Well, it’s that time of year again: agencies and clients are buying time on the Super Bowl XLV. Two thoughts on this.

First off, um, Super-Bowl Owner Guys? Can we lose the Roman numerals? This has to be at least the XLV-th time I’ve told you guys how confusing those numerals are.

And the other thing is this.

I think it’s interesting the way agencies and clients go on record talkin’ about how hard they’re working on their Super Bowl spots. It’s usually a statement somethin’ like “With an audience this large, we’ve got to put on the best show we can.”

I’m glad everyone tries so hard on Super Sunday. (Though some try maybe too hard?) Overall, I enjoy the Super Bowl spots because everybody seems to be puttin’ on their Sunday best. My question here is why should a spot on the Super Bowl be any different than what we’d air on a Sienfeld re-run? Why do Super Bowl commercials seem so much more important than the ones that air during the rest of the year?

Agreed, only a fraction as many viewers are watchin’ Jerry and Elaine, but isn’t their money just as good as the money from folks watching the big game? For the sake of argument let’s say it’s just 100,000 people watchin’ Sienfeld. Let’s make it ten thousand. Why would we decide to do anything less for these Sienfeld viewers because there are fewer of them?

It’s sorta like this.

I’m giving a speech next month in San Francisco. It’s not gonna be a very big crowd at all — maybe 200 — so you know what? Instead of trying to make my speech interesting and memorable, I’m gonna throw out everything I know about oratory, about passion, and about connecting with an audience. I’m gonna save all that “interesting crap” for a bigger audience. For the 200 schmucks who show up at my measly little speech? I’m just gonna jam it all into a Powerpoint.

Dude, there’s just gonna be 200 people, okay? Why do any of the “interesting” crap I had planned? Why open with something that grabs their attention when I can get right to the point? Why establish any connection with them?

My speech was gonna be about how important it is to have one simple clean message. But now that I see it’s for a smaller audience, I can cram in everything I want — stuff about making the message relevant, stuff about the importance of production values, pretty much anything I want will fit in now.

In fact, from now on all my speeches for crowds under 2,000 aren’t gonna be memorable or interesting. They’ll be what I’ll call “hard working” speeches; “second-tier speeches.” To anyone who says they suck, I’ll say “My regional speeches have different objectives.”  People may not go away thinking I’m much of a speaker. They may not want to hear from me again, but goddammit, they’ll have heard all the facts I can cram in the allotted time.

On the other hand, say I get a gig speaking at the big Retail Advertising and Marketing Association? With two or three thousand? Damn, I’ll put on a really good show for those guys. No, seriously I will, because there’ll be more of them.

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Maybe I’ve made my point here, maybe not. Just seems to me that a TV spot is a TV spot. TV, radio, any media buy is a public appearance for which we ought to put on our Sunday best, no matter how large our congregation is.