Volkswagen Passat: the upside of the Super Bowl gamble

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Does advertising on the Super Bowl makes sense? The debate is back. At $3mn for a single 30-sec spot this year (gulp, that’s Rs.15 cr – annual budget for a typical large client here in India), the question is worth asking, given the recessionary times in the US. The debate usually revolves around the direct impact in sales or lack of it of such activity. In its favour,  people argue that getting a 100mn audience at one go is not an opportunity to be missed. Getting a captive audience is one thing, captivating them is another.

I think the gamble is worth it if the communication is unambiguously linked to the brand (not in an indirect ‘that ad with those talking pigs…um…for that finance company?), makes for great water-cooler talk in a positive way and more importantly create a buzz beyond the event. A good case in point would be the Volkswagen Passat commercial it has literally ruled the conversation around Super Bowl ads, a good one week prior to the event.

With 12.4 million views on YouTube already and truck loads of positive vibes across media, I think its paisa vassol for the brands. For global audiences like me, it may not make a direct impact on the brand sales in the US but the brand went several notches up in the likeability meter in my mind. What price for such intangible, emotional relationships that are built thanks to Super Bowl activity?

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