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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Column: The other Super Bowl

Super Bowl XLVI. Patriots vs. Giants. The Golden Boy vs. Peyton’s Little Brother. Beer. Wings. Chips. Six-, nay, seven-layer dip. Commercials.

Campus, the Super Bowl is nearly upon us. In three short days, an estimated 100 million viewers across the nation will gather ‘round the biggest, highest-resolution TV they can find to watch America’s most dominant forces battle for the affection of their fans. Each squad has been preparing all year for the big show, working hard to ensure that their game day strategy will help them achieve their ultimate goal. Critics, injuries and other setbacks along the way — none of them matter now. It all comes down to one game on the world’s biggest stage.

During breaks in the action, there will be some football.

Ever since the NFL championship became a major televised event in 1958, professional football’s title game has steadily gained steam as one of the largest annual media events in the world. Every year, advertisers big and small sprint toward the network hosting the big game in hopes of securing at least one 30-second spot to showcase themselves and their products in an innovative way.

This year, the Super Bowl will air on NBC. As has been the case every year, the cost of a commercial has increased since the previous year, with a 30-second spot selling for $3.5 million on average. I’d love to drop three and a half mil myself on a personal ad, but like other advertisers who didn’t make the cut, I’m either:

  1. Too controversial
  2. Too unstable
  3. Too poor
  4. All of the above

Self-esteem aside, though, these are the hard facts. When you have an estimated viewership of 100 MILLION, little guys are going to get pushed aside by the juggernauts for airtime to literally show us the goods. As usual, big names from all major industries will be putting forth their best efforts this year to capture consumers’ hearts/laughs/wallets, like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Volkswagen and Anheuser-Busch.

What makes advertising so effective on this day of all days, however, is not only the sheer number of people watching. According to a recent study by Starcom MediaVest Group, 76 percent of Super Bowl viewers say they like the fact that the ads are created specifically for the game. Also, 62 percent say they pay more attention to these ads than usual.

It’s an accepted fact in the sports world that the best performances happen on the biggest stages, and in advertising, this idea is no different. Potential for exposure of this magnitude brings out the best in the creative minds of advertisers, and no plausibly effective avenue is left unused.

This year, for example, many companies plan to promote their Super Bowl ads through Twitter and other social media sites. Targeting younger, more internet-savvy demographics such as us college kids, these businesses hope to keep the conversation going during the game, even after their commercial has aired.

Skeptical about how much activity Coke’s #GameDayPolarBears (yes, the unreasonably dexterous, soda-loving CGI beasts will be back) hashtag will realistically get? Consider this: After Tim “God’s-second-son” Tebow (it’s okay for me to make this joke because I’m a Broncos fan and actually root for the guy) threw a game-winning overtime touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers a few weeks ago, there were an alleged 9,000 tweets per second about the play.

Advertisers want in on that kind of babble because, if they can generate a high level of conversation about their ad, they’re far more likely to earn a big payday for themselves in products sold immediately after the Super Bowl. College kids tweeting=money.

Although many people dislike the hype produced by the Super Bowl and the media frenzy that follows it, I believe it’s something to embrace. What’s important to remember, especially for us as the vibrant youth, is that the Super Bowl as a complete package is everything we could ever want in a day: relaxation, food and entertainment.

Probably the only thing to worry about now is a serious lack of opportunities to take a piss.

VICTOR BEIGELMAN is picking Patriots over Giants, Coke over Pepsi, and Bud Light over Miller Light. Send him your picks at vbeigelman@ucdavis.edu.

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