Ecuador Goes All-In: $3.8 million for a Super Bowl Ad

You have to give Ecuador credit for going where most DMO destination communities would love to go but never do — a prime-time commercial on the year’s most watched US TV show. I am sure national tourism industry pride was beaming at the thought. While the tourism minister claimed that if US visits to Ecuador only went-up 1% in 2015 the ad will have paid for itself, was that really the objective of a one-time all-in investment? And more importantly, did it work?:

If the objective was to generate transactions to pay for the ad: there was no overt call-to-action (other than the Ecuador web URL) or offers in the spot to create urgency to act. Looking at available web analytics there has been no spike in traffic so far.

If the objective was to introduce a defining brand statement or start new conversations about Ecuador: Can’t say I took away any deep (new or differentiated) emotional connections to Ecuador from the spot. Nor did the spot even rate a mention in any of the Super Bowl spot reviews or social media sites I follow. And why would it? It wasn’t brand new (it came out in late 2014) and it was entirely predictable in the toughest commercial line-up on the planet. What is there to talk about?

Point is: If you’ve mustered-up the resolve and resources to share your destination story on a stage amidst the toughest conditions imaginable, you’ve got to have the courage to go all-in and do something remarkable to distinguish yourself with your audience and at the very least inspire a new conversation.

Time will tell if Pete Carroll’s last-minute play call was the only bad play-calling decision on Super Bowl Sunday or not.