Is it me or has television advertising’s marquee event - the Super Bowl commercial break - lost its edge? Perhaps I’m just not interested in seeing the Patriots play for their eleventeenth championship, or any game that doesn’t involve the Broncos or my fantasy team. But, at least I could cheer for the ads, right? Apathetically speaking, no.
I remember a relative, friend, or perhaps myself once saying, “I only watch for the commercials.” And people continue to say this, I’m sure, but it’s most likely your aunt or your co-worker and no one under the age of 25. Since the commercials are now available to view on-demand before, during, and after the game, the requirement to be present and attentive no longer exists. No need to plan your bathroom break or snack run. If you happen to be stuffing your face in the kitchen while a chuckle washes over the living room, there’s no need drop the nachos and run. Calmly return to your seat and hit rewind. Or, pull out your phone and search. Or, better yet, move on with your life. If it was good, it’s sure to be trending on social media in the days to come.
Yes, the on-demand nature of media has corrupted the sanctity of the Super Bowl commercial.
Today’s culture is bombarded with jokes, spills, mishaps, sex, beauty, luxury; stories of courage, compassion and hilarity constantly. Some of it is organic content and some produced, but it’s ever-present. It is no longer up to a brand and their Madison Ave advertising agency to tickle our funny bone or induce a tear once a year. We simply scroll when we need our fix of whatever emotion we’re lacking at that time.
The role of online information and entertainment has - in many ways - had the same effect on Black Friday as the Super Bowl commercial. Marquee shopping events are now available on-demand. You can find them with a search anytime, anywhere.
Are we looking at two consumer holidays that fade away with Millennials being the last generation to remember when either were relevant? These consumer holidays were once celebrated, frenzy-inducing spectacles, that in some ways overshadowed the larger event they fed into. Now looked upon with fondness only by those who remember them at their height? Or will “on-demand everything” beget indifference at some point - to allow flashy new deals and new content, reserved for these special occasions, to ultimately pique our interest and participation once again?