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.

Super Bowl Commercials

This year’s Super Bowl commercials may have covered a variety of themes from sexy models to cute kids, wacky animals to celebrity cameos, but there’s one thing they all had in common – user generated content and a call-to-action for the audience via social media.

Even before the big game, advertisers were using social media to reveal sneak peeks of their upcoming ads to capitalize on the excitement and build brand buzz through custom hashtags, Facebook pages and websites. Some hashtags trending prior to and during Sunday’s game included:

Audi: #BraveryWins

VW: #GetHappy

Pepsi: #PepsiHalftime

Toyota: #WishGranted

Coke: #CokeShowgirls #CokeBadlanders #CokeCowboys #CokeChase

Doriots: #CrashTheSuperBowl

Samsung: #TheNextBigThing

Mio: #ChangeStuff

Axe: #InSpace

Budweiser: #Clydesdales

Budlight: #HereWeGo

GoDaddy: #YourBigIdea

Pistachios: #CrackinStyle

Speed Stick: #HandleIt

Tide: #MiracleStain

 

When it came time for the big reveal there were a few commercials that really stole the show by utilizing social and interactive media well, generating a greater connection among the audience and brand.

Oreo
Which is the best part – the cream or the cookie? Oreo’s hilarious whisper commercial called on viewers to ‘choose your side’ through Instagram. The Oreo Instagram account shows images of just about anything made out of either the cream filling or the cookie, inviting viewers to add their own image with the tag #cookiethis or #creamethis. Oreo may recreate the item using your favorite part of the Oreo.

Oreo

Taco Bell
What do retirement age seniors like to do after a night of partying? Go to Taco Bell of course! The surprise storyline in this commercial, all set to the Spanish version of Fun’s, ‘We Are Young,’ works well with Taco Bell’s current “Live Más” campaign. The fast food restaurant invites the audience to go to their Facebook page for coupons, photos and more.

 

Coca-Cola
Coke had previewed their commercial featuring the showgirls, badlanders and cowboys racing to the coveted beverage well before the big game. The beverage company encouraged viewers to go online to vote for the ending of the commercial to air during the Super Bowl. At their custom website, viewers voted for their favorite group, while at the same time sabotaging the other two groups by sharing their selection on Facebook or Twitter. In the end the #CokeShowgirls came out on top and had the privilege to ‘open happiness.’

 

Pepsi
As sponsor of the halftime show, Pepsi called on viewers to submit photos for a chance to be a part of the performance intro. The user-generated content introduced Beyonce while associating the brand with a direct connection to their audience.

 

Axe Apollo Space Academy
The lifeguard may have saved the distressed woman from a shark attack, but nothing beats an astronaut. The Axe Apollo commercial included the element of surprise, while also announcing a special contest where viewers can actually win a trip to space. The new Axe Apollo has teamed with SpaceExc to send a few select winners to fly into orbit. With a custom website and hashtag #InSpace, Axe Apollo certainly caught the audience’s attention with a creative commercial and turned it into social media engagement.

 

Budweiser
The Budweiser Clydesdale commercials are classic, and this year the beverage allowed you to tweet @Budweiser with the hashtag #Clydesdales to help name the baby Clydesdale seen in the commercial. The commercial certainly tugs at the heartstrings, showing the man’s horse running to see him at the very end – what love! Who wouldn’t want to jump on Twitter to name that beautiful horse?

Budweiser

Doritos
Doritos, which has claimed a #1 spot in recent online commercial rankings, deployed its “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign again, gathering user-generated commercials and inviting the audience to vote on their favorite commercials to air during the big game. The “Goat for Sale” was our favorite!

 

Lincoln
The Lincoln “Road Trip” commercial encouraged viewers to ‘steer the script’ and see what the ending brings. They also asked viewers to tweet about their most memorable road trips – although big miss for Lincoln – no Twitter handle or hashtag was included in the commercial. How do we know how to categorize our tweet?

 

Mercedes-Benz
In the Mercedes Benz spot, Kate Upton invites you to go to MercedesBenzUSA on Facebook to see the all-new seductive CLA Benz coming in September. The commercial is a pure glitz and glam display with celebrities like Kate Upton and Usher, but captures the audience with an affordable price point.

 

Samsung
The comical interaction between Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen was entertaining, as was the direct approach to call out other advertisers gimmicks. The commercial showcased smartphone and tablet devices, while utilizing #TheNextBigThing and social tools through the devices.

 

It couldn’t be expected, but advertisers also took advantage of the unique opportunity the game’s third-quarter blackout provided, jumping quickly on social media with real-time Twitter campaigns. Oreo, Tide, Bud Light, Audi, VW and Speed Stick—were some of our favorites.

  • Oreo – “You can still dunk in the dark”
  • Tide – “We can’t get your blackout. But we can get your stains out”
  • Audi – Told its followers they were sending some of their LED headlights to the Superdome (which is sponsored by competitor Mercedes-Benz)

 

Notable Mentions
While the below commercials didn’t necessarily include social media, they were still some of the most talked about in social media.

  • Jeep: A tug at the heartstrings, welcoming home troops – “Whole Again”
  • Ram: Guts. Glory. Ram. – “God made a farmer”
  • E*TRADE: Smart talking baby tells you to – “Save It”
  • Tide: A 49ers fans glory squashed at the hands of a Ravens fan (much like the big game!) “Miracle Stain”

Every once in a while there’s a commercial that makes us laugh or cry harder than the show we’re watching. As true fans of creative, we’re sharing our top 10 favorite TV commercials. We hope you’ll laugh, cry and love them as much as we do!

  1. With football season on the horizon, this classic reminds us that rivalries run deep.  Without college sports, this wouldn’t be disgusting
  2. An old school classic, playing on one of the biggest brand competitions ever, without using a single word. Pepsi Dissing Coke
  3. Shot with over 100 cameras across the country of the same sunrise in one day. That takes some incredible planning, coordination and cooperation from Mother Nature. Sunrise
  4. Showing the longevity of the brand and pulling on your heartstrings, this spot takes nostalgia to the next level. Love is Forever
  5. American pride with a twist of family love, this commercial tells a terrific true story and Morgan Freeman’s voiceover is flawless. Go World
  6. This one will make you literally laugh out loud. The best part – you know his facial expression, even with the mask on! Darth Vader Kid
  7. We love Ray Lewis, not to mention the randomness of the bear in this spot. Bear

10.  Animated drawings, old school music, this one actually makes you feel five again!    Rethink Possible – Birthday