An interview with Steve Hall: The man behind SpotBowl’s new media partner, Adrants

pic2In the 10 years that Pavone has been doing SpotBowl, we’ve worked pretty much independently to bring the site to life each year. That is, until now. In case you haven’t noticed from revamped SpotBowl logo on the header above, SpotBowl XI is presented by Adrants.

Since we’re a website about Super Bowl advertising, Adrants is one of the best media partners we could hope for. That’s because it’s one of the best marketing and advertising blogs on the Internet. At the helm of Adrants is Steve Hall, a man who’s done time in media, account management and agency new business development, and has worked with clients including Reebok,, Tyco and Marshmallow Fluff. (How awesome is Marshmallow Fluff?)

Steve recently took a break from writing some of the web’s snarkiest advertising commentary to sit down with us for an up-close-and-personal interview about — you guessed it — Super Bowl ads.

1. At $4 million for a 30-second ad, is it worth it?

Any sane person would say it’s not worth it. However, year after year, Super Bowl after Super Bowl, marketers continue to pay. While one could say they’re all just a bunch of idiotic lemmings marching off a cliff, one also has to assume there are some smarts involved in making that $4 million decision. And, over the years, if you look at some research, some spots do pay off just like any other spot running any other time of the year. Like anything in advertising, it’s a gamble.

2. What the secret to a good Super Bowl ad?

The proverbial hat trick includes small animals, women in bikinis and stupid human tricks. But there really is no formula. Just like in non-Super Bowl advertising, the end goal is to connect with your audience in a way that compels them to buy your product. But just because everyone loves this spot or that spot from year to year, it’s not a forgone conclusion that those much-loved spots will actually sell anything.


3. GoDaddy claims to be “cleaning up their act” with their Super Bowl ads, which means no more scantily-clad women. Is that a long overdue strategy or should they stick with the same formula?

It’s long overdue. They’ve become a parody of themselves. This is not to say scantily clad women in Super Bowl spots will never be seen again but, for GoDaddy, they have milked this one to death. Anything would be a welcome change from their tired, cleavage-in-the-face approach from years past.


4. Who really “gets it” when it comes to making good Super Bowl ads?

No one. It’s a calculated guess much like all other forms of advertising. Though I’d venture to say that much of the time during Super Bowl common sense and adherence to time-tested advertising strategies get thrown out the window in favor of some of the stupidest antics ever seen.


5. Admit it, you miss the Bud Bowl.

Good riddance.


6. What’s your favorite Super Bowl ad of all time?

198…kidding. Chrysler’s “Clint Eastwood” spot. Followed closely by Ram’s Paul Harvey “So God Made A Farmer” ad.


7. Doritos seems to score every year with their “Crash the Super Bowl” fan-made commercial contest. Should ad agencies be concerned? Are fan-made ads the wave of the future?

Well these ads are hardly fan made any more. Most come from professional creatives. That said, when you put a Super Bowl ad out to bid…for free…and are able to choose from hundreds of submissions, you’re bound to end up with something better than a one shot deal from an agency. Mathematics simply favor this approach.


8. Any spots in this year’s game that you’re really looking forward to?

Apple. If they actually run one as some have surmised.

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