Wellington, FL, United States (HTH) – By Michael Barnes
The debate is eternal. What is more memorable about the Super Bowl? The game or the commercials?
Following the wrap of last night’s contest in which a lengthy blackout followed the beginning of the second half, South Florida startups are similarly pulling the plug on Super Bowl advertising.
The debate for newbie tech companies becomes less about ponying up the approximately $4 million to run a 30-second advertisement and more about spending that money elsewhere on more targeted, cost-effective advertising.
Angel investors in South Florida agree that startups should go with the scalpel approach to messaging instead of the bludgeon approach typified by a high-profile Super Bowl ad.
“Super Bowl advertising is like a sumo wrestler – strong and powerful, but he is not surprising anyone,” says Jose Antonio Hernandez-Solaun, co-founder of the Miami startup conference TekFight.
“Today’s startups could use that budget more like a Ninja. Leveraging social media (both earned and purchased), direct online marketing and alternate channels such as Red Bull events or X games to gain a greater customer base without over saturation.” Explained Hernandez-Solaun.
W. Jeffrey Brown from Honey Tree Holdings, LLC agrees that the huge expense of Super Bowl advertising could be targeted more effectively.
“I don’t think being a startup and advertising on television during the Super Bowl is contradictory,” Brown said. “However, I do strongly believe that most startups could make much better and more responsible use of their funds than by spending millions on a Super Bowl ad and the associated production costs. Startups should be using targeted guerilla social marketing tactics to co-opt some of the buzz and excitement around major events.”
An example of such successful guerilla tactics might be Oreo’s tweet sent out during the blackout with the tag line “You can still dunk in the dark.” The message went viral and was retweeted 13,734 times, according to CNET. It was the most effective message of the night, according to Brown.
That type of guerilla social marketing might be an example of the scalpel approach favored by startups.
“Established brands seeking to maintain, share or launch into a new space should entertain the Super Bowl,” said Brandon Young of the Micro VC Club of South Florida. “For startups, it doesn’t seem as cost-effective. The startup world has become all about lean methodology and nothing is lean about $4 million for 30 seconds.”
The entire Super Bowl advertising debate might be a moot point to an argument that ended more than ten years ago. In 2000, 19 Internet companies advertised during the contest won by the St. Louis Rams over the Tennessee Titans. The tech bubble burst and 42% of these companies went belly up. Following the “Dot-Com Super Bowl,” it seems startups learned their lesson and are now taking a leaner approach with a more targeted advertising campaign.