Monday, February 03, 2014

Space Adventures During the Super Bowl

          by Sarah Ansari-Manea

Tim Tebow "In Spaaace!" Photo c/o T-Mobile.
According to the February 6th, 2012 Forbes article "The power of Super Bowl advertising," marketing data shows that "Super Bowl commercials are worth the money" and the only real question is “why don’t consumers watch commercials throughout the rest of the year?” 

The answer to that question is probably because viewers don’t believe other programs are as worthy of their time. They understand that Superbowl air time is “special.

So what do space and football have in common? Usually nothing, but this year’s Super Bowl advertisements featured themes not common to the football industry.

Take for example, T-Mobile and GoPro, two companies using the growing cachet of space to sell their products through expensive Super Bowl ads.

T-Mobile used this “special” airtime to run a clip of American quarterback and current free agent, Tim Tebow doing a series of extreme acts to illustrate how "contracts are limiting." In these 30 seconds, he does everything from delivering a baby to finding Bigfoot and putting on a rock show. But the most spectacular feat, and the climax of the commercial, was Tebow throwing a football on the moon.

It’s understandable why T-Mobile would want to incorporate space, the final frontier, into an ad full of exciting situations not common to the average person. It shows a sense of desire and open-mindedness, allowing people to live out all their seemingly unattainable dreams through the ad.

GoPro has a similar approach, where they give off a “dream-big” vibe in their advertisement. They feature Felix Baumgartner’s epic space jump, from an altitude of 128,100 feet.2 Not only was this a spectacular stunt, but the imagery of the ad, showing the curvature of the earth, as well as the blackness of space against the atmosphere is enough to get anyone inspired. With so many extreme stunts to pick from, GoPro went with the space jump, knowing that it will get the most viewers, when they needed it to be something spectacular.

As outlined in the February 1st, 2014 article "Super Bowl XLVIII In Space: Who Are NASA Astronauts Rick Mastracchio And Mike Hopkins Rooting For," even the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) played a part in Super Bowl activities by cheering on their favorite teams, doing interviews, and discussing what it’s like to not be on the planet during the game.

Sarah Ansari-Manea.
Super Bowl advertisements are incredibly pricey and important to companies looking to get a 30 second spotlight, and it’s great to see that two well-known companies have been using the beautiful and inspiring aspects of space to get attention and sell their products.

Sarah Ansari-Manea is an aspiring astrophysicist, currently completing a specialist in physics and astronomy at the University of Toronto.

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