Super Bowl Marketers Get in Touch with Feminine Side

Discussion
Jan 25, 2008

By George Anderson

The Super Bowl has always been thought of as a guy’s thing. Perhaps that is why, despite 45 percent of the audience being women, almost all the ads run on the big game broadcast have been targeted to men.

This year, however, the game’s advertising is taking on a slightly different tone with a number of advertisers running ads specifically created for the 41.85 million (give or take) women expected to watch the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants. Victoria’s Secret, Procter & Gamble and Unilever are all running brand spots with the hope of seeing a quick lift in sales.

A couple of factors are given to explain why marketers are running Super Bowl spots for women during this year’s game.

Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall University Sports Poll, told MediaPost’s MediaDailyNews, “The Super Bowl is the most-watched show, and almost always the most-watched show by women and with the writers’ strike, there is nothing else out there. Nobody’s even sure if the Academy Awards are going to happen.”

The popularity of the Super Bowl is unquestioned. Last year’s game won by the Indianapolis Colts was the highest rated television show of 2007, according to Nielsen. This year’s contest, involving teams from two of the nation’s largest consumer markets (New York and Boston) is expected to attract a record number of viewers.

According to a study by the Marketing to Moms Coalition, 80 percent of mothers plan to watch the Super Bowl and 60 percent are doing it just for the commercials. As might be expected, more than three out of every four don’t think commercials on the broadcast are created with moms in mind as the target audience.

“The Super Bowl is an all-American affair, and moms around the country not only organize their families’ home-viewing parties, but are the segment of the market that actually purchase most of the products advertised during the game,” Teri Lucie Thompson, a board member at Marketing to Moms Coalition, said in a press release.

Discussion Questions: Has the Super Bowl in the past been a missed marketing opportunity for brands seeking to connect with female consumers? What do advertisers need to keep in mind if they want to connect with women during and after the Super Bowl broadcast?

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10 Comments on "Super Bowl Marketers Get in Touch with Feminine Side"


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David Livingston
Guest
14 years 4 months ago

No I don’t think its a missed opportunity. That would be like asking if Coors and Bud are missing out by not advertising on afternoon soap operas because there is some percentage of men who watch the shows. These are businesses out to play the percentages and make money.

David Biernbaum
Guest
14 years 4 months ago

It’s erroneous that the Super Bowl is a male dominated spectacle event. It’s also a fallacy to think that the Super Bowl is for the hard core NFL fan. Quite to the contrary, there are millions of people tuned in to the Super Bowl that might not be paying any real attention to any other NFL game all season long. Plus, with the attention given to the super bowl commercials it makes perfect sense to target a wide reaching audience including women, and in particular, the targeted demographics that are most likely to be watching.

Ben Ball
Guest
14 years 4 months ago

Once again, we professionally “miss the point.”

The women watching the Super Bowl commercials are watching to see what their guys are watching.

Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 4 months ago

Andrea Learned is right: the best ads connect with everyone. By the way, a lot of the fellas ignore testosterone stereotype ads, too. Most ads, Super Bowl or not, aren’t very effective. And if your TV had the technology, would you prefer seeing ads targeted to you, personally? That’s what most web site advertisers do. Isn’t that why internet advertising is growing while TV advertising is declining? Sooner or later, the Super Bowl will be online, and you’ll see only the ads meant for you.

Steve Anderson
Guest
Steve Anderson
14 years 4 months ago

And where are the discussions about having ads targeted to men during the Academy Awards? Anyone? Don’t they watch too?

The fact remains that the vast majority of prime-time TV is targeting to women, as is much of the advertising. The Super Bowl is guys’ night out!

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
14 years 4 months ago

Give me a home where the buffalo roam and encourage my woman to go roaming with me. And give us guys regular hard-as-nails pro football games on TV and invite our spouses/partners to watch with us. If you want to sell her something besides beer, have at it.

Andrea Learned
Guest
Andrea Learned
14 years 4 months ago
The point isn’t that now, in order to reach women, the Super Bowl should invite lots of cosmetics and menopausal supplement ads. It would be ridiculous for the ad mix to morph from beer, chips and cars to all sorts of “for women” ads. The idea is that the viewers/fans on Super Bowl day are going to be both men and women, who happen to bond together as a whole around this big game. A lot of brands that have both male and female customers (which would be most brands) have an opportunity to create ads that don’t stereotype either men or women–but reach that avid Super Bowl fan to most effect. The Dove commercial for the girls self-esteem fund a few years back is one example: the emotion and story were relatable to anyone who has been a little girl or who has had a daughter or sister, etc. A beer ad without a sexist angle might be tough to create, but it IS possible–and with humor that the passionate sports fan, whether male… Read more »
Li McClelland
Guest
Li McClelland
14 years 4 months ago

A dud ad is a dud no matter what it is for, or who it is targeting. A great ad is a great ad, no matter what it is for, or who it is aimed at. The 40% or so of the Super Bowl viewing audience who are women have been enjoying the spectacle along with their menfolk for years. Any attempt to bring on more good ads is always fine by me.

My favorite Super Bowl ad of all time?: “Separated at Birth,” where an old lady has two Dalmatian puppies she is finding new homes for. One grows up at a fire station where it rides on a fire truck, and the other one grows up to ride the beer wagon with the Clydesdale horses. Second favorite ad: “Herding Cats,” (so famous it needs no description here). Both ads were manly, yet tender–and very funny. Gee, were those men’s ads or women’s ads?

Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
14 years 4 months ago

A large number of women like football, follow the pro teams, and are watching the Super Bowl for the game as much as many of the men. Some of the men watching the game are also watching for the commercials. Somehow the group of women who enjoy football has not been identified or well understood by marketers–that is somebody’s loss.

Brian Kelly
Guest
14 years 4 months ago

Content, Context, Contact.

Just because there are women watching doesn’t mean any message targeting her will resonate in the Super Bowl space. It is about engagement not impressions.

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