Super Bowl 50: Making the Most Of A Big Opportunity

Viewpoints from Creative, Planning and Engagement

Carolina Panther fans may have been disappointed that they couldn’t “dab” as much as they would’ve wanted to during last night’s game, but today’s conversations around Super Bowl 50’s commercials and performances are far from disappointing. Yesterday, we saw a shift from last year’s Super Bowl, which used emotion and sentimentality, to a more comical and traditional approach to Super Bowl ads. While some advertisements were questionable, others were a total hit – but one thing is certain, marketers and brands weren’t afraid to step outside the box to make the most out of, what is considered, a big marketing opportunity.

From advertisers taking advantage of real-time social media functions to brands using storytelling to send a powerful message, here are some of our thoughts on Super Bowl 50 from different perspectives across the agency.

The Super Bowl Isn’t Just Twitter’s Game Anymore

By Heather Bartman and Megan Emerick

lady gagaIf you weren’t engaged with social media during the Super Bowl game last night, did you even watch it? As much as the Super Bowl is an opportunity for brands to advertise, it is also a competition among social platforms to provide users the best way to live-post about the game. Social platforms found their own way to inundate users with Super Bowl content whether you were watching the game or not:

  • Twitter’s trending moments and hashtags kept users in the know
  • Snapchat had live event coverage throughout the day
  • Instagram supplied streaming video touting a way to experience Super Bowl Sunday from your phoneSB facebook
  • Facebook posts included the score of the game making the assumption that all posts that evening would be relevant to game watching

Even the morning after the big game, these platforms are continuing to provide ways for users to relive their favorite moments.

Brands have also started leveraging real-time content on different platforms. For example, GrubHub took advantage, Snapchatting stats about food delivery during the game. Entertainment brands took to Instagram, a platform their audience uses to see real pictures of their favorite celebrities, to talk about the performances during the game. Even Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars gave fans a closer look pre- and post-halftime show.

So which platform won? It might be too early to tell (most platforms are still pulling their performance stats), but what’s clear is that Twitter is not the only live-posting platform anymore. Algorithms on Facebook have changed to encourage trending conversations and geo-tagged posts on Instagram and Snapchat allow users to see behind-the-scenes moments in real-time. So for brands that don’t have $5 million for a 30-second spot during the game, real-time functionalities on different platforms enable them to target their audiences by channel and cut through much of the social noise that used to exist only on Twitter.

Moments In Time

By Scott Stripe

A 30-second spot during the big game cost advertisers $5 million, and that figure doesn’t even include the likely creative and production fees. A Super Bowl ad is a significant investment for any marketing department, with no guarantee it will result in a positive return. This makes Super Bowl advertising feel more like gambling than a smart investment – as many marketers have acknowledged.

In early February, Adobe released a campaign called “The Gambler” across social and digital channels showing how advertising can be a big bet for CMO’s during the Super Bowl.

The ad tells the story of a CMO who didn’t look at the data, and is hoping that one big ad for his cream cheese company will do something great. However, odds are against him because he didn’t take data into account and he’s now gambling with the company’s money.

Adobe, which did not purchase a television spot in this year’s Super Bowl, instead capitalized on moments in time in which marketers are thinking about advertising through paid placements on Twitter and LinkedIn. These platforms allow you to target content for specific titles, which is key for B-to-B marketers.

So when considering how your B-to-B brand can capture the moments in time that make a difference, keep in mind that you don’t have to spend the millions that many brands did on the Super Bowl. In fact, the lack of ad spend is what likely helped make Adobe’s campaign memorable. The right message targeted at the right audience can be as effective, if not more so, than a costly TV spot.

KFC Perpetuates the Myth

By Lisa Morales Cook

There’s a myth that brands need to “always” follow one set of rules, and “never” break another set of rules. I maintain that the only rules worth following are the ones a brand writes for itself. A brand’s commitment to clear strategy usually generates useful and additive value.

Not all brands can enjoy a protagonist like KFC enjoys with Colonel Sanders. He was a legend in his own lifetime, and Sander’s larger-than life persona was easily immortalized through the brand identity long before the current comic-as-pitchman strategy.

Now, less than two years since SNL alum Darrell Hammond donned the white suit and goatee to perpetuate the legend of Colonel Sanders, KFC introduced its third imposter, Jim Gaffigan, during the Super Bowl 50 pregame show, succeeding Norm MacDonald.

Three brilliant comedians, flung at consumers in rapid succession, with character arcs lasting nearly as long as an SNL sketch. What on earth is KFC thinking? I think they’re playing with the brand, knowing all along what works and what doesn’t. And that’s a very, very good thing. You do you, KFC.

The Super Bowl Got Its Funny Back

By Mike Sanford

After a few years of focusing on sentimentality and altruism (and a super weird insurance spot with a dead kid), the Super Bowl got its funny back. And I’m glad. Even though my favorite of the bunch wasn’t a funny spot, all the others on my personal best list were. Also, I have serious doubts that Dame Helen Mirren is a big Budweiser drinker. I just do. Here are my top six picks – one not funny, four funny and one funny/creepy/disturbing:

1. Audi R8 Commander – nice storytelling, beautifully shot and edited. And Bowie’s Starman. Well done. It was an easy win for a car guy like me.

2. Honda Ridgeline singing sheep spot – very nice.  Smart way to highlight the unique truck bed audio feature. Plus, finding sheep this talented has to be tough.

3. Heinz Weiner Stampede was a winner. The strangest-shaped of all dogs wearing buns and running in slow-mo to Harry Nilsson’s “Without You”= win.

4. Doritos Ultrasound – fun, simple idea. I’m guessing this spot will rank among the favorites with Super Bowl viewers.

5. Avocados from Mexico. I thought this was super funny. Loved the writing. “Scott Baio.” Look up the longer version on YouTube. It’s worth it.

6. PuppyMonkeyBaby. Go ahead and hate the super nightmarish Kickstart PuppyMonkeyBaby all you want. That weird little freak made my kid laugh and sing “PuppyMonkeyBaby, PuppyMonkeyBaby” repeatedly so the spot is a success in my book.

Also – honorable mention to the Colgate water conservation spot. I will brush my teeth differently now. For at least a while.

Image Source- YouTube

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