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When it comes to Super Bowl ads, 'there is no better way to introduce a product', says Mediaocean CMO

Mediaocean CMO Aaron Goldman joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss Super Bowl ad trends, including which ad was most effective, and the outlook for the advertising industry.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Well, there were definitely some themes for the ads that we saw during the Super Bowl last night, including crypto being a running trend, as well as electric vehicles, a lot of talk about those. And then there's the idea that rates were up to pay for the ads, even though ratings have been down for the Super Bowl.

Let's talk about all of these trends with Aaron Goldman. He is the chief marketing officer over at Mediaocean. Aaron, thanks for being here. So what sort of stood out for you? And let's start on that last point that the price for the ads is up, even though ratings is down. What do you make of that and what it tells us about the current state of the advertising industry?

AARON GOLDMAN: Yeah, well, at Mediaocean, over $200 billion in advertising are managed through our software on an annualized basis. And that's everything from television to TikTok. But the Super Bowl really stands alone in terms of audience reach and engagement. And that's why costs continue to go up each year, about 10% looking at $5 to $6 million for just one 30-second spot.

And as you mentioned, it's not like ratings are going up at the same pace. We don't have the numbers yet for yesterday's game, but last year was down about 10% in viewership over the prior year. So I think what you have is ultimately an element of scarcity. There's really nowhere else you can get 100 million people all watching the same thing at the same time. And they're tuned in for the ads as much as they are for the game. So for brands, it's really no better way to introduce a product or reintroduce yourself to the world and show what you stand for.

BRIAN SOZZI: Why was Peyton Manning almost in every single commercial?

AARON GOLDMAN: Yeah, you'll see it-- you know, whether it was athletes or celebrities, there's definitely an element of trying to bring some familiarity and ultimately some levity. Peyton has kind of built a nice brand for himself with his brother, Eli Manning, doing some of the Monday Night Football broadcasting. And across the board, you know, we talked about the cost for the ads. That's just to place them on air. What about the cost for the talent? And when you take into account bringing in all the different folks that we saw yesterday, it really does add up. But again, it can be worth it.

And I think for a lot of folks who are kind of-- we're in year two of the pandemic here, looking for a little bit of an escape, and so you saw a lot of nods sort of to the future, electric cars, crypto, the Metaverse, that futuristic Flavortown with Guy Fieri for Bud Light Seltzer.

But you also add some throwbacks, right? There was the Sopranos theme song reboot for Chevy, the cast of Austin Powers showing up for GM, and of course, the halftime show was taking it back to the old school with Dr. Dre and Snoop. And so it's really about capturing people's imaginations and transporting you to a different time and place.

JULIE HYMAN: You know, whenever we watch the Super Bowl ads, to me, one of the perennial questions is, what is the return on investment? And so I'm curious what's your view on that question is.

AARON GOLDMAN: Yeah, it's a great question and an important one. I think if you think about it in isolation, you know, if you've just bought 30 seconds and you're trying to understand, OK, what happened? What did I get in return for my dollars? There's only so much that you can actually tell.

You can do things like what Coinbase did with their QR code that was sort of bouncing around the screen like a screensaver. And if you snap the QR code, it would take you to the app. That did so well that it actually crashed the app. So that's an example of being able to bring an element of direct response and so you can move people immediately to action.

But most of the ads are more focused on just general branding and awareness. And in a time like now, where everything is so seemingly polarized, a lot of the brands are trying to do what we call virtue signaling, which is showing what they stand for.

And whether it's corporate social responsibility or the environment, we saw a lot of ads focused on, as mentioned, electric vehicles. You had Matthew McConaughey saving the Earth, I guess, for Salesforce. And so, you know, snack brands, beer brands, they're ultimately kind of telling you what they stand for and then hoping that you'll ultimately feel it in the gut, I suppose-- no pun intended there.

BRIAN SOZZI: Is there something particularly just special about the 1980s that so many big companies are trying to tap into that? I saw the return of Grimace. I mean, I haven't seen Grimace in over a decade over at McDonald's. He's been put-- buried 10 feet under. But when I think back to the '80s, I think about inflation, higher interest rates, and the Cold War.

AARON GOLDMAN: Yeah, but you also don't think about a global pandemic that's kept you at home for the last couple of years. And so again, that escapism, whether it's past or future, tends to play well, and especially as you think about the shelf life for these ads, you know, again, it's not just the 30 seconds during the game itself. The ads run before. They'll run for a long time after.

For a lot of these brands, this is just kicking off of a campaign that will run throughout the entire year. And so with that continued repetition, you'll continue to be able to see more of that engagement, but then also back to the point about getting your money's worth as an advertiser, you'll see that kind of compound over time.

JULIE HYMAN: And so, Aaron, two final questions, and it's a two-pronged question, I guess. What was your favorite ad? And what ad do you think was most effective, which, I guess, are not necessarily the same thing.

AARON GOLDMAN: Yeah, well, actually, in this case, I think it was both, and it's that Coinbase as. There's just something about, as you're going through and watching the commercials and seeing all the great comedy and talent, and then to have this sort of throwback, where it's just the QR code, some music bouncing around the screen, it really stops and makes you take notice.

And then in terms of being effective, as mentioned, it crashed the app. There were so many people that snapped the picture and then went to it. And so I think that's something that a lot of people are going to remember for a long time. And then ultimately, the offer was $15 in Bitcoin, and that's nothing to sneeze at.

JULIE HYMAN: Who knows what that $15 could be worth 10 years from now? You never can tell. Aaron, thanks so much for being here. Appreciate it.