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Gearing Up for the Big Game of 30-Second Branding
By: Cindy Wendland
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Hey everyone – Super Bowl 50 is Sunday! The National Football League (NFL) is masterful at branding and has taken over the city of San Francisco in preparation for the big game. They set up a Super Bowl city complete with music and entertainment. The Super Bowl is so much more than a football game. It is an annually heralded event and a lesson in branding.

Each year a select group of companies will put together their best thoughts on marketing and branding and create a 30-second commercial to air in the Super Bowl. This will cost them a pretty penny. To run the commercial will cost up to $5 million in addition to the time spent in creative and production. But with an estimated 115 million viewers, it is a phenomenal way to reach a large, engaged audience.

Advertisers know that the commercials will be judged as heavily as the coaches and players are judged in the game. It is a make-or-break opportunity. The commercials have legs and now are aired before and after the game as well as being promoted on Twitter. Twitter has enabled personal engagement with customers and spread the impact and measurement of the commercial.

Sometimes we take our brand messages and we create campaigns. How would those campaigns differ if we paid $5 million for a 30-second chance to tell our story? You will see some brands that have a tradition in Super Bowl storytelling and almost always get it right. You will continue to see some commercials that are off-color, and just off target.

It doesn’t make sense. This is Super Bowl 50. There have been 50 years of branding lessons, both good and bad. To spend that kind of money and have the commercial fall on its face seems implausible, yet it will happen.

We are excited to watch the game and more excited to watch the creativity in the commercials. If you had 30 seconds to convey your best brand message, what would it be? Shouldn’t that be our framework for everything we create?

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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