Ross Rant: Super Bulletin LIII

Ross Rant March 2018.png

America's most handsome suburban dad superhero and America's best-organized team will win.

Tom Brady and the Patriots will secure the Lombardi Trophy at ATL's MBS discothèque tonight.

Now that we know who will win, let's get down to business.

The big business of communications.

The big business that powers this game and makes the Super Bowl spectacle essentially an American national holiday of consumption and consumerism.

As you watch the show and process the ads, see them as a behavioral communications scientist. 

Great communications secures attention, frames the narrative, attracts the right clients, and repels the wrong ones.

If you watch the super football show this way you will notice from the start great communicators unlock massive amounts of value with little tweaks. 

Communicators tap into the animalistic self.  

If your wine is Piedmont, you’re worldly. If you have an iPhone, you’re fashionable. If you wear James Perse, you’re cool. 

That is some highly functioning behavioral communications.

In the plain English words of Vice Chairman of Ogilvy in the UK Rory Sutherland: “If you stand and stare out of the window on your own, you're an antisocial, friendless idiot. If you stand and stare out of the window on your own with a cigarette, you're a fucking philosopher.” 

At the end of the day, Nike shoes are globally sourced, low wage assembled, overpriced pieces of cotton and foam. 

Throw Serena Williams on a Times Square billboard and all of a sudden, when you purchase a pair of Nikes you’ll run faster, serve better, and attack the net flawlessly. 

That is some highly functioning behavioral communications.

Buying a silk scarf from a farmers' market vendor, even if the quality and design are high, isn’t as satisfying as walking into Hermes, walking up to a well-appointed saleswoman, asking for a scarf, and paying a premium for the one in the center of well-lit, French designed showroom, and walking out of the shop with an orange box. 

That is some highly functioning behavioral communications.

Walk into a convenience store. When you see bulletproof glass, what do you think?

Walk into a hotel. When you see the doorman welcoming you into the lobby, what do you think?

Comedian sensation and talk show legend David Letterman, a Ferrari fan and owner, summed up the appeal in an NYT interview. "Why Ferraris? Because they're so ridiculous," he said. "It's a visceral response. They're beautiful, sensual. They smell great: the leather and the smell of the oil they inevitably leak. The sounds of the engine, exhaust, and transmission are just so mechanically obvious. And who needs a car that can do 180? They're fabulous."

Ferraris secure attention, frame the narrative, attract the right clients, and repel the wrong ones. 

If women were attracted to men who drove expensive vehicles, they’d marry combine drivers. 

Ferrari taps into the animalistic self.  

As you watch today's advertisements during the game identify their context. 

Advertisements should not stand out too much. 

They should entertain us and complement the experience. 

They should tap into our animalistic self and harness behavioral communications.

Today's best Super Bowl ad will secure attention, frame the narrative, attract the right clients, and repel the wrong ones.

BTW, if you want to maximize your chicken wing nacho chip consumption and not be stuck at the telly all evening, AdAge has collected every Super Bowl ad that marketers have released before kickoff, with the latest on top. To watch, click here.


Marc A. Ross specializes in thought leader communications and global public affairs for executives working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

US-China Trade Talks + Ted Allen


Last Thursday, I joined Bloomberg Chief Washington Correspondent Kevin Cirilli on Bloomberg Radio's Sound On program.

Other guests, Ted Allen, Ambassador for former first lady Michelle Obama’s education initiative, Reach Higher and Host of Chopped and Margaret Talev, Bloomberg News Senior White House Reporter.

It was a fun show on food politics, restaurants impacted by the tariffs, an update on US-China meetings, happenings on Capitol Hill, and the Super Bowl.

You can listen here:

Writing advice

"When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, your mind becomes powerfully concentrated.

You begin to understand that writing/reading is, above all, a transaction.

The reader donates his time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities. In return, you the writer must give him something worthy of his gift to you.”

-- Steven Pressfield