Katie MacNichol

In 2017, national Super Bowl ads cost an average of $10 million per minute and with that price tag came the opportunity to reach over 111 million people all in one sitting. Brands of all shapes and sizes use the Super Bowl as a broad reach platform for messaging, and even small- to medium-sized businesses use the game as a strategic and significant investment opportunity, shelling out $70,000-$90,000 for a market-specific Super Bowl ad.

However, following 2017’s big game, research from Communicus, an independent research-based consultancy, found that 80 percent of commercials failed to leave a mark on audience members. What an advertiser does with Super Bowl airtime can directly affect a consumer’s opinion or potential engagement with a brand, and at such a steep investment, keeping your audience in mind while meticulously planning your media buy helps promote Super Bowl ad success.

Communicus research shared that many failed commercials entertained viewers, but did nothing to build the business’ brand. Advertisers must then take part in a balancing act between engaging visuals and strong messaging that, when coupled together, leave an impression on audiences and help move the needle in terms of a return on investment, or ROI. When developing a commercial spot, ask yourself, “who am I talking to?” and “what am I trying to say?” Doritos, for example, consistently places their products and branding within the first few minutes of their Super Bowl ads. Keep a specific audience in mind and showcase your brand attributes from the very start of your commercial. Remember, viewer attention often drops off after just a few moments, so don’t waste any time and get your name up front in your commercial.

When it comes to creative execution, introducing out-of-the-box content seems fun and exciting, but going that route can often miss the mark in terms of drawing a connection back to your brand.

Only 10 percent of consumers even remember the average Super Bowl ad and can recall the brand advertised.

Don’t use the Super Bowl to reinvent the wheel for your business; use ad space to continue telling your story. Tell consumers why your product or service dominates the competitors and do it authentically.

Advertisers shell out massive sums to secure big-name celebrities in their commercials, but if your audience doesn’t feel a genuine connection between your brand and a new spokesperson, they’ll likely see through your ploy. For example, think back on the Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial from April 2017. Poor planning and lack of input from audiences led to off-base creative execution that not only didn’t resonate, but offended consumers. That being said, playing it safe can also prove risky. Step out of your comfort zone and put your best creative foot forward, but be sure to do the research and find your business’ best fit for cutting through the clutter.

Now, you determined your audience, established a strategic way to message to them and developed a commercial bound to resonate. Don’t put all that planning into one Super Bowl-basket. As with all advertising, the more times a consumer sees or hears an ad, the higher the recall. Make sure to extend your media buy strategy before and after game day, setting viewers up for what they’ll see during the big game and continuing the conversation after the fact. Many advertisers get so caught up in the pomp and circumstance of putting out a game day spot that they overlook simple advertising principles, like a strong frequency of viewing.

The mark of successful advertising campaigns lies in the combination of strong reach, something the Super Bowl obviously brings to the table, and frequency, something advertisers must consider when building out television media buys. The media buy shouldn’t stop at television, however. When considering reach and frequency, don’t forget to build in a comprehensive media mix. Developing an integrated buy around your Super Bowl commercial means maximizing your investment across various media platforms. This approach to planning your media takes into consideration the bigger picture, as integrated buys allow for storytelling across various vehicles, increasing reach and affording your brand added exposure. Keep your Super Bowl commercial momentum going and build strong brand awareness and recognition by considering additional mediums like radio, digital and even outdoor marketing when appropriate. Continue the conversation and extend your reach even further by integrating the messaging and visuals into all organic communications outreach as well.

Not integrating your Super Bowl media mix to elevate your creative assets? Now that could lead to a major fumble. Carefully plan your business’ creative approach and media buying strategy to ensure a successful drive to the end zone.

Tell us who you think did Super Bowl advertising right! Comment your favorite commercials and ad strategies or tweet us during the game — @aBrightIdea96.

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Courtland Hearth and Hardware Fireside Chat

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