One month ago, a large majority of America’s attention was on a game–and also an inordinate amount of attention was on advertising. As someone who has worked in the industry for many years now, I’ve grown accustomed to this being a big day— beyond which teams were playing and the media spectacle that it is. It was a time to see what some of the best advertising minds and bravest companies would put out in the field of play of our collective brand mind field. And each year the stakes, the cost and the attention got bigger.
Perhaps that’s just natural. It’s what human beings do. We try to make things better. Bigger. More. It’s probably how we got from being cave dwellers to where we are today. We learn. We do. We analyze. We learn. We do better. Repeat. And Americans are especially drawn to making things grander. Maybe it’s our pioneering DNA and the breadth and grandeur of our country.
So now, 30-plus years since the Big Bang in television advertising–Apple’s 1984 MacIntosh commercial–we have arrived at the logical zenith of this advertising manifest destiny philosophy. (Actually, quite possibly, we’re already on the downhill slide of that mountain). Have we gotten to the inevitable point of “Too Much”? Enough of the teasers online weeks before the big event in the hopes that you’ve justified the extreme expense of your over bloated, lackluster efforts. And just how many avocados do you need to sell to rationalize dropping $5 million in 30 seconds?
Maybe it’s just because I’ve been doing this awhile and I’ve seen so much. Maybe it’s because at a certain age you’re less afraid to speak your mind and you care less what other people think. Maybe it’s just because I’m a little grumpy today. But today—a mere month after the “big event” – can you remember a single commercial? So I have a simple comment, a simple request if anybody cares or is even listening. And I’d like to think it’s also what the average consumer—your audience—is really wanting too.
Dear advertising industry and clients, we expect more but want less. Less overblown productions. Less hype. Less conversation. Less puppies and babies. More ideas. More heart. More laughs. Surprise us and take our breath away. Shock us or be provocative. Be brave. Make us care more. Make us feel something. Then maybe it’ll matter. You’ll have made more than a commercial and it’ll be worth a whole lot more than $5 million. And yes, your audience will be watching and listening. But more importantly you’ll have a stake in the ground in the increasingly tightening real estate of the consumer’s mind. And that is priceless.