Katie Bouloubassis

Many households across the U.S. tune into the Big Game every year. This year’s game truly felt historic for many reasons.

First, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced the Kansas City Chiefs at their own home stadium in Florida making them the first team to play a Super Bowl on home turf.

Second, Tom Brady adds yet another win to his record-making this number seven.

Third, you may have noticed the absence of Budweiser’s Clydesdales and the somewhat comical battle for soft drink superiority between Coca-Cola and Pepsi. They, among many other advertisers, opted to take a time-out on advertising during the Big Game this year due to the impact and uncertainty the coronavirus pandemic has placed on this game and life across the nation.

The brands that did have ads air during the Big Game took the opportunity to reach audiences with a variety of creative, some funny, some heartfelt, some serious and everything in between.

I teamed up with our Director of Video Creative, Eric Bach to dissect a few of the ads that really caught our attention.

Our Favorite Spot:

“Last Year’s Lemons” Bud Light commercial secured the winning spot for us. Bud Light took an old saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and squeezed it (pun intended) to showcase their new product while highlighting the many sour situations that took place over the course of 2020. Beyond the clever concept and on-point execution of the ad, we noticed additional creative tactics with this campaign. Not only did they reinforce branding with an in-game ad, known as a drop-in, directly following the commercial, but utilized what appeared as guerrilla marketing in the stands, with the cameramen pointing at a “fan” covered in Bud Light body paint, holding a cardboard sign reading “When Life Gives You Lemons.” Overall, Bud Light executed a well-rounded and strategic campaign this year, relating to just about everyone on earth and making us laugh along the way.

*Also, side note, did anyone else catch Budweiser on screen? Weeks before the big game they announced they would not partake in advertising this year which remained true, not directly spending Budweiser ad dollars as they traditionally would. However, Anheuser-Busch ran advertising on its own and separate lower-third unit advertising their zero-alcohol beer

90s Nostalgia:

A reoccurring theme we noticed throughout the night was 90s nostalgia! This was kicked-off with Pizza Hut featuring Craig Robinson decked out in retro Pizza Hut gear playing Pacman in a room filled with iconic Pizza Hut memorabilia, eliciting fond childhood memories…the only thing missing was a BookIt pin!

The nostalgia kept coming with a reference to one of the decade’s most popular sitcoms, with Tide’s “Jason Alexander Sweatshirt.” The ad not only had us reminiscing about our favorite George Constanza moments, but Tide topped it off with a music bed referencing George’s famous answering machine message. The addition of the audio tied the whole spot together to make it even more memorable for audience.

One last nod to the 90s, Uber teamed up with Wayne’s World’s Mike Myers and Dana Carvey to promote the Uber Eats service. They preface this commercial by stating this is NOT an ad they’re using to manipulate the audience to eat local, while using some not-so-subtle tactics, like the babies wearing “eat local” shirts and a shameless celebrity plug from Cardi B to do just that. Uber took the obvious and over-used promotion tactics advertisers often lean on and made fun of them in their own way to shape this ad.

Honorable Mention:

An all-out sandwich war featuring Brad Garrett playing the part of a mob member in the latest Jimmy John’s commercial had us giggling the whole time. Jimmy John’s typically incorporates humor into their ads and this time did not disappoint. This commercial took a jab at their competitors by stating they are the “King of Cold Cuts” and took time to throw in reasons why, such as their superior ingredients, freshly baked bread, customizable menu and more. Humor remains a strong tactic for advertising because consumers like being entertained instead of pitched, so appealing to them emotionally through humor can lead to further engagement with a product in the future.

When it comes to advertising, for the big game or otherwise, creative direction remains the deciding factor if a brand reaches their target audience or not. Advertising is simply the vehicle to deliver the creative to the audience. That said, an integrated approach to advertising is always recommended. If you’re interested in determining the creative direction for your next campaign, send us an email or connect with us on Twitter! We’d be happy to discuss your next campaign and creative!

Eric Bach

Advertisers have successfully employed the use of voiceovers to command audiences for decades but getting it right takes research, planning and creativity. In producing a commercial or video collateral for your business, give the voiceover some serious thought before moving forward with the creative execution of your marketing.

Voiceovers provide the perfect opportunity to share messaging while controlling tone and guiding the emotional reception of your campaign. In fact, actual science exists behind why you might want to take your voiceover in a certain direction. For example, Phil McAleer, a psychologist at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, uncovered that we begin forming our impression of a person’s personality from their very first spoken word and that we deem higher pitched voices more trustworthy[1]. This research, along with similar findings, can shape the effectiveness of a voiceover and take your marketing from notable to unforgettable.

To help navigate the voiceover process, we’ve gathered a few tips to keep in mind as you craft the perfect campaign.


