Don’t have $4M to spend on a Super Bowl ad? No worries.

I Root For The Ads

An estimated 110 million fans watch the Super Bowl (my guess is many of them for the ads, too).

Every 30-second ad spot costs about $4 million, which is about 4 cents per impression. Simultaneously some of the most expensive and least expensive advertising you can get. A lot of fuss is made over the ads, analysts going so far as to declare winners and losers.

Even so – it’s still beyond the reach of most small business owners unless you have a one-in-a-million sponsor like Intuit for GoldieBlox or the ad budget of a Fortune 500, you’re probably playing in the wrong league. But, that doesn’t mean all is lost!

You can create your own marketing win on game day.

Back in 2012, WTF Marketing was working with The Fort Collins Brewery and I realized that none of the microbreweries in town had made a Super Bowl commercial. The basic premise: if you’re a microbrewery, and you know your customers are going to be stocking up for a big game, wouldn’t you want to get in their brains ahead of time so they bought your microbrew?

So I made two super-quick football-themed videos about a week before the 2012 game. I wanted something organic, that felt like something you’d see on game day. A TV was a must, a countertop maybe, and a lineup of brews. I don’t do anything without humor in it, either – so they had to be a little bit funny.

Check them out below (if you’re reading this in the newsletter and you can’t see the videos, click here). They’re really simple, recorded entirely on an iPhone 3GS and edited in iMovie, but they generated a lot of comments and traction on Facebook for the brewery:

Creating a quirky, creative, “sticky” video that is enjoyed and shared by your core customers isn’t difficult. It is time consuming (and you don’t need a Mac, Windows has a great movie maker installed by default). Video can be quick or informative or impactful or funny or touching, no matter the length – consider our recent Vine contribution for the Poudre River Public Library‘s 6-second book review campaign:

Vine videos are only 6 seconds long (that’s how the platform works) – and they can be embedded, shared, whatever… it’s inherently social (and connects directly into Twitter).

Consider this “feet on the street” video campaign for Ignite Fort Collins WTF Marketing created in 2009 with a Flip and iMovie:

Or this one for the now-defunct Logically Local, created using a laptop with a webcam and a Flip camera to grab a second angle, and iMovie to stitch everything together:

What do you think?

Here was our thought process: we wanted to be crystal clear on the goal of each video.

Each video has a different audience who the message is specialized for, a different goal (Fort Collins Brewery: point-of-purchase top of mindedness for microbrewery fans. Library: community connection with book lovers, word of mouth. Ignite Fort Collins: awareness among the Fort Collins community, word of mouth. Logically Local: awareness among college students, advocacy), and each is pretty darn simple. WTF Marketing is *not* a video production company, obviously – even so, these videos served their purpose and got attention.

In fact, you don’t even need a video. Consider this bet between WTF Marketing and one of our Washington-based clients, Greenpoint Landscaping we posted to Facebook:

Greenpoint WTF Bet

The winner gets a Starbucks gift card and a photo of the other company’s staff in the other team’s gear.

Did any of these efforts snag 110 million views? Hell no. But remember that they didn’t have to: the realistic scope of people we needed to pay attention was actually much smaller (50-100). If even one person converted to FCB beer from some other microbrewery on game day, we’d done our job. If even one college student became a Logically Local member… if even one more person bought a ticket for Ignite or showed their Ignite-virgin friends the video and THEY bought a ticket… if someone borrows Year Zero from the Library or thinks, “Oh, Nick Armstrong reads that/Nick Armstrong uses the Library – I should too” – we win.

Easily attainable, easily planned, easily shared, easy to create and worth creating – and often a lot more affordable than you might think (certainly less than $4M). How cool is that? Go team!

What’s your “game day” commercial? What would your goal be, and how would you create it? Let me know in the comments!