Shocker (not really): I Didn’t Watch The Super Bowl

image credit:  teotwawki

I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. Wait, let me back up – I don’t watch any sports. Actually, one step further – I don’t even watch TV.

Being a member of the male gender in our planet’s society, it is assumed that I watch sports. Apparently though, it is still forgivable that I don’t watch them 364 days a year. But to not watch one specific game, believe it or not, I am actually viewed by others as socially deviant.

My friend in the advertising industry commented to me, “oh, but you have to watch the commercials.”  No, I don’t – I can let the internet crowdsource the sticky ones for me. I’ll see them later – if they are that good they’ll rise to the top of social media.

Super Bowl ads themselves are interesting from a marketing perspective. They are one of the last safe havens of the TV-industrial complex, a relic of the previous century. Some people like my friend who is in advertising watch the game just for the ads, proving once again advertising is content. This poses a bigger question:  if people are tuning in to the Super Bowl purely for the ads because they know advertisers are bringing their A-game, why don’t advertisers bring their A-game all year?

Regardless, the targeting of mass audiences in itself is a dated tactic – it’s not about how many, it’s about who you are reaching. There’s no reason to pay ridiculous sums of money to interrupt people with messages when there are tactful, cheaper and directly measurable ways to reach people actually interested in them. Marketers need to move away from a world of just looking to reach more passive eyeballs, and instead focus on building real relationships with people and delivering anticipated, relevant messages in a multi-directional format.

Unfortunately most large brands are locked into a vicious cycle of throwing billions of dollars at TV ads, something that is a dated tactic in a fragmented media world. But it’s all they know how to do, they were designed for it. You can’t tell a shark not to feed,  it’s a part of her DNA, just like TV advertising is a part of many brand’s DNA. The problem is, it doesn’t work the way it used to and is becoming less effective daily.

There also is no longer a reason to view content on someone else’s timetable – I view my time as more important than that. I hope you do as well. That’s why TV as a medium is essentially dead to me. It doesn’t fit into the lifestyle of someone sensitive to where their time goes.  The only thing I can think of worth watching live would be something like a presidential debate/inauguration, or event of significant relevance to society and history. Even something in the genre of arts and entertainment does not need to be live (unless I am actually there, in person).  If I want to see it, I’ll timeshift it.

It is actually quite the interesting phenomenon from a sociological perspective that others view me as deviant simply by not viewing the same content as them. Every year I get looks of shock and surprise from people when they ask the week before the Super Bowl what I’m planning on doing and I kindly answer that I don’t watch it. It’s the same type of look I receive from people when I discuss religion as a great example of marketing.

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