Battle of the Super Bowl Ads: Past vs. Present

Are Today’s High-Tech Ads as Memorable As Those of the Past?

At this year’s Super Bowl, advertisers will pay as much as $2.6 million for a 30-second spot.

It’s a huge jump from the price tag of a Super Bowl ad decades ago, and the tactics have changed, too. Instead of relying on stick-in-your-head jingles and unforgettable characters, many advertisers now employ flashy graphics and out-of-this-world effects.

But as the stakes in the ad wars continue to grow, “Good Morning America” wondered, would the memorable, not so well-“hyped” commercials of years past work as well as today’s high-budget, high-tech ads?

According to Jerry Della Femina, CEO of Della Femina Rothschild Jeary and Partners and an advertising industry veteran, today’s consumers wouldn’t fall for the ads of yore.

“Some commercials that worked no longer work because people are smarter. They don’t fall for it,” he said. “Commercials have to be smart and better because you have a much smarter consumer out there.”

Femina believes that many consumers won’t just settle for catchy jingles and simple messages when big-budget special effects and celebrity-driven images bombard them at every turn.

Companies know that, and they’re pulling out all the stops for the Super Bowl.

Coca-Cola goes digital for the game, putting a gentler spin on a popular video game. Pizza Hut is once again using Jessica Simpson to hawk its pies. Nationwide Mutual picked a D-list celebrity, Britney Spears’ ex-husband Kevin Federline, who pokes fun at himself in an ad.

Do Big Names Equal Big Business?

Whether the crowd-pleasing ads will be remembered by consumers after the game ends remains to be seen.

“It’s not how much you spend on a commercial, it’s really the idea behind the commercial and if it works,” Della Femina said. “You’ve got to stop people almost immediately on television now, and it’s got to work.”

So even though Sunday’s high-octane Super Bowl ads may be more entertaining than those from 20 or 30 years ago, they may not be able to score as many points with consumers in the long run.

In the advertising world, high-tech features and hefty price tags don’t guarantee immortality.

In the case of the iconic Oscar Meyer ad, a cute kid and a catchy jingle were all the company needed to have Americans singing about bologna long after the commercial and the campaign were over.