Every revolution starts with a single shot. In everything we see in life, some event or breakthrough opened the gate. Most people will be glued to their TV sets this weekend watching the Super Bowl. Did you ever wonder how it got ‘super?’ After all, there are championships in every sport, but only one Super Bowl. How did it really happen?
Some people would tell you that Lombardi, Star and the Green Bay Packers made it ‘super’ in 1967. Others would say that Namath and the Jets made it ‘super’ with their upset in 1969. Still others would say it was Swann’s catches in the 80’s or Montana’s air strikes of the 90’s. For me, it was one very clear moment in 1984…
1984 had little to do with the Redskins or the Raiders, or anything else about the game itself. But to me, it was the singular moment that the Super Bowl truly became ‘super’ to both sports fans and non-fans. It was the moment that Super Bowl commercials became larger than the game itself. And the spot that started the revolutionary shot? Chiat/Day’s ‘1984.’
For almost 20 years, commercial time during the Super Bowl was taken up with unmemorable spots. And that was no big deal – it was all about the game. Then, all of a sudden, Apple comes along and runs this INCREDIBLE ad. Whether you liked it or not, the ad definitely got your attention. In addition to running during the game, the 30-second spot was rebroadcast afterwards on other networks and programs. The result? It suddenly became a big deal to see who would run the biggest and best Super Bowl ad.
Super Bowl advertising is a HUGE deal. The ads often generate more buzz than the game itself. We talk about what companies are supposed to be running ads beforehand. We turn up the volume to make sure we don’t miss anything and rewind our favorite spots to see them again during the game. And we debate which ads were the best for weeks afterwards.
The Super Bowl is usually the most watched American television broadcast. The average cost of a 30-second commercial this year is estimated to be more than $3 million, and that’s just for the airtime!
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Apple was the company that started this trend. Risk-taking and innovation have always been at the core of the Apple brand. Think about Apple’s products: iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and now, iPad. Each of these products was ground breaking in its own time. They all changed the world of technology and revolutionized the world as we knew it.
If it weren’t for Apple, we would probably still get off of the sofa during commercial breaks to get another beer or go to the bathroom. Instead, we hover around our TV sets to see who is going to run the funniest, the craziest, or the most scandalous commercials. If Apple hadn’t taken the lead in creating such a large ad venue for the Super Bowl, the airtime wouldn’t generate the revenue it does today. And the networks wouldn’t promote it the way they do. So yeah, Apple really did make the Super Bowl ‘super’.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series…
YouTube – Apple’s Macintosh Commercial