In the NFL, each team has only 16 chances to advance to a Super Bowl win. So when the coaches decide which players to start, they try to maximize their wins by selecting the best combination of players.
Just as the NFL teams have limited chances to make it to the Super Bowl – advertisements have limited chances to reach, inform, and convert consumers. Yet 364 days of the year I fast forward through commercials or hit the kitchen during the commercial breaks. 364 days a year, I find commercials to waste my time because they are boring, humorless, tacky, or some combination of the above.
One day a year I actually look forward to spending Super Bowl Sunday with nachos, light beer, and entertaining commercials. I choose to watch these commercials every year because they are as interesting as a TV show or movie. I expect to laugh and talk about these commercials for days after their airing. I clearly remember the viral Old Spice  commercial. I loved the notorious Tibetan Groupon  ad and all the resulting controversy following its airing. I remember MC Hammer hawking his gold records and gold Hammer pants on a Cash 4 Gold  commercial. In fact, this is such an event that Google and NBC have announced a Super Bowl post-game Hangout on Google+  to talk about the 2012 Super Bowl commercials.
The Super Bowl commercial phenomenon has proven two simple things to me:
1) People are open to enjoying commercials.
2) Companies are capable of creating entertaining commercials.
Proven every year, if companies make engaging commercials, people will watch and enjoy the commercials. As a direct result, they get informed about the brand, and are more likely to purchase the product in the future.
So why aren’t all commercials awesome?
Advertisers – I support spending big on a Super Bowl commercial  because I believe the entertainment value is worth the budget. But don’t slack on every other day of the year. You should still be assembling the most creative and innovative players in the game, who can help find new ways to reach your audience. If you don’t, the audience will know that you got lazy. They’ll ignore your commercials and go watch a cat video  with a budget of zero.
The Doritos Crash the Super Bowl commercial contest  is a great example of bringing alternative creativity to the advertising world. This year Doritos received approximately 6100 video submissions, whereby the 2 commercials with the most votes will air during the 2012 Super Bowl. Keeping true to the grassroots spirit of this competition, Doritos partnered up with The Lonely Island , a comedy group who started out by making high school short videos that garnered enough attention to be hired by Saturday Night Live. With buzz about this competition spreading across the web, Doritos has generated additional search traffic for its brand.
“Doritos” traffic 2008-present (via Google Insights for Search)
“Doritos Super Bowl” traffic 2008-present (via Google Insights for Search)
Doritos’ traffic spikes directly correspond with the Doritos Super Bowl search traffic. That’s because 6100 teams of creative people spent time, money, and brainpower on Doritos. And on February 5, 2012 millions of people will eagerly watch the Super Bowl in order to see the winning commercial.
Doritos proved that creating a Super Bowl-worthy commercial is as simple as brainstorming some original ideas and borrowing a DV camera and a Mac. Far more commercials air over a 364-day period than just 1 Super Bowl Sunday. On any normal day, if your commercial is interesting we will get excited when it airs on TV. We will actively seek out your video online. We will chatter about the commercial on our social media channels and do your marketing for free. If you’re not entertaining and engaging 365 days a year, we’re not purchasing.
Since we’re all in the football spirit, allow me to put this into a football analogy. Every team in the NFL wants to win the Super Bowl. In order to get there, they have to train, strategize, watch their competitors, and test plays. They have to fight for every point during the short 16-game season because a single loss can ruin their journey to the Super Bowl. In essence – they have to approach every game as if it is the Super Bowl.
Advertisers – treat every day like Super Bowl Sunday.