A Minute Of Your Time

February 4, 2013 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

Super Bowl XLVIIHow much is a minute worth?  If you ask Volkswagen of America, it’s worth close to $10 million.  At least if it’s a minute during the Super Bowl.  In an article for USA Today, Bruce Horovitz writes about the high price – and high stakes – world of commercial advertising during the Super Bowl:

Few moments of public pressure compare to that of airing a Super Bowl commercial.  Not only will it be watched by more than 110 million consumers, the social-media buzz before, during and after the game can generate tens of millions of additional views.  Thirty-some advertisers – from veteran Anheuser-Busch InBev to newcomer SodaStream – will air 50-some commercials in Super Bowl airtime that cost them roughly $3.8 million per 30-second slot.  That’s a record average price for Super Bowl slots.

It’s the most expensive media money can buy.[1]

If you want 30 seconds, it’ll cost you $3.8 million.  60 seconds will cost you more than twice that.  Justin Osborne, general manager of marketing communications at VW, says of such an outlandish price, “If I put this in financial terms, it would give me hives.  I can’t look at the zeros.”

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Time is money.”  If you quoted Franklin’s axiomatic aphorism to a Super Bowl advertiser, I suspect he might respond with a hearty “Amen.”  Of course, these advertisers are hoping that time is not only money spent, but that it is money made.  This is why these advertisers are willing to pay such haranguingly hearty prices for airtime.  After all, with hundreds of millions of people expected to watch the big game, some of them are bound to put their money into the companies, products, and services they see in the commercials.  Right?

Macdonald Carey used to say during the opening sequence of the famed soap opera, “Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives.”  It’s true.  For the most part, our seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years slip past us with barely a notice – certainly not a Super-Bowl-sized-notice worthy of $10 million.  But perhaps the time that all too often slips by us is worth more than we realize.  For, as Scripture reminds us, time is a precious gift from God, not to be unthinkingly frittered away:  “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

The other day, I attended an excellent presentation by the former publisher for the LA Times.  As part of his presentation, he cited a poem by Benjamin Mays, mentor to Martin Luther King Jr. and former president of Morehouse College:

I have only just a minute. Only sixty seconds in it.
Forced upon me.  Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it,
But it’s up to me to use it.
I must suffer if I lose it.  Give account if I abuse it.
Just a tiny little minute – But eternity is in it.

Every minute is precious.  Every minute is a gift from God.   How will you use yours?

[1] Bruce Horovitz, “Inside the making of VW’s Super Bowl ad,” USA Today (1.29.13).

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