Next Feb. 7, a 30-second Superbowl ad will cost around $3 million — just for airtime. That doesn’t include creative or production costs.
So what do you get for that $3 million? Lots of eyeballs and, the theory goes, lots of people talking about you before and after the game. Lots and lots of blog posts and Twitter users talking about your ad and pointing to your YouTube account.
The PR bonanza is supposed to make the $3 million airtime seem like a bargain.
I’m sorry. I believe most Superbowl ads are a waste of money.

In the era of content marketing, the notion that you should spend $3 million on getting people to talk about you is an anachronism. “Talk,” we know, “is cheap.” Mere “talk” should not be the goal of $3 million or just $3 of marketing investment.
What marketing dollars should do is generate leads and sales and customer loyalty. Not talk.
At Hammock, we encourage the clients we work with to focus their marketing dollars on moving specific metrics. The idea behind objective-based content marketing is to develop media and content that find specific customers and lead to specific actions.
With that in mind, here are five things I’d spend $3 million on before I’d spend it on a Superbowl ad — except most of the $3 million would be left over:

  1. The creation of the definitive wiki collecting and organizing all the information a customer or potential customer of yours needs when considering purchasing one of your products — or to better use your product.
  2. Dozens (heck, probably hundreds) of how-to videos demonstrating how to do anything that can help customers better understand and use your product or service.
  3. A suite of social media tools related to each product and type of category you serve. By “suite,” I mean: a blog, Facebook page, Flickr account, YouTube account, Twitter account and account. Depending on the nature of the product, I would add a couple of other platforms to the mix.
  4. A year-long content strategy to utilize each of those platforms, and more, to drive specific metrics related that will improve your website’s organic search results, the generation of customer leads, the improvement of traffic metrics on your website, the shift of customer service from phone to website and the improvement in survey results related to your brand.
  5. And with some of the more than $2 million left over, I’d throw a really big Superbowl party.