Thursday 22 February 2018

Super Bowl Advertising: Making the most out of the $3million 30-second spot

I just spent the last ten years living in New York and although I never took to watching American Football, I did enjoy the annual Super Bowl celebration. Friends would gather to drink beer, eat hot dogs and cheer for their favourite team. I had no interest in the actual football. I loved watching the Super Bowl for the commercials. Apparently I am not alone. According to Neilsen Sports Media Research, 50% of viewers tune into the Super Bowl to watch the commercials, more than to watch the game.

With a captive audience of more than 105 million people, the Super Bowl is a marketers dream. Advertisers use this as a platform to showcase the most creative, fun and compelling advertisements of the year.  Commentary about Super Bowl ads is almost like a sport in itself; industry experts, media, bloggers and fans give thorough reviews of each ad, selecting their favourites.  So, I guess I should do the same. So far, I have two favourite ads:

The first ad, which you might have seen already, was from Volkswagen (Disclosure: VW is aN Edelman US client). “The Force” is a loving tribute to Star Wars; a child dressed as Darth Vader tries to use “the Force,” getting a hand from his father and the family’s new Passat. This ad had generated mass buzz before it had even aired. It had circulated around Edelman Sydney on Thursday and I even saw it reviewed on Channel 9’s Today Show on Sunday morning.  It officially released on February 2, allowing for it to make its way around the world picking up 12 million YouTube views before it aired during the Super Bowl last night. This was a great strategy. By taking the ad viral last week, when the ad aired during game time, viewers would nudge the person next to them and tell them to watch, or at least not mute the TV during the ad breaks.

The second was from DORITOS (Disclosure: PepsiCo is a global Edelman client). For the fifth year, Doritos held a consumer competition, “Crash the Super Bowl,” where you could create your own ad and fans could vote for the winner. This year, Doritos upped its game, airing three consumer-generated commercials. My favourite was their ad, “The Best Part.” It is funny, really well made and places prominence on the product. Further, Crash the Super Bowl fuels consumer engagement and interaction with Doritos. Finger-licking good! (Also recommend watching one of the other winners:  “Pug Attack.”)

PepsiCo has done a great job at using the Super Bowl to engage and mobilize fans. You may recall that last year, PepsiCo made a bold move declaring that for the first time in more than 20 years, they were not airing any Pepsi ads during the Super Bowl and would instead invest their $20 million savings in the Pepsi Refresh Project.

It’s no longer enough to have a great 30-second commercial that reaches tens of millions on Super Bowl Sunday. These days, marketers are creating integrated communications programs around the commercials, ensuring that the ads resonate beyond game day and engage consumers.

Oh by the way, the Green Bay packers won the Super Bowl.

-Kate Ferguson