Survivor: Edge of Extinction Super Bowl 53 ad was a wasted opportunity


With millions of people watching the biggest sporting event of the year, CBS’ Survivor: Edge of Extinction Super Bowl 53 ad blew it big time.

As a Survivor fan in the year of our “Lord, I mean Jeff” 2019, you would not be surprised in how many times I’ve heard people ask me, “Is that show still on?” Yes, the show is going strong heading into its 38th season, and it remains one of the highest-performing programs of Wednesday night in the ratings.

Survivor: Edge of Extinction is riding high after showing fans one of the greatest modern seasons prior, but it might be pertinent to cater to new or returning fans in order to follow up on their success. Thankfully, CBS saw fit to give up ad equity to promote the upcoming season. Unfortunately, their “Reinventing the Game” preview did little to incentivize people to watch this season.

The entirety of the commercial is two shots, with the first being of a guy holding up a torch and the second being a wide shot of the Edge of Extinction island. As this second shot pans over the island, one of the most prolific trailer narrators says, “Survivor is about to reinvent the way the game is played” before announcing the premiere date of Wednesday, February 20.

There are a number of reasons why this Survivor: Edge of Extinction Super Bowl 53 spot ad spot was a wasted opportunity. For starters, it failed to mention anything about its returning players, as brand familiarity is key to bringing back former fans. Second, without viewing preseason press, you wouldn’t know how the game could be changed so emphatically, thus weakening the power of its tease.

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Finally, none of the teased verbiage plays into the talking points that CBS has been leaning into; the Edge of Extinction is Survivor at its hardest, most grueling test that will push survival skills to the edge. That’s the kind of content that casual observers and fans want to see out of the show! Instead, this ad shows little and teases less, doing nothing to have neutral observers from asking, “Is that show still on?”