In his 1970 best-seller Up the Organization, Robert Townsend, the CEO who made Avis profitable, observed that corporations learn much more from failure than from success. This, he said, was because failure triggers all kinds of introspection and analysis, while success is just taken for granted.
Century 21's top management is probably too young to have read Townsend's book, but they seem to have taken this lesson to heart.
While their Super Bowl advertising debut last year was a big success (brand preference up from 95 to 96 percent, website traffic up 40 percent and number of houses bought and sold for the year up 11 percent), CMO Bev Thorne told us in a telephone interview, they wanted to learn more about why.
So they commissioned a Harris Interactive survey to find out exactly who will be watching their return to the Super Bowl (first commercial break after the second-half kickoff), where and how.
Just under 3,000 adults took the online survey, but because they self-selected, the sample isn't random and the results – released this morning – aren't rigorous. But they are very interesting.
- 84 percent of you will be watching the game at home – either yours, a friend's or a family member's. Bad news for sports bars. 58 percent of you will be watching at home because the seats are more comfortable, 48 percent because there won't be lots of people standing between you and the television, and 46 percent because the bathrooms are cleaner.
- Control matters – 26 percent of men and 22 percent of women prefer home because they can "control instant replay with the DVR."
- You won't be dressing up for the occasion – 70 percent of men and, surprisingly, 83 percent of women said they'd be watching the game in their pajamas or other clothes chosen for comfort.
- You'll probably watch on a big screen – "52 percent of US adults said the quality of the television (e.g., size and resolution) is a critical factor...for watching the game at home," Harris Interactive reports.
- You'll be watching small screens, too. More than a third of you – 36 percent – will be using tablets, smartphones and similar devices in addition to your television. 42 percent of those folks will be checking sports apps for additional commentary.
- You prefer salty snacks to sweet ones – Ten times as many of you (22 percent vs. 2 percent) prefer chips, dips and other salty snacks to sweet snacks like cookies and brownies. (This explains why Wonderful Pistachios plunked down big bucks on their Psy commercial.) Almost a quarter of Southerners (23 percent) like hot dogs and hamburgers hot off the grill.
- You'll actually be watching. For 30 percent of you, the game will be the main topic of conversation. And, good news for advertisers, 32 percent of you 18 to 54 years old will be using social media to talk about the commercials. Because so many viewers will actually be viewing, one :30 on the Super Bowl can theoretically be as effective as a regular campaign where the commercials run over, and over, and over, and over, and.... This is why Century 21 and other advertisers have plunked down a record $3.8 million for just one 30-second availability.
- Men and women go to Super Bowl parties for different reasons. Men may go for the game, but women (63 percent) go for the social company. This finding explains what, on the face of it, looks like a counterintuitive marketing decision. Women, after all, are the primary family decision-makers in buying homes, and the Super Bowl has not only the largest (good), but the most male (not so good) audience on broadcast television. But at what Thorne calls "the largest single US social event," women make up "the most receptive audience" for advertising. "Women may not be watching the game," she said, "but they are watching the commercials."
- You may want to skip work the next day. If so, you've got company. Almost a quarter of you (22 percent) aged 18 to 34 will call in sick Monday morning – almost twice as many men as women.
- You'll probably enjoy watching the Super Bowl at home. And if for some reason you don't, a Century 21 agent will be more than happy to help you find a new one.
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