Quality Score for Super Bowl Commercials

Last night I did what 40 million+ other people did.  I sat in front of my TV for 4 straight hours (minus putting kids to bed, etc) and watched the Superbowl.  I thought it was a little overboard that they read the Declaration of Independence at the start of the broadcast (to symbolize how American the Super Bowl is?), but I digress....

The Superbowl ad spots fetched roughly $4MM for a 30 second spot (gulp), and several brands think it's a bargain.  The mere reach and PR value is hard to argue - even from a performance driven marketer like myself....  BUT.... Another reason why I think they're so valuable is because people ACTUALLY watch the ads.  The Superbowl has become the one instance in modern television where people watch BECAUSE of the ads!

The fastest way to change this fact, however, is to have a few years in a row like we did in 2014.  The ads were below average.  There were maybe 3 ads I thought were "great" and every other one was average or worse.  So in order to preserve the "huge amounts of your customers actually watch the ads" belief - I think that the networks (or NFL) should include a "Quality Score" metric, much like Google does.  If ads are clicked on more than any others - Google often rewards advertisers for being of value to it's users, which makes it more likely (and sometimes less costly) for those advertisers with strong quality scores.

How could this be done?  Well - I was thinking that there were 3 possibilities (or more I'm sure):

  1. Network charges advertisers, say, $5MM per spot - and then they give $ back at a sliding scale based upon YouTube AdBlitz or a similar rating system.
  2. They have a panel of "judges" that pre-screens spots to give even either financial discounts OR preferential placement based upon judged "quality."
  3. Many advertisers have a history of commercials in the Superbowl - and I think there could be an "established" score that brands receive over time that gives them (again) discounts or first choice of placements. First time advertisers would receive the "average" slots.

Bottom-line -- I think the ad industry needs to take responsibility for ensuring that quality content meets customers expectations for this special event.  I get that fact that the network only thinks about "selling eyeballs" but if the ad quality is ignored - the value of the time will greatly diminish over time. I'd like to see Quality Score's equivalent show up for the Superbowl in the years to come.

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