Super Bowl LVII’s Best Ads and Why They Worked So Well
We love the Super Bowl! The big event is filled with football, halftime shows and most importantly ads! Super Bowl ads take marketing to the next level. One ad spot can cost around $7 million for 30 seconds of air time, and that doesn’t even include the development of the creative, any celebrity participants or special effects. It’s truly a showcase of some of the best and brightest creative that the industry has to offer.
So, why are some ads a touchdown, and others a fumble?
Here are four qualities that make a Super Bowl ad score when it comes to communicating the brand’s message:
Light on sales
Overly salesy is not going to work for the Super Bowl. People are tuning in to be entertained, and the last thing they want is to be “sold” to. This has been a trend in PR and marketing for a while and is becoming the norm as consumers get even savvier. This means that brands should address the consumer’s problem and show how they can provide a solution to the pain point, instead of just broadcasting a straight-up sales message.
Amazon’s “Saving Sawyer” focuses on a family and its dog, only showing the Amazon marketplace for a brief moment. However, viewers understand that Amazon facilitated a quick and easy solution for the family and its pup.
Customers are seeking connection. Yes, even with brands! In a survey, 64% of consumers said they want brands to connect with them. These relationships are built on being relatable, and brands should make an effort to provide relevant information to their target audiences. Successfully relatable brands will be rewarded, as connection leads to loyalty, with the same survey reporting that 57% of consumers would increase spend and 76%would choose a brand with which they feel connected over a competitor.
Dunkin’ Donuts tapped celebrity couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez for a fun spot. You might think it wouldn’t be relatable with such big names, but showing the reactions of real customers as Affleck runs the drive-thru makes this ad hilarious and down-to-earth.
Show a commitment to a bigger cause
Consumers are looking for brands that have a commitment to a bigger cause and that invest in corporate social responsibility (CSR). In fact, 73% of consumers think that brands need to act for the good of society and the planet, and 64% said they prefer to purchase from companies with a reputation for giving back. The Super Bowl provides a great opportunity for brands to showcase their commitment to the greater good. Getting this right does require a delicate balance of sharing the information without it sounding like a brag or virtue signaling.
One brand that did it well was Publicis Groupe. It aired an ad called “Monday” to highlight its Working with Cancer Pledge in partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which aims to erase the stigma of cancer in the workplace.
Viewers watch the Super Bowl and take in all the ads, but later sometimes they can’t remember what the ad was for or which brands had placements. Or they can remember that the company had an ad, but don’t remember the message. A key component of any fantastic marketing communication is that it must be memorable—meaning the target audience must be able to recall the message and the brand.
Our team’s favorite ad was Tubi’s Channel Changer spot. Who wouldn’t remember thinking that someone was changing the channel away from the game?
Super Bowl ads are a huge part of the big game for us. We love watching all the marketing messages and creative strategies that each brand chooses for their big spots. Not every ad hits the mark though. Brands that lean into these four qualities tend to have ads that resonate.