Super Bowl Clarifies Adobe Strategy

adobe_ad_125If the empty stores and drunken cheers from neighboring houses Sunday night was anything to go by, another Super Bowl has come and gone. And with it came an ad that did more than raise a few titters – it revealed why Adobe Systems has seemingly ignored designer protests over its Creative Cloud pricing system. It didn’t take its eye off the ball as so many have charged – it’s just that it now has its eye on a much larger ball.

The ad itself was nothing special – a somewhat ham-fisted affair in which a living room full of football fans ignore a Super Bowl ad in favor of browsing on their various smartphones and tablets.

The commercial was for Adobe Marketing Cloud, a melange of analytics and training designed to give marketers a holistic look at their online efforts in order to craft more effective online marketing strategies.

(As Ad Age reports, Adobe threw ” ‘social media analysts, social publishing, creative, IT, facilities and legal’ team members” into a real-time war room to “use Adobe’s analytics tools to identify which brands’ digital and social efforts [were] resonating and congratulate them using social media.”

So what does this have to do with Creative Cloud?

Considering the famously-astronomical costs of a Super Bowl ad, Adobe’s commercial was a declaration of purpose: its online marketing arm is the priority, and the space in which it believes its future lies.

No matter how many copies of Creative Suite it sells, more money is being pumped into the online marketing space – specifically the mobile marketing space – than into the print industry that has been the primary user of applications such as InDesign and Illustrator. “Mobile” is where the money is.

This suggests that discontinuing software on disc in favor of the Creative Cloud subscription model was less about squeezing extra money out of print designers and more about paving the way toward incorporating design and marketing tools into one massive, Web-based “killer app” for designing and administering mobile/online marketing campaigns.

Perhaps the Denver Broncos aren’t the only ones who have a lot to think about after last night’s performance.

 

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