Apart & Together

Today is Super Bowl Sunday—marketing’s big day. What does this year’s event tell us about the state of our industry in these rocky times? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • Like the world at large, today’s marketing industry is fractured and divided. The world of data-driven digital is particularly unstable right now. For example, the death of the third-party cookie is looming.
  • Apple and Facebook are going to war over privacy. Very publicly.
  • Advertisers are coming to terms with the challenges of brand safety—and their own unwitting role in fueling extremism and division.
  • Ad fraud continues to be a very expensive pitfall, swallowing big bites of our budgets even as those budgets contract.
  • Some social media managers are getting really fed up with life in the swamp.
  • And the age old tension between effective and annoying continues to be challenge.
  • Amidst all of this tension, division and complexity, Super Bowl ads feel like the exact opposite. Advertising in its most basic form. A relic from a simpler age.
  • And of course this advertising is tied to a big event that brings a lot of people together (148.5 million of them watched some or all of the broadcast last year) instead of pushing them apart.
  • (But hopefully not together in the physical, same room sense.)
  • There have been some negative headlines recently about big brands taking a pass this time out, including Budweiser, Coke and Pepsi.
  • But our sense is that Super Bowl ads will be welcome this year. Especially if they’re light and fun.
  • We all need a laugh right now. Whole categories of friendship have disappeared from our lives. We want to feel connected to our fellow humans.
  • Algorithms aren’t the only thing separating us, of course. Just because Facebook’s current PR campaign is full of more holes than a mid-sized colander doesn’t mean all internet marketing is inherently evil. Obviously.
  • But, just as obviously, there’s a lot of room for improvement. We’re really hoping the current upheaval will lead us somewhere better.
  • In the meantime, though, it feels like a great time to consider how we might channel the Super Bowl ourselves and do some marketing that brings people together instead of pushing them apart?
Issue #111
Feb 7, 2022

Further Reading