Some superheroes specialize

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5th Feb 2012, 5:41 PM
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Author Notes:

LilyRose 5th Feb 2012, 7:03 PM edit delete
LilyRose
It's got to be the greatest marketing coup ever. I mean, just think about it:


Somebody gets the idea of turning the Superbowl into a secular holiday. Now, the truth is, before they actually had the idea, things were already evolving in that direction. Among other things, a holiday is a shared event, something that crosses the boundaries of all geographical and social class divisions of a population. So when it was clear that more and more resources were bein gput into the superbowl as an event, it was pretty much a no-brainer that developing it into a secular holiday was the thing to do.

Now, here's the thing. Religious holidays may have been co-opted by the free market, and transformed into holidays devoted to spending money, but here was an opportunity to bypass the religious swamp holidays can get stuck in, and simply start off with a holiday already designed for nothing more than spending money. In the beginning, all the spending was being done by advertisers, who wanted the exposure to the audience the large tv rating implied were there. The genius of it was to dovetail the advertising dollars with an artificially created carnivale-for-a-day that would encourage people to spend a lot of money, not on the products being offered by the advertisers, but simply as an essential part of the experience of watching the Superbowl.

I don't know when “Superbowl Parties” entered the popular consciousness as a formalized ritual of the holiday (as opposed to impromptu and informal gatherings of like-minded souls). But it's clear the the Superbowl Party is the High Ritual of the Holiday proper, and as a marketing device, is superlative because it involves people gathering in larger and more ritualized groups that would require the attendant expenditures that the marketers would make sure were ingrained into the popular awareness as an inviolable fact of the day.

But THAT was not the real genius of it. Because a single day's spending can be, like Valentine's Day, a spike in an industry's yearly profit margin, but the big fish are the advertisers, and because this secular holiday is an event rather than a process, all the advertising takes place in a limited and temporary venue, and so the monetary value of it can only be increased by making it's rarity something with intrinsic value itself.

For advertising, the coin of the realm is viewers. And for marketers, the great conundrum was always this: people don't watch commercials. Traditionally, television commercials were seen as opportunities to take bathroom breaks, grab food and drink from the kitchen, perhaps a quick call to somebody, or just get up to stretch one's legs. The problem with a one-shot was that tv commercials relied upon repetition to get the message across, because over time, people would catch enough of the spot to take the message in. Advertising for a single event would need assurance that people were actually remaining in front of the set to watch the ad being associated with the holiday by its simple existence.

It is how this conundrum was solved this is the true marketing genius here. If the goal was to get people to watch the commercials, then the method was to make them WANT to see the commercials. This was accomplished by a massive, multi-pronged program of behavior-modification, and it included raising the cache of the ads by not only making the exorbitantly expensive but to publicize the amount of money being spent, a tactic that had already proven efficacious through the self-fulfilling prophecy of theatrical films being initially popular in a positive ratio between the film's budget and opening weekend box-office returns.

Other tactics included an inordinate amount of hype for the commercials themselves, using time-tested marketing devices to instill anticipation amongst viewers for the product, the product not being what the commercial is selling, but the commercial itself. The final stage was to enlist the cooperation of the so-called “non-advertising” media such as news outlets, and have them reinforce the conditioning of anticipation by reporting it as though it were a legitimate news story. And so the cycle completes itself, and then becomes an evolving entity that only requires maintenance and feeding to expand.

And so the greatest coup in the history of marketing has becomes a fait accompli: a market-driven secular holiday presented through the medium of television, inculcated into society as a part of the popular consciousness, and sustained through massive advertising dollars spent because the audience has been conditioned to anticipate and want to watch the commercials, rather than use the time to get up and take a breath of fresh air before the game resumes. The greatest coup in marketing history. And all due to the malleability of the human mind.
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Comments:

ThornsInOurSide 5th Feb 2012, 7:52 PM edit delete reply
ThornsInOurSide
Whoa, that's a lot of verbiage. Sports are supposed to make people healthy. But with all these injuries you hear about, they seem to be doing the opposite for the professional players. Sports are dumb.
chris-tar 19th Mar 2012, 2:06 AM edit delete reply
chris-tar
People are pretty fanatical about sports, especially football.
chancellor 13th May 2012, 2:29 PM edit delete reply
chancellor
Why is sporting a huge belly all the sport that the average sports watcher does?