Super Bowl 2018: Ben Grossman, Jack Morton Worldwide

"45% of NFL fans and 46% of Super Bowl viewers are women."

 

Ben Grossman
SVP, Group Strategy Director Jack Morton Worldwide
In a few words, can you tell us who you are and what your job title is?
My name is Ben Grossman. I lead the strategy practice for Jack Morton Worldwide in New York, Boston and Princeton. I’m also a purple pen devotee, winning game show contestant and perpetual people watcher.
The current price for a 30 second slot is over $5 million. In your opinion is the spend worth it?
Only if done right. The marketers that win are the ones that realize it’s not just an opportunity for their brand to say something, but also for their brand to do something that everyone will talk about.

Brands pay a premium for an opportunity that’s not just a paid media opportunity, but also an earned, owned and shared opportunity. For $5 million, they are wise to maximize every aspect of that potential.
Is there a demographic you believe Super Bowl advertisers have failed to target or a business sector that is underrepresented?
Absolutely. We’re in the midst of a cultural shift that’s long overdue. It has many forms – #MeToo, Time’s Up and the Women’s March, to name a few. These issues are multifaceted, but come down to having a fundamental level of respect for one another and treating people – especially women and minorities – as equals.

45% of NFL fans and 46% of Super Bowl viewers are women. We saw breakthrough results for our client, CoverGirl, and its “Girls Can” initiative when we created the first-ever all-female football pre-game show. “Girls Can” is an ongoing initiative that aims to inspire women and young girls to succeed in areas where they are under-represented, including sports. This was an authentic way for a brand take a stand on the fact that, in the 97-year history of American football, there has only been one woman who has called the plays for a regular season game.
Who do you think is the ‘brand to watch’ at this year’s Super Bowl?
Amazon Alexa has captured my attention and a lot of headlines. I loved that they let the media discover for themselves that Alexa – despite the odds – is rooting for the Eagles, unlike her AI voice assistant counterparts, who are hedging.

If Amazon keeps that level of differentiation, conversation and personality going pre, during and post game, I think we could have a winner on our hands. I also love that the company is playing with the fact that Alexa, a media vehicle in and of herself, already represents a big shared media opportunity across her current install base.
Do you think advertisers can benefit from taking a political/social stance in the Super Bowl?
Use extreme caution here. Last year, we saw an appropriate level of backlash against brands that opportunistically latched onto a political or social issue du jour without any meaningful track record or commitment to the cause. So while attachment to political or social causes can be potent, the brand must take actions to accompany what they’re saying.

Brands need to ask questions: How is the cause core to the brand’s purpose in the world? How are employees engaged? Is the brand enlisting its customers to help? Is the brand doing things in the real world (not just donating) to make a difference? Is the attachment believable to savvy influencer and press critics? If the brand struggles to answer any of those questions, it might be wise to stay away.
Are there any fumbled opportunities that come to mind when you think of past Super Bowl advertising?
Purely storytelling Super Bowl spots strike me as significantly under-leveraged in the modern communications landscape we now live in. I’m cheering for brands that use Experience Strategy to ensure that their Super Bowl moment is not just a spot, but an extraordinary experience.
Eagles or Patriots?
Neither – I DVR it all and tune in for commercial breaks and the half time show. I know my Boston colleagues would be very pleased with a Patriots victory. But I know my Alexa would be very pleased with the Eagles. It’s a toss-up. Can’t we all just be happy?
What is your favorite Super Bowl ad of all time?
I loved what Esurance did in 2016 with the "Pass It On Sweepstakes.” It wasn’t the most artful creative (that would be a much harder choice), but as a strategy geek, I loved the harmony of the brand promise and its proof.

It was an example of a brand doing something (saving on its media buy to give the money back to consumers) that matched what it promises to be (a modern way to do insurance that delivers savings). Great concept, well executed, excellent results. I’d love to see more brands harmonize their brand promise with clear brand proof in their Super Bowl strategies.
 

 

Ben Grossman
SVP, Group Strategy Director Jack Morton Worldwide