As Monday after the Super Bowl rolls around, the conversation is usually as much about what commercials aired as it is about the actual football game.

Watching in Canada, one is struck by the astounding difference in approach by advertisers in the two countries.

The event draws huge audiences in both countries.  It is a great media vehicle to spotlight news and quickly reach as many people as possible.

In the United States, advertisers air showy commercials meant to be talked about around the water cooler the next day.  These same commercials are proudly posted on website and twittered about rabidly.  Virtually no commercial runs more than once on the show, which means viewers rivet their attention to the screen to catch the latest Doritos, eTrade, Snickers, Mennen or whomever spot.

The opposite seems to be true in Canada where the cost of airing a commercial may resemble the population ratio of 10:1, but the strategy is to air the same spots over and over and over and over again.

Advertisers buy sponsorship packages instead of individual spots and get a number of occasions within the show.  The same is true for all very high rated shows.  And the typical Canadian advertiser does not have a pool of commercials to air and so a great media buy is nullified by the repetitiveness of airing the same commercial through each occasion in the package.

This year it was the TD Bank codgers who told us that the bank would have branches open on Sunday.  And the Olympic lady telling us she suffered from depression from Bell (read that as many ways as you wish).  Some beer spots.  And endless promos for CTV shows (which means the time went unsold).  You run out of fingers on one hand counting how many times you saw each.

True Bell ownership of CTV means many Bell commercials on CTV and today CTV announced programming in support of Bell’s Mental Health initiative.  So expect even more Bell propaganda on CTV as the ownership flexes its muscle and influences show content.

However, that doesn’t totally explain why there is so much repetition on Canadian high rated television.  It comes down to the package purchase that includes many occasions and the lack of a pool of commercials.

The cost of production may be slightly less in Canada than in the US, but the production cost is in the same ballpark between the two countries.

The media costs are not.  Media costs are ten times higher per occasion on these high rated shows.  Rumour has it that a Canadian super bowl commercial costs $300,000 for a 30 second spot this year, versus $3 million in the US.

If you spend $250,000 to produce a spectacular commercial and air it once in the US, it costs you less than 10% of your media cost.  In Canada, the production cost is almost 100% of the media cost.  That’s why Canadians produce far fewer commercials per air occasion than Americans do.  This difference is emphasized in very highly rated events like the Super Bowl or the Oscars or the Olympics.

If you believe in the negative effect of commercial wear-out then Canadian advertisers have to be concerned that many of their media dollars are wasted with so much repetition of the same commercials.  Advertisers: if you are planning on buying sponsorship packages for particular shows, make sure you have enough creative in your commercial pool to keep your message fresh.

If viewers want to see the best in TV creativity, you will have to review the US commercials on line somewhere.

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