A Super Bowl Challenge

When I was younger I was amazed at how much money companies would spend on advertising during the big game. It’s easy to stand in awe of anyone that can drop that kind of coin to show a commercial that usually lasts a minute or less. Many of them are supposed to be funny too I guess, but most of the time fail miserably. (I’m looking at you E*Trade babies.)

Let’s face it though; the companies spending that kind of money already have their place in the market. Coke, Doritos, Bud Light… If you don’t use their products already, a short commercial during a football game is not going to cause you to switch.

And now that I am older – I find the whole thing appalling!

This year, according to Reuters, the going rate is around 3 million dollars for 30 seconds.

That’s $100,000 per second.

Think about that.

Now think about all of the people around the world that have a serious need.

Think about all of the children starving to death in third world countries. Think about the innocent bystanders in nations ravaged by war. Think about the families oppressed by extreme poverty. Think about your own neighbors who are struggling to find jobs, or decent health care, or a cure for a life-threatening disease. Think about all of the pain and suffering around the globe.

Now consider how far the amount of money spent on advertising alone during the Super Bowl could go towards helping those people in need.

So here is my challenge to the companies considering buying advertising time:

Take the money that you would spend on one commercial and make a charitable donation instead. This would serve two purposes:

  1. Obviously, 3 million dollars would make a serious impact to any charity. That part is a no-brainer.
  2. A single Associated Press article reporting your radical decision would not only increase your media face-time (free advertising), but would easily increase your credibility and public image, which could sell more of your product than a commercial.

Or you could do what my wife suggested when we were discussing it last night. Buy a 30 second spot – but use the purchased time to show a commercial for St. Jude’s with a simple byline that says, “This ad paid for by Anheuser-Busch & donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.” A little less direct, but equally charitable and much more respectable than spending millions of dollars to sell mediocre beer to American football fans.

What do you think about our proposals?

Do you think anyone would ever accept our challenge?


3 thoughts on “A Super Bowl Challenge

  1. I wish they would take you up on the challenge. Most of the time what they are selling, we don’t need or would buy without the expensive commercial. I (unlike you) love the E*trade babies but I don’t use that service. I adore the Allstate mayhem guy but I don’t use their insurance (it’s all about good value for a LOW price with us). I could give up being entertained by the commercials gladly to see the needs of others met.

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Just to raise a counterpoint: the SuperBowl broadcast is worldwide. By advertising their consumer products on the worldwide stage these companies are maintaining topof mind positioning in the marketplace. This helps ensure a steady demand for their products worldwide. This steady demand increases the necessity for worldwide production and distribution to take advantage of economies of scale. What this means is that Coke builds a distribution center in Bangledesh and a former subsitence rice farmer gets a job in said dist. ctr. making more money than previously possible. His families standard of living is raised and the world is a slightly better place. Sorry to get all Adam Smith on you, but a legitimate argument can be made that capitalism is moral and altruism is not. I will now go back to clubbing baby seals and telling kids Santa is not real.

    • I agree that there is nothing inherently wrong or immoral about capitalism – but it’s not necessarily that black & white. I think that capitalism & altruism both have their place in our society – no matter what Ayn Rand said.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s