Why would a marketer buy a Superbowl ad rather than hit a home run with a year-long content marketing strategy?
Yesterday, I wrote about some of the year-long content marketing plans I’d execute instead of spending $3 million on a Superbowl ad. (If you read to the 5th point, my list of ideas had more than $2 million left over.)
But why do companies keep spending money on the hail-Mary passes that a $3 million Superbowl ad represents? In some cases — Budweiser beer springs to mind — an ad during the Superbowl makes lots of sense. Budweiser probably generates tens of millions in revenue during the game itself, making the ad something of a “Let’s go out to the lobby” jingle from the old days at the movie theater.
But for advertisers who are using the ad to generate conversation about their brands or products, the venue and costs make little sense. So why do they spend such a significant portion of their budgets on a 30-second ad and not a year-long content marketing strategy?

Here are a few of the reasons I can think of:

  1. Their ad agency is incredibly persuasive, as in Don Draper works there and they’ll do anything he says.
  2. They’d rather be pitched on TV advertising creative concepts and attend commercial shoots than spend a year working with people on developing and growing online content resources.
  3. Attending the Superbowl with tickets from CBS beats watching the game at home.
  4. They don’t have the staff or resources or even know who to call to create a compelling content strategy — but they have a directory full of advertising agencies who’d love to create a Superbowl ad for them.
  5. No one has ever told them that an industry-shattering content marketing strategy will cost them a fraction of what a 30-second Superbowl spot will.
  6. They’re not measuring the ROI on your marketing dollars, so other than “impressions” and “eyeballs,” the objectives you have aren’t measured.
  7. Their marketing department is organized around spending advertising budgets and not around driving metrics.
  8. They want to tell their friends and family about their role in authorizing the Superbowl commercial that came in 7th place on the USA Today poll of “most memorable” Superbowl ads of 2010.
  9. It’s hard to change.
  10. They haven’t found Hammock yet.