Once again AdWorld’s greatest waste of time and money

Each year millions are flushed down American’s toilets

It’s years since I first learnt this, and the man who told me just put up another excellent Blog about it

Here we go again folks – the longest hour of the year is upon us. Some say this hour lasts 6 months given all the media hype, but for those who just watch NFL once a year, it fills most of a day.

This is the time when the single largest flush of the US toilet system occurs. It’s the same time every year – the first 2 minutes of half time in the Superbowl. It occurs because millions of television viewers rush to the loo to drain the gallons of Budweiser, Miller, Sam Adams, Coors, etc they have been chugging down during the previous 3 hours of the first half.

toilet bowl

It also happens to be the most expensive television advertising time slot on the planet, which means an awful lot of marketing money gets flushed down the sewer, as viewers relieve themselves rather than watch the ads.

To ensure people do cross their legs and watch in discomfort, the advertising break has become an event in itself, with leaks (excuse the pun) weeks before the ads are shown on the TV. Advertisers spend a fortune in PR to get people to watch their ads. You can read here the list of brands advertising this year.

Most interesting though, is the annual churn rate of advertisers from the previous year. Only about one third of advertisers return each year to advertise, as the majority of advertisers don’t believe they get value for money. Yet there are those who return every year, because it seems to work for them.

Interestingly too, is how this is always ignored by the advertising trade press, as they fall in love with the publicity and help fuel the promotion of the ads, rather than the performance of the ads. Though I’m sure we’ll hear about brands who establish Social Media Mission Control Rooms – or SMMCR for short.

These highly expensive executive teams spend their Sunday based in a SMMCR responding to Tweets, trying to create publicity around the fact they spend their Sunday in a SMMCR responding to Tweets. That’s a career highlight you’d want to share with your grandkids, hey? Though I suspect, as I’ve shared before, this will be the best use of much of their efforts:


I have written about the super flush in previous years. And I even put the theory to test with the Sydney Water Board during the Grand Final of the Rugby League, between Canberra and Penrith, in 1991. Sure enough, the single biggest sewerage flow of the year occurred in the first couple of minutes of half time.

Though I suppose one benefit of mobile devices is the ability to stream coverage onto them. So maybe the fans will be able to multi-task and watch the ads while they perform their ablutions? Though given the inebriated  state of some of the fans, I dread what will happen to their phones…


I wonder if you can insure for it?

You can see more from Malcolm Auld here.

About the Author


In 2003, the Chartered Institute of Marketing named Drayton one of 50 living individuals who have shaped today’s marketing.

He has worked in 55 countries with many of the world’s greatest brands. These include American Express, Audi, Bentley, British Airways, Cisco, Columbia Business School, Deutsche Post, Ford, IBM, McKinsey, Mercedes, Microsoft, Nestle, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Unilever, Visa and Volkswagen.

Drayton has helped sell everything from Airbus planes to Peppa Pig. His book, Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing, out in 17 languages, has been the UK’s best seller on the subject every year since 1982. He has also run his own businesses in the U.K., Portugal and Malaysia.

He was a main board member of the Ogilvy Group, a founding member of the Superbrands Organisation, one of the first eight Honorary Fellows of the Institute of Direct Marketing and one of the first three people named to the Hall of Fame of the Direct Marketing Association of India. He has also been given Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Caples Organisation in New York and Early To Rise in Florida.

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