By Shawn Kelly

Last year, on January 31, 2000. Millions, possibly billions of people were glued to their television screen. About ¾ of them were locked into the excitement of what is the Super Bowl. What were the others watching for? Commercials! Yep! Commercials. The Super Bowl has become a national pastime for commercial gazing.

I know when I was watching I could not be pulled away for nothing. For 3 ½ hours I did not move, not even for a nature break. Why? Because I knew that excellence was going to grace my screen during every commercial break. It’s no wonder why spots were going for 2 million a pop. The people who were watching the game, for the game, stayed through the entire program (let’s not count the half-time show) just so they could see the entertaining commercials. And the people, who had no interest at all in the game, tuned in during the breaks, just so they could see the commercials. Isn’t that amazing? Why do you think this is so? The Super Bowl has become known for their Super Ads! Wouldn’t it be lovely if people would sit through your stations commercial breaks like they do the Super Bowl? They can and they will if your station gets behind the idea of paying close attention to what the listeners will respond to. How do you find out? You have to ask. Do some research. Make a few calls to your client. Find out who buys his product or who wants to buy his product. Design the spot around the listener and not the client. That’s how we got hypnotized into loving the Super Bowl ads. The agencies design the spots around us, the consumer, and not the client.

But there was one problem with the commercials from the big game last year. I couldn’t remember exactly which advertisers the spots were made for. I thought one of the most moving and interesting spots in last year’s game was the one with the computer image of Christopher Reeves. It shocked everyone and even offended some, but did you remember who the ad was for? Does this ring a bell? “He’s got money coming out the wazoo?” Who did that ad? Who did the ad for the “Kitten Herders?” It’s hard to remember isn’t it? But that has nothing to do with the ads themselves. It has to do with the frequency. They weren’t run enough to give the client top of mind awareness. Advertisers and agencies were so focused on putting together an awesome spot that they didn’t have enough budget to run a high frequency. On the other hand, some of these spots have run throughout the past year, and perhaps now you can remember who the client is.

But the point stays the same. People were glued to the television to see the commercials. You can make that happen for your stations. Wouldn’t it be great if people were talking about your commercials the next morning at work? Wouldn’t it be great if people remembered your spots for years to come? It is great, and it does happen, and it can happen to you. Make your spots funny, sad, angry or shocking, it doesn’t matter, but just make them happen. Tell stories and use emotions to sell the message. Sell the results of the product and not the product itself. Turn your commercials into Super Bowl commercials, and get ready for another round of great Super Bowl spots on January 28, 2001.