That commercial was rejected for the Super Bowl broadcast yesterday. And because of that it will be seen by many many people (even you!). Indeed the value of the publicity from being rejected rivals that of being accepted. You’ll get people actively watching your ad rather than just passively.

This is a problem for the broadcaster because first of all it is failing to capitalize on a valuable asset: the monopoly authority to reject ads. Second the plethora of rejected ads and their publicity dilutes the value of its other asset: the monopoly provider of broadcast airtime. So the Super Bowl broadcast network needs to find a way to capitalize on the publicity they can generate by rejecting ads and also to make rejected advertisers pay for the negative externality on accepted advertisers. How to do it?

Charge an enormous price to submit your ad for consideration. If you are accepted you get the submission fee refunded. If you are rejected, tough luck.

Added: You can also put a check box on the submission form allowing advertisers to secretly specify whether they want to be accepted or rejected.

Some might prefer the publicity/price of rejection over the actual broadcast. Without the checkbox they might not submit out of fear they will be accepted.

Imagine the publicity you can get when a marginal ad (like the one above) is rejected “unfairly.”

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