1. Consider your audience and test, test, test!
As with all marketing and advertising, put your audience first. Consider what type of voice would resonate most with your target market and compile a list of appropriate voice artists. Have your talent provide audition reels and test the different assets against one another in a controlled environment. Reflect on what has worked for your competitors and improve on that model. This could mean going in a completely different direction, but testing will ensure your audience relates to whichever voice you decide on.

2. Keep voice quality in mind and pick a clear emotional direction.

Waveforms show voice amplitude and moments of silence.

Once you’ve picked a voice artist that appeals to your audience, consider the cadence, tone and diction necessary to effectively share your message. A skilled voice artist exhibits control over his or her voice, altering the delivery of copy based on the emotion you want to elicit from your audience. Make sure you’ve chosen a voice artist who not only has a great, natural quality to his or her voice, but that he or she can also convey a message convincingly and authentically to your audience.

3. Be consistent and think long-term.
A successful advertising campaign relies, in part, on the frequency at which your message reaches your target audience. Establishing retention within a market depends on the repetition of messaging. This applies to voiceovers, too. When picking a voiceover artist, decide on someone who can deliver a variety of messages for the brand. Staying consistent with a voice artist throughout the life of a campaign builds trust and triggers auditory recognition that recalls unique brand characteristics without having to explicitly remind audiences.

4. Make sure you’ve got a great script.
Even the best voice actors can’t make a weak script deliver results. An effective voiceover depends upon a well-developed script. So, after you’ve written your voiceover copy, read it aloud, paying attention to the rhythm and flow of the delivery. A word or phrase might look great on paper but sound terrible to the ear. Keep your script clear and creative, and whatever your campaign goal may be, make sure your copy speaks to the action or feeling you want to encourage.


Developing effective and interesting voiceover to complement your campaign visuals often proves daunting, but with proper planning and testing, you can root your marketing efforts in strategy. Monitor the success of your campaign and evaluate how your creative assets resonate with larger audiences. There’s always room for further perfecting efforts, so stay open to switching directions.

Tell us about an effective voiceover experience you’ve executed, or better yet send us a link and let us hear it!
[1] http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/05/05/308349318/you-had-me-at-hello-the-science-behind-first-impressions

Megan Olson

Marketers always look for new and exciting ways to reach their customers and grow their brand. In recent years, while digital advertising has seen steady growth, standing out from the din of every other advertisement out there can be a challenge.

For businesses looking to target audiences towards the bottom of the sales funnel, converting interests into sales, podcast advertising might be a worthwhile option as part of a strategic advertising effort. Podcasts target a niche, captive audience to which a brand can push its product or service directly into the ears of listeners interested in first, the podcast content, and second, products or services that meet a need and/or match the content of the show.

Any effective advertising campaign works through the sales funnel to figure out where customers are along their buying journey and how to get them to convert while spending as little as possible per conversion. TV, radio and digital ads all play important roles throughout the sales funnel from building awareness and interest to conversions. The old saying, never put all your eggs in one basket, holds true in advertising. Use podcasts in conjunction with other mediums to ensure your brand hits a wide range of people in the funnel.


As podcasts continue to grow as an important and worthwhile medium for marketers and brands, businesses must understand what makes a podcast advertisement unique. Once you’ve gained a better understanding of the medium, consider if your business and podcasts are right for each other.

Here’s what you need to know about podcasts before adding the tool to your advertising strategy.

  1. Trusted voice – If there’s one thing podcast listeners have in common, it’s their trust in the host. Podcast hosts fall into the influencer category. The audience views podcast hosts as experts and their shows are a manifestation of their interests and expertise. By creating engaging content audiences come back for repeatedly, they build an audience that genuinely trusts them. It’s that trust that plays well for advertisers. Most ads use live reads, delivered directly by the host at the beginning (pre-roll) or midway (mid-roll) through the show. Live reads, similar to radio, come across like a recommendation from a friend with an authentic feel. Considering your audience, find podcasts/hosts that pair well with your product or service. If their show, voice and audience all match your organization’s brand and target audience, you’ve found a good fit.
  2. The product/service – If you want to advertise on podcasts, you need a product with a broad user base. This is due to the fact that podcasts have a fairly wide range of demographics in their audience. Ads for essentials like underwear, razors, beds and other products are the norm on podcasts because just about everyone uses them. Pairing the right product with the right audience allows the brand to reach more potential customers. A podcast framed around exercise, with a core audience of health enthusiasts, is more likely to advertise jump ropes, foam rollers and Whey protein than it would a new brand of coffee or an online flower delivery service.
  3. A special offer – It’s true, sometimes you just can’t pass up a sale. Podcast ads not only win over audiences with trusted recommendations and useful products, but they almost always tack on a special offer code at checkout. Brands will offer podcast listeners an even deeper discount to further entice on-the-fence buyers.

Podcasts have risen in popularity over the past decade, gaining the attention of brands and marketers who happily fill the podcast niche with quality ads reaching dedicated audiences, something difficult to come by these days. Consider adding this strategy to your marketing toolbox when the brand, audience and budget match up with what podcasts have to offer.

