By Jessie Nuzzaci, Account Executive
The first time I ever felt heartbreak I was sitting in a black and gold-stained Steelers man-cave. Terrible Towel lying limp on the ground, my father attempted to console me, the only defeated 10-year-old girl at the Super Bowl party. The sole thing that pulled me out of my depressive state was a split-second appearance of Justin Bieber advertising the newest Best Buy plan. The greatest distractor, a middle school heartthrob. While I don’t remember many plays from Super Bowl XLV, I remember who I was with, I remember that Best Buy campaign and I remember the way I felt. The Super Bowl has become so much more than just a sporting event, it serves as a great moment for human connection. If done correctly, companies can take advantage of these few minutes in between downs to make an impact with a diverse audience of over 98 million viewers. Here’s how they can do it.
Use Angles to Your Advantage
The average Super Bowl commercial is a mere 30 seconds long. With only half a minute of airtime, brands must pick a compelling angle to hook consumers. While some brands turn to humor or feel-good storytelling, ultimately notoriety is one of the most powerful selling tools. Budweiser confidently crafts stories of Clydesdales and Labrador Retrievers because they know most viewers already have a beer in their hand. Instead of selling their product, they’re selling their brand image of tradition and trust. Other companies like Pepsi pair their well-known name with celebrity endorsements. Not many viewers remember that it was Malcolm Butler who made the interception to help the Patriots win the Super Bowl, but they remember that it was Cindy Crawford who drank Pepsi in front of a red convertible. Brands who steer away from relying on notoriety tend to have great success with building emotional appeal. Just like people eat with their eyes, they purchase with their hearts. If companies can connect with their audience on an emotional or inspirational level, they can differentiate themselves from other campaigns and achieve economic growth. According to The Street Inc. after releasing their heartwarming adaptive controller advertisement “We All Win” to target children with disabilities, Microsoft’s stock saw a 2.9% increase.
Consider All Audiences
Audiences are no longer limited to middle-aged men sporting barbecue smudged Eagles jerseys. According to Forbes, 47% of people who watched the 2019 Super Bowl were women, a statistic many companies neglect to acknowledge when deciding which commercial creative to pursue. Not only are females watching the games, but they’re also tuning in for the halftime show, critiquing the commercials, and ultimately deciding what to purchase for their households the Monday following Super Bowl Sunday. When brands can connect with this often-forgotten audience, favorable consumer responses emerge.
Push for Consumer Engagement
Super Bowl time slots lay the foundation to engage with a diverse demographic of audiences. Viral video challenges, trending hashtags, Twitter contests, and influencer engagement are key ways to differentiate a campaign and keep it relevant after the final snap. Encourage the audience to co-create and share content with you. If companies can use existing platforms in unique ways, consumer creativity can often grow campaigns. Doritos fostered record-breaking consumer engagement by challenging fans to create their own Super Bowl commercials for cash incentives. The 2014 winning commercial, Doritos Time Machine, resulted in extensive earned media, countless impressions, and in turn, increased sales.
Continue to Grow a Campaign after the Final Down
While teasers can effectively create a buzz about a campaign, and consumer engagement can help it expand its reach, a campaign is only as good as its follow-up. How brands use social media platforms to generate consumer responses is often the differentiator between 30-seconds of entertaining your audience and persuading them into action. A campaign is multifaceted. It should include multiple creatives including graphics and advertisements with cohesive messages streamed on many different channels of communication.
Super Bowl LV will mark 10 years since my first ever heartbreak. This time I’ll be singing the halftime show with my seven female college roommates while texting my father about running routes and poor pass interference calls. We’ll eat nachos, sport oversized jerseys, and of course, rank our favorite Super Bowl campaigns.