Monday, January 26, 2009

Humor in Super Sunday Commercials

Just seven days until Super Sunday. For advertisers in the United States, it is the last of the largest reach audiences.

There are many news stories about the cost (said to be $3 million for 30 seconds this year) as well as the advertisers who are in or out. Last Friday, the online New York Times used an interactive timeline beginning in 1984 to show the advertisers and types of commercials each year.

I made a graph out of the percentage of spots the NYT said employed humor in each of the years. It shows growth in the "theory of liking" as an approach to creating advertising. Everyone wants to be liked, and effective humor can deliver attention, liking and memorability.

GE is preparing a Super Sunday commercial this year. It features a "spokes-scarecrow" for GE's eco-imagination campaign. I'd watch for this one as an effective use of humor.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Really interesting to see where the peaks and valleys are on this chart and theorize about why they're there. For instance, the recent sharp rise in humor seems to correspond neatly with Bush's presidency. Were we looking for laughs so we wouldn't cry? :)

  2. Well...I'd guess it had more to do with humor as a means to improve the odds of a return on investment, given the cost of the spots.