Seth Says: A Show Is Not a Story

My friend Aly Colón, a journalist turned global communications manager, sent me an item from Seth Godin’s blog on the excessive showmanship of Super Bowl ads.

“The lesson of these ads is simple,” Seth wrote. “Putting on a show is expensive, time-consuming and quite fun. And it rarely works.”

Here’s the marketing nugget from Seth:

“Marketing is telling a story that sticks, that spreads and that changes the way people act. The story you tell is far more important than the way you tell it. Don’t worry so much about being cool, and worry a lot more about resonating your story with my worldview. If you don’t have a story, then a great show isn’t going to help much.”

I’ll add this: You can’t tell much of a story in 30 seconds — even during the Super Bowl. A 30-second spot can only reinforce the story you’re telling across all media and channels.

Related:

2009 Super Bowl Ads Were Super Duds

2009 Super Bowl Ads Were Super Duds

While the Super Bowl game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals was super, the Super Bowl ads were not.

I admit it. I’ve been in the advertising/marketing game a while. Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky (I’m definitely not in the coveted 18-34 demographic), but, overall, I found last night’s lineup of Super Bowl ads to be uninspired. They didn’t strike me as clever, smart, or funny.

Sometimes I wonder how they get made. How do the concepts move beyond the conference rooms where they’re pitched?

I read in USA Today that the average Super Bowl ad costs $2 million to produce and $3 million for the ad buy. So corporations pony up $5 million to run those 30-second spots. Amazing.

If they’re phenomenal (“Herding Cats” comes to mind), then they’re probably worth the hefty investment. But, for many, there are probably much smarter ways to use $5 million to build brand awareness and market products and services.