The Super Bowl is always important for marketers; people scrutinize every spot. If all goes well, senior executives will shower the brand manager with praise, hand out a big bonus and offer up a promotion. If things go poorly, however, he will be criticized and, in some cases, fired.
For two brands this year, however, the Super Bowl is particularly important. In some ways, the Super Bowl will either spark a revival or mark the beginning of the end. If things go poorly, it isn’t likely they will be back next year; this is it.
Ford’s Lincoln is counting on a strong Super Bowl performance. The brand has struggled for years with slumping sales and an undefined brand image. Lincoln really can’t compete with luxury brands such as BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. Ford has been quick to drop brands that don’t fit the portfolio such as Jaguar and Land Rover but Lincoln remains.
Late in 2012 Ford rolled out a turn-around plan for Lincoln. The goal is to revitalize the brand. The Super Bowl plays a big part in this effort; it is Lincoln’s opportunity to present its case.
If the Super Bowl effort works, it will jump-start Lincoln sales and advance the brand revitalization. If the effort fails, however, Lincoln will have missed its big moment and the brand may well fail.
RIM’s Blackberry needs a Super Bowl bounce perhaps more than any other brand. The struggling smart phone maker is losing steam as its market share slips away and people abandon the devices. The company is rolling out a new platform this week, Blackberry 10, and two new devices. The Super Bowl is its moment to explain why people should use a Blackberry instead of a device from Samsung and Apple.
If Blackberry fails to make a strong case on the Super Bowl, there is little reason to have much hope for the firm. In the fast-moving world of technology, a brand can quickly be left behind. This is Blackberry’s opportunity to gain some ground.