Nate Keezer

We’re constantly curating the soundtrack of our lives, handpicking melodies that speak to us on any number of levels, conscious or subconscious. Going through a break-up? Cue the heartbreak ballads. Working out? Turn-up the techno beats. We’re used to tuning into the songs that best correlate with what we’re feeling or doing, but did you know that the reverse is also true?

That is, that music can elicit a particular feeling when you’re in an otherwise neutral state. You’ve probably implicitly noticed this, even if you haven’t given it too much thought, but the power of music has swayed audiences for centuries. Take a movie, for example: the soundtrack or score supports what’s happening onscreen and guides spectators into feeling a certain way about situations and even specific characters.

Using the same logic, businesses can harness this tactic to build brand recognition and positive perception.

Take this study published in the Journal of Applied Business Research. A sample audience of 210 undergraduate students was asked to record all the thoughts that came to mind after watching a suite of ads. What the audience didn’t know was that prior to constructing these test ads, 16 melodies were pretested based on music that would elicit negative, neutral or positive emotions. Those findings were used to develop three music beds (one negative, one neutral and one positive) that were added to a single commercial. The results supported the hypothesis that negative, neutral and positive musical emotive cues exerted a progressively enhanced influence on brand attitudes, meaning the “negative music has a less favorable influence on brand attitude than neutral music, and neutral music has a less favorable influence on brand attitudes than positively valenced music.”

So how do you use this to your brand’s advantage? It certainly takes trial and error to get right, but finding the perfect music bed can take your audience on a journey that a voiceover or just an image simply can’t. Brands can use a song’s message to reinforce their own and in doing so, seamlessly strengthen a visual with an accompanying aural cue. But lyrics aren’t the only way to spread a message, as even an instrumental song can elicit happy or sad emotions, transcending language barriers and broadening audiences through music.

Most importantly, in an age where brands must stand out among all the clutter, music in advertising helps content break through by connecting with audiences on an emotional level.

In advertising, humanizing a product or service is the first step in gaining the trust that leads to conversions. Music tells the story of the human condition, and it can be a powerful tool in your next campaign.

This bee was busy working. See how we used music to set the tone:

Shawn Nesaw

Establishing your business’ brand through an essential and ongoing process of advertising distinguishes your services and products from competitors. Businesses both small and large go to great lengths to set themselves apart and break through the clutter of our dynamic marketplaces. A thoughtful advertising campaign uses a paid approach to getting your message in front of the appropriate audience. However, in a society growing increasingly immune to commercialization, you must also consider supplementing with a more organic tactic. That’s where social media, with diverse and engaged user-bases, comes into play.

Millions of people turn to social media platforms daily to communicate with friends, conduct business, explore interests and discover new ideas. While seemingly intangible, it’s frighteningly measurable and filled with opportunities to further connect with consumers.

Measurable Insights:

  • Follower growth
  • Reach and impressions
  • Engagement
  • Mentions
  • Website traffic
  • Leads
  • Customer sentiment or satisfaction

Instituting a strategic social media plan and sharing quality content regularly can reinforce existing relationships and help forge new ones. While there are exciting ways to reach target customers using sponsored messaging, social media can be effective without adding any additional dollars to your spending. Using your paid efforts that raise awareness and share key messaging, turn to social media to continue the conversation and engage your audience. Coupling the two strategies boosts your return on investment (ROI) and provides qualitative results in an arena that can sometimes be a bit nebulous.

Put a face (or faces) to a name

Social media allows you to humanize your brand. Consumers are growing increasingly more interested in corporate responsibility and what brands do outside of the services they provide or products they sell. There is a very tangible movement toward emotionally connecting with the brands one supports. Using social media to spread awareness of how your brand operates both internally and externally can serve as an additional, non-paid branding effort. When consumers can relate to a brand’s core values, they are more likely to become loyal return customers.

Accentuate campaigns

Use social media to extend your paid advertising campaign by integrating imagery and messages across all the platforms you manage. Brand’s like National Geographic use social media as a behind the scenes or breaking news medium. Messaging and imagery initially used across social media later develops into stories that appear in the glossy pages of the world famous magazine. Similarly, brands can use social media to give inside looks into the development of a particular advertising campaign or to simply augment a campaign
without spending additional dollars.

Hone in

In order to maximize budgets, small businesses often use advertising to cover a range of promotional services or products. Social media can help focus an advertising campaign and allows a business to feature products or services in a more detailed way. For example, a small business may want to use radio and print advertisements to promote a sale happening in stores. Social media platforms serve as a great way to spread the word even further and show off some specific items or services consumers can expect to get on sale.

Implementing a strategic social media plan that delves deeper into your business’ culture and offerings might be just what your advertising is missing. Find the social media platforms that best fit your needs and set aside some time each month to develop a few posts that highlight your work or products. Coupling your paid efforts with some authentic, organic social media content can greatly lift your overall investment at no added cost.