Super Bowl 50: Targeting is in the eye of the beholder

Those of us involved in direct marketing know the old adage ‘right time, right place, right channel’ is absolutely vital for engendering customer engagement. And whilst it is applicable across the whole marketing communications mix our above the line cousins tend to have more leeway than us. A poorly placed TV slot, whilst incongruous with its surrounding it rarely sparks major angst. By the time the programme has restarted the audience has all but forgotten becoming re-immersed in whatever they were watching. I say rarely, since there are occasions when the planners get it badly wrong. One such occasion for three hapless pharmaceutical brands was Super Bowl Sunday. The commercials promoting constipation medicine, diarrhea tablet and foot fungal cream, respectively, did not go down well with the 112 million viewers, many of whom took to social media to air their grievances. The sentiment was clear – wrong time and place for such products. Cars, FMCG and even financial products (if done well) are welcome; cures for embarrassing ailments; not so much. At an eye watering $170,000 per second for the ad space, that’s an expensive lesson to learn!


The morale of the story is to always keep your audience in mind and have an understanding on how and when to reach them in the most appropriate manner.