inevitable when they become pre-occupied with Wall Street stockholder management. Stockholder value? The sales transaction connection is lost. Wouldn’t it be better to measure the number of transactions that resulted from an ad than to entirely focus on brand recognition?

  2. Chris Canzano Reply

    February 6, 2013 at 5:07 pm


    How bout that …a big dollar company finally getting direct response! Amazing how long it took them to figure it out.

    But as you say…will they have the proper sales funnel in place now that they have all these leads, or will they too FUMBLE?

    My guess is I doubt they have a multistep, multimedia message to convert more leads into big dollars.

    Let’s see what happens.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      February 6, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      I’m with you, Chris.

      Not a believer that Pepsi has a clue about effective follow-up marketing.

      And of course, who knows how many of the million leads are really “new” leads anyway? My guess is the large majority of the one million free Pepsi drinkers are already their customers.

      Which would call for an entirely different follow-up campaign than one to new leads.

      Which again, I doubt the “marketing” people at Pepsi have any clue about.

      But at least they dipped their toe in the water of Direct Response Marketing. Imagine how badly they would crush Coke if they took it seriously and went “all in”…

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