So today, Fedex announced that - for the first time in 12 years - there will be no cavemen or Burt Reynolds (not necessary the same person) in next year's Stupid Bowl. Steve Pacheco (he's a Jaffe Juice reader) made the announcement on the Fedex company blog.
The statement cites "unprecedented economic waters" as the primary reason for this decision (not being able to "justify the ad spend")
Steve & Co. - I appreciate your POV on how advertising in the Super Bowl helped strategically establish the brand. In addition, I also completely acknowledge that times have changed - for example: Fedex no longer needs to establish itself as a player (nor explain what it does and how it does it - better and/or different)
However, I do take a point of difference in terms of a contradiction of sorts. IF the Super Bowl was truly everything that you say it is (the Super Bowl is the only single event where an advertiser can reach a global audience of this size . . . last year almost 98 million people watched the game), then surely it should not be (one of) the first line items to be cut, but indeed the last.
This same logic could be applied to the intangible reasons why companies advertise in the Super Bowl i.e. less concerned with end consumers and more focused on internal customers i.e. employees, as well as the trade (including plenty of tickets and bragging rights)
The fact remains: advertising on the Super Bowl arguably NEVER had the return on investment that has always been touted by the networks (that's a relative statement). It's always been a giant ego play and a perfect game of illusion, misdirection and hype.
Don't get me wrong...has the Super Bowl ever worked? Of course it has. Big time. Remember Apple's 1984 commercial. It's just that the list or ratio of "hits" to "misses" has shifted radically away from the success stories to the eulogies of dot bomb 1.0 and most recently, "everyone else".
And as every major indicator has shifted away from the 30-second spot (from declining audience numbers to more diverse i.e. more fragmented viewing audiences), the prices continued to rise. Kids - don't try that strategy at home.
And here we are....the fork in the road. Fedex (spare a thought for poor BBDO) smartly (although arguably a few years too late) takes a bow and leaves the final line of incumbents to stubbornly defend their position, status quo, and along with it, their pride.
Steve - again, I appreciate your company's position. It is financially sound and responsible, but it is also 100% a reflection of common sense. The bottom line is that the recent "unprecedented economic waters" have not only forced all companies to think and act in a more fiscally prudent way, but also to be more accountable in their efforts.
I would take this one step further: it has also created a more glaring transparency of wastage (current and years to date with line items such as the Super Bowl), unnecessary opulence and self-congratulatory debauchery (to be clear, I'm not saying Fedex suffered from any of the above, with the exception of not being able to justify their Super Bowl spend anymore based on its performance/efficacy)
Companies cannot afford to send out a message of careless or excess wastage anymore - especially when they're laying off employees left, right and center.
Net Net: $3,000,000 is better spent on retention, customer service, employee satisfaction and building long term relationships or commitments with customers.