The Big Lame: Previously Aired Commercials during Super Bowl are Incredibly Disappointing


Three Men on a Couch Watching Television

On February 7th, 2016, more than 110 million people will bear witness to the 50th NFL Super Bowl.

As an avid football fan, food enthusiast, and marketer/creative type, it’s the best day of the year for me.

The pinnacle of sports wrapped in dough, stuffed with pepperoni and mozzarella, and topped with the

finest displays of video advertising we’ll see all year. I love football. I love Stromboli. And I loved the

excitement around super bowl commercials.

Yes, I said loved. In my opinion, the last couple of years have been let downs when it comes to the breaks in sports action. When you Google, “greatest super bowl videos of all time,” most of them are prior to 2010. The two exceptions I came across are Volkswagen’s The Force commercial, which everyone loved, and’s geek making out with Bar Rafaeli, which some people didn’t like at all.

It’s not necessarily the creative that bothers me now, but rather the fact that I will have already seen most of the commercials on primetime TV. Advertisers will actually repurpose ads in a spot that in 2016 will cost them $5M per 30 seconds.

I was only two at the time, so I don’t remember Apple’s 1984 ad that revolutionized Super Bowl commercial advertising, but I know it debuted during the big game. It was strategic, moving, and treated with the respect that roughly 78M viewers deserved (in 2015, there were over 114M viewers). Did you know Ridley Scott directed that? At $10M per minute, maybe someone should get Tarantino on the horn in 2016, but I digress.

The point I want to make is that advertisers should debut their commercials during the Super Bowl, and repurpose them afterwards, not the other way around. There are so many outlets to do so now. Almost every social media platform allows for targeted video advertising: YouTube and Facebook, obviously, and even Twitter is now beta testing video advertising. Plus, with rich media digital executions, you can repurpose your ad with audience targeting on virtually any site you can think of to get it in front of any demographic you need to reach. Shameless plug: It doesn’t have to be a Super Bowl ad. Repurposing your video assets is just plain smart; contact MNI to find out how you can take advantage of the fastest growing, and most effective advertising medium around.

So to recap: I love the Super Bowl, but the last few years’ commercials have been disappointing, mostly because I’d seen them before. More importantly, it’s foolish to use a previously-aired ad during the event rather than repurposing it afterwards. It negates the whole build up, the anticipation that you’re going to see an innovative ad for the first time.


- Simplicity, clever comedy, and sex appeal are the perfect combination for the majority of viewers.
  Think Pepsi, 1992, starring Cindy Crawford.

- Really good, simple, clever comedy is highly memorable. Think Budweiser, 1994 frog ad (link).

- Sex does sell. Think Doritos 3D, 1998, starring Ali Landry. Or the much more risqué, borderline NSFW, circa 2005. This company never would have made it without this commercial airing during
  Super Bowl halftime and causing such a backlash.


- More of the same “feel good” ads that don’t upset or offend anyone.

- Kardashians, Bieber, and some Social Media Star that only 12-year-old girls know and care about.

- Cheap comedy that you find in movies starring James Franco.


- A commercial using monkeys. (Commercials starring chimps are just plain hilarious.)

- Commercials that appeal to the majority Super Bowl viewer: beer swigging, wing scarfing, loud,
  obnoxious men. Good thing I’m not famous, or I’d have to issue an apology for that statement.

- A commercial debut that’s original, memorable, and warranting of $5M per 30 seconds.
  Not a commercial I saw last week.