They’re one of the things that make the Super Bowl – the championship game of the National Football League – worth watching. They’re the 30-second commercials that only a select few brands in the world can hope to snag. This year, a 30-second slot cost $5 million. Peanuts, compared to the estimated $30 million that CNBC paid for a whole marketing campaignduring the game. But this is just the price you pay for the undivided attention of more than 115 million viewers.
Super Bowl: the story of America in ads
The Super Bowl involves some staggering numbers, and is “the biggest opportunity of the year for advertisers” as Ashley Rodriguez wrote for Quartz. “Super Bowl ads are known for being flashy, funny, risky, celebrity-packed, and extremely costly.” But that’s not all. Super Bowl ads tell stories about America better than almost any other words or images. It was during the 1984 game when Apple announced the launch of the Macintosh Apple, which went on to revolutionize the history of the digital industry. In 2005, just before the real estate bubble burst, Quicken Loans dispensed advice about mortgages for Americans buying their first homes. And in 2009, in the middle of the economic crisis, Cash4Gold.com urged people to sell their family jewelry.
So in a way, Super Bowl commercials tell the story of America. In 2017, it’s Trump’s America, so what better time than during the NFL championship game to send a provocative message to the president of the United States in response to the “Muslim Ban”? That’s what Airbnb did, with just a few words superimposed over images in their Super Bowl ad: “no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, we all belong #weaccept”.
AirBnb launches a campaign for refugees
The commercial is part of an awareness campaign that shows Airbnb working to provide housing to everyone who, for war-related or other reasons, are in need of “a place to call home.” Through a tool on the site that allows people to offer free lodging to displaced people, AirBnB has been able to provide concrete assistance in over 54 countries throughout the world who have been affected by disaster. The goal, as Airbnb founders Brian, Joe and Nathan stated, was to “provide short-term housing for 100,000 people in need… Airbnb will invest $4 million over the course of 4 years to the International Rescue Committee, to support the most critical needs of displaced populations globally.”
Every year, people wonder if it’s really worth it to invest $5 million in a 30-second commercial. They ask if it wouldn’t be more effective to spread a campaign over multiple means of communication. Some think that the repetition of an ad is the key to success, while others consider the Super Bowl almost like a wedding day: it’s an event to remember and it’s meant to last. The truth is that Super Bowl ads have essentially become a meta-event that even non-sports fans follow. And it would be great if Airbnb’s ad wasn’t just an isolated case, but managed to activate a collective consciousness built on mutual support. Because “the world is more beautiful the more you accept.” And we accept.
People Watcher, Marketer, Mum. La mia insaziabile curiosità nella vita chiede di essere accompagnata da altrettanto forte intensità nel lavoro. Per questo scrivo.