• Dan

How Donald Trump's Super Bowl blunder undermined his million dollar TV ad buy


Brand marketing is a full-spectrum conversation these days, and that became abundantly clear to me during the Super Bowl – more accurately, after it was over. 

That message slapped me in the face thanks to our 45th President: Your campaign better be integrated and dialed in, across all channels.

Let me say this first, no matter how you feel about Donald Trump, hear me out. What happened was a very public case study in how one misstep can torpedo an otherwise effective messaging campaign, starting with an ad buy. 


There's a lot of money on the line in an advertising campaign

No matter how you scale it, when you’re talking about dolling out money for advertising, there can be a lot at stake. In this case, we’re talking big bucks – a 30-second Super Bowl spot cost around $5.6 million. 

So there it was, a bold ad for Trump’s re-election campaign emblazoned across my TV just after the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers for the Super Bowl title. Again, however you feel about Trump isn’t the point; the ad was arguably an effective one, promoting a positive message right on the heels of what just about everyone knew would be his impeachment acquittal. 

Nice moment for the guy and his re-election efforts, right?

Well, his handlers apparently forgot about the social component. And suddenly, the conversation shifted, big time. 



He corrected course quickly, and pretended that gaffe didn’t happen. But the damage had been done.

What was trending on social media wasn’t the president’s ad touting his economic record, citing indicators such as job growth and unemployment rates, or his even more expensive ad during the game centered on criminal justice reform. 

It was instead #KansasCityKansas in the minutes after the game when people went to their devices en masse for postgame reaction, and soon thereafter it was #TrumpIsAnIdiot, according to Newsweek


Millions of people turned to social media after the Super Bowl

Sure, the eyes reached in a Super Bowl broadcast ad is exponentially more than those who saw his Twitter gaffe. But here’s a number that is only going to increase year after year: Last year, Nielsen reported 32.3 million social media interactions during the Super Bowl (this year’s numbers have yet to be released). 

And make no mistake, social media users will find your brand on social media. Sherpa Marketing found that more people follow brands on social media than follow celebrities. On Instagram alone 80 percent of people follow at least one business, and 200 million users visit at least one business daily. 

Here’s the lesson: A well-conceived advertising campaign can be easily undermined by overlooking the other aspects of the conversation. The digitally empowered customer can easily talk back, meaning a campaign can be a failure by not realizing that and planning for it. 

While the scope of your company's campaign may not be quite at the level of a TV ad during the Super Bowl, it matters that all facets are in line with the messaging – and that there’s a strict no-gaffe policy, at the very least. 

Have you thought about how to integrate your company's campaign to make the most of an effective conversation with your customers? Let us know in the comments, or drop us a line to talk it over.

©2019 by Cliff Jump Media.