Millions well spent?

It is nearly one week later. People are still buzzing about the memorable Super Bowl ads from last weekend. While some of the commercials were a surprise to viewers on Feb. 2, many of the ads had already been circulating on YouTube and the rest of the Internet.

Watched by tens of millions of people, Super Bowl ads also cost millions of dollars – upwards of $4 million for a 30-second commercial, according to industry publication Ad Age. The general public might hear that figure and think it is a waste of money for such a short amount of time, though maybe it isn’t.

With a Super Bowl ad, there is much hype and speculation about the concepts and memorable moments that companies and their marketing departments will choose to make the ad a hit (hopefully) and make them worth $4 million — more if it was one of the common 60-second commercials.

The idea behind “regular” commercials is to have the product or brand front and centre. But for Super Bowl, the concept is often completely different.

One of the most-talked about commercials is the Coca-Cola commercial celebrating worldwide unity and diversity. The focus in the commercial isn’t so much any products as it was sending a memorable message — which obviously resonated with viewers. Does the ad make you want to go out and buy a Coke? Not necessarily, but the brand awareness and the heartwarming feeling Coca-Cola gave you might well be worth the millions spent on the ad.

Same goes for Budweiser. The company hasn’t so much branded the product as it has the adorable horse, a Clydesdale, featured in its Super Bowl ads. This year was no different, adding a cute puppy into the commercial titled “Puppy Love.”

With the great expense comes the great risk of having a commercial flop – though still go viral with viewers commenting about how bad it was. The argument could be made that, “Hey, at least people are talking about you, right?” but at the end of the day the public perception is often most important.

Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, a company’s commercial can live on forever, much like Volkswagen’s 2013 commercial with a pint-sized Darth Vader. (See, you remember the commercial, don’t you?) In fact, the video on VW’s official YouTube page has been watched over 59 million times.

Maybe Volkswagen’s investment and ad buy last year was worth the millions of dollars since people remember the commercial and still watch it.

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