The Super Bowl for Advertising

Aperio FMCG ConsultingThe Super Bowl for Advertising

By Michael Wood, Director of Aperio

The Super Bowl is not just a sporting event but a major gobal event showcasing advertising beyond the regular American football fan. The adverts have become a cultural phenomenon of their own. The Super Bowl is not only one of most watched sporting events in the world and now is one of the major brand platforms in the world.

So whats trending?

The savvy folks in advertising recognised the importance of digital and viral campaigns as part of their Super Bowl strategy. This maximises the value of an enormous investment by reaching the widest audience beyond the usual super bowl viewership. Super Bowl advertising is much, much more than the 30 or 60 second television commercial ad and using digital extends the campaign before and after the event.

Super Bowl

Teasers and pre-game activity were a major trend this year, where brands connected with the audiences in a bid to create buzz around their TV commercial. In some cases the pre-game engagement was bigger than the actual commercial. Here are a few examples of brands that used the digital platform effectively.

DoritosCrash the Super Bowl Contest eencourages fans to express their love for Doritos by spending months creating their own commercial. Millions more fans then vote for their favourite, with the winning spot running in the game and earning the creator $1 million.

Sodastream’s - “sorry, Coke and Pepsi” ad featuring celebrity spokesperson Scarlett Johansson taking a direct dig at two of the Super Bowl’s largest advertisers/sponsors – Coca- Cola and Pepsi.

Emotional benefits

Brands have for a long time realised that consumers connect at a deeper level when the brand has superior emotional benefits. This year many Super Bowl advertisers tapped into the emotional side of their audiences with a strong sense of nostalgia. The most popular ads and teasers featured celebrities from the past, tugged on the heartstrings, had a sense of adventure, displayed a great sense of humour and always a winner: an adorable labrador puppy!

Ads with a strong emotional message worked really well in the digital realm. Using Social Media allowed brands to cash in on consumers’