Charging Consumers for Commercials?

Posted on January 29, 2009

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Every time the Super Bowl rolls around, my mind wanders (like a lot of consumers) to the commercials that will grace our big screens on game day.  If you've ever watched a Super Bowl in your life, you know that Anheuser Busch plays a big role in the entertainment of the game.  In the age of Tivo, DVR and online TV, I'm always amazed by the amount of buzz the company's ads still generate — they are still ads. 

According to AdAge, this year the Clydesdales will once again dominate the A-B ad lineup.  At a time when we're all drowning in recession news and doom and gloom, that's a good move by A-B.  Clydesdales probably aren't getting laid off or struggling to pay the rent, so the commercials are likely to leave us all in good spirits. 

I used to work for A-B, giving tours in their brewery in Fort Collins, CO.  During that time, visitors would come in and ask to buy DVDs of the company's ads.  You want to buy a commercial?  I looked at them quizically… That was just slightly before the rise of viral videos, but it's the same concept.  Advertisers are all worried about getting eyeballs on their ads, while consumers are looking for funny, engaging content to share with one another.  So, with the Super Bowl advertisers lining up for another season, I'd call on them to create better content – year round – so that we pass around their "viral" videos, and stop fast forwarding through commericals every other day but game day.

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