The Prominence of Television Ads in Social Media

By Patrick Coady and Linda Suh

Millions of people every year tune into Superbowl Sunday to cheer on their favorite teams. But football is not the only thing people tune in for. The infamous commercials have also left an impression on the Superbowl Sunday viewers making another thing to watch other than the actual game. But what are advertisements exactly? What is the purpose for these advertisements?
Advertising is any form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, and services usually paid for by an identified sponsor (Dominick, 2011, p. 341). Sponsors use advertising to make product and brands more known so they can gain more publicity. But advertising also helps our society in many ways. Not only does it encourage competition between small businesses, it encourages productivity and advertisements could also mimic how we should all live our lives.
While watching the Superbowl, Patrick and I both came across two commercials that captured the theme of how advertisers think we should live our lives. In the textbook “The Dynamics of Mass Communication: Media in Translation,” the article “Advertising: Good or Bad?” focuses on what the true intentions of advertisers may be. Many times advertisers make up needs for consumers to want so their lives can be more ideal. But these needs are merely just wants, through advertising the item is made much more desirable.
When advertisers make items more ideal, it warps the audience to believe that if they purchase the product being showcased, it will enhance who they are. Most advertisements promote a better lifestyle, social status, health, and other positive influences. “Advertising caters to a wide variety of needs, not just basic ones. There is nothing wrong with buying a new car every year if it helps a person’s self-esteem (Dominick, 2011, p. 345). “ But are these advertisements for our personal benefit or for companies to get more money?

In the commercial for Doritos, the main character was left alone to watch a friend’s apartment for the weekend. While watching the apartment he neglected the items the friend specifically asked him to upkeep. Noticing the time that passed, he realized that he killed his pet fish, plant, and destroyed his grandfather’s urn leaving his ashes scattered on the ground. With a quick thought and glance at the Doritos bag, he realized that Doritos might fix everything he did wrong. Soon he sprinkled the Doritos on everything he damaged and managed to restore everything to its original state. Even bringing his friend’s grandfather back to life. “Advertising creates needs and makes people buy things they do not really need or want (Dominick, 2011, p. 345).” Though most people know that Doritos will not bring back your dead fish and grandfather, the overall idea is Doritos are not just a delicious snack but something so great that can even change your mistakes. With this message it shows that other chips are inferior to Doritos and should not even be considered because of the powers that Doritos possesses.
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Since technology is advancing and benefiting everything like the media, companies are looking to the Internet and viral marketing to advertise. This is also great for any viewers that were unable to catch the many commercials when they premiered on the Superbowl. Viral marketing is the one of the most popular methods to advertise at the moment. Usually messages are made into comical, compelling, interesting, or suggestive ads that could be passed onto others. A key factor in viral marketing is the consumers and their own abilities to send these ads within their network of friends. “If the technique is successful, word spreads rapidly to a large amount of people, much like a virus (Dominick, 2011, p. 345).” The better the commercial is the more likely it will be to reach more people.
With advertisements becoming more viral, this gives advertisers more control on where to send their advertisements. Years ago when a company would update a product and attempt to sell it, they would need to advertise on everything they could in hopes that the previous consumers would buy the item again. This usually meant thousands of viewers would find the specific company’s commercial irrelevant, but the very few who are interested would get the information being conveyed (Dominick, 2011, p. 348). With updated technology now, many companies are able to pinpoint and direct their ads to people who it may have relevance to. By putting certain ads on websites that pertain to the product being sold it is more convenient for the advertisers and consumers. Many use that method which is called “decoupling.” Decoupling is a way advertisers can directly market their target audience and know who they are sending their message to. With success from their marketing, this allows them to either increase advertising on certain WebPages and how they promote (Dominick, 2011, p. 349).
This is also the case for many commercials that are virally spread. Companies can put a commercial on the web and see how many times it was viewed, and monitor the comments. This allows them to either continue with the marketing plan or improve it with the help of decoupling.

Snickers has recently came out with commercials that have the same premise. The subject of the commercial is “out of character” usually acting out. Soon it becomes so evident that they are acting strange, a friend convinces them to eat a Snickers because it brings them back to who they truly are. When the Snickers is eaten, this brings the subject back to their true self. Usually the “out of character” personality is acted by a famous actor, and when eaten with a snickers, they turn into a regular person. With the success of the first commercial, Snickers saw that this commercial became popular and started producing more. Eventually spreading virally, being sent to people all across the globe. Without decoupling, The Mars company who produces Snickers would have not reached this much success because of this commercial (Dominick, 2011, p. 348).
The teams of advertisers responsible for the success or failure of such commercials as the two mentioned above, must evaluate their media in different fashions. By using television ads to convey the messages and products they are trying to sell, the makers of both the Doritos ans Snickers commercials, respectively have opened the door to having those same commercials spread throughout the internet community. The New York Times article, Super Bowl Ads Assesed states, “There are now more folks than ever who keep track of the responses to Super Bowl commercials, largely because of all the data that are available from interaction in social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.” (Elliott, 2011) This must be so, largely, because these advertisers are now employing great strategy when it comes to the ‘reach,’ ‘frequency,’ ‘selectivity,’ and ‘efficiency,’ of the ads they have produced (Dominick, 2011, p. 352)
The internet has become a highly-sepcialized tool for advertisers especially, because of the pure number of people who frequent it constantly, around the world. “A new feature on Facebook, Facebook Replay 2011, is giving Facebook members a chance to vote on which commercials they “like” at the social media Web site’s sports section.” (Elliott, 2011) In terms of ‘reach,’ as many people who seek this message who have a valid internet connection can gain access to these ads. The ‘frequency’ of the ads are as often as someone goes on to the commercials’ youtube page and presses the play button – instant commercials – usually someone who may be interested in the product in the first place, fulfilling the ‘selectivity’ aspect of the media. And last but not least is the ‘efficiency’ of these media turned social-media messages, which I would venture to say are the most economically efficient ads out there.
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Those working on the actual campaigns of the Doritos and Snickers ads utilized their resources very well, finishing second and fifth, respectively, in accordance to the New York Times Article. (Elliott, 2011) After all of the work that was put into these extensive campaigns, such as positioning Doritos to a lazy house-sitter, or Snickers to an un-manly lumberjack; providing the comprehensive layouts that layed the base for the commercials’ production, creating the timeline and storyboard of the advertisement, and finally cutting out unnessecary shots or dialogue and cropping it into a thirty-second television/internet commercial, you had better believe that these multimillion dollar commercials will see profits from all their hard work, with the sales of Doritos and Snickers in the few weeks or months after the superbowl at their respective peaks.
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