Every movement begins with a moment.
The greatest sporting event in America is this Sunday — maybe the greatest sporting event in the world. I know there are arguments that the FIFA World Cup is bigger than our football game. And that the Olympics has more flames, more luge and more cowbell. But neither of those is the Super Bowl. Our Super Bowl is the Super Bowl of all Super Bowls. Which I admit is a super dumb thing to say.
In 2015 more than 114 million Americans tuned in to the big game. And for good reason. Actually there are three good reasons to tune in to this spectacle. First, for the football. The game is usually exciting. And this year we again have two great teams and a compelling matchup featuring Peyton "Old Man" Manning vs. Cam "New Kid" Newton. (See what I did there?)
Second, the Super Bowl is a cultural phenomenon. It's what everyone in the office will be talking about around the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine on Monday morning. If your office still has a water cooler, the talk probably won't be about the Super Bowl. It will be about why you still don't have a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine.
And the third reason to watch is the commercials. The Super Bowl commercials are a fascinating study — because we look forward to the commercials as much as we look forward to the game itself. Even though the commercials slow down the game and make the whole night last longer than a Wagner opera. But why?
The magic of the Super Bowl is that, for at least one night a year, we all recognize that the commercials themselves add value to our lives. They are entertaining. And on Sunday night, we as a nation will be in the mood to be entertained. The commercials are usually humorous. Some are big funny. Some are small funny. Some are produced like mini-blockbusters packed with action and drama. Some are touching and cute, usually with an animal tugging at your heartstrings. Which is particularly impressive when you consider that most cardiologists can't even find your heartstrings.
As a whole, the commercials are interesting and engaging. But even the lesser spots enable us to play commercial critic. And as we learned from “American Idol,” a few train wrecks amongst the stars make for oddly enjoyable TV.
As you prepare for Super Sunday, here are three things every business can learn from the Super Bowl commercials.
Meet people where they are. As a business you need to put the audience you want to reach first. Understand their wants and needs. Understand their habits and how you can fit into them. If people want to party, like they do during the Super Bowl, party with them. If they want serious information to solve a serious problem, get serious with them. But don't cross streams.
Offer a consistently enjoyable experience. A major reason we look forward to the Super Bowl commercials is that we enjoyed them last year. And the year before. And like Pavlov's dogs, when we hear talk of the Super Bowl, we start salivating for Doritos, Budweiser and Coca-Cola commercials. So deliver a great experience every time. Because when you do, whether you're a carpet cleaner, a dentist or a software company or a mortician, your customers will look forward to interacting with you again. Wait, scratch mortician.
Make great things. Americans love greatness. We have a deep appreciation for things like a well-crafted Super Bowl commercial or say, a well-written blog post. Great things get elevated in our culture. Yeti coolers, iPhones and American Giant sweatshirts are all great products from great companies that generate a lot of love. In turn, they help build great brands that command love, respect and a premium price. So focus your business efforts on making things great. And the profits will follow.
I hope you enjoy the game. I hope you enjoy the commercials. And I hope you enjoy the conversations about the game and the commercials on Monday. But most of all, I hope that by this time next year, your business is competing in the Super Bowl of your industry. And that you have a long line of customers outside your door. Unless, of course, you're a mortician.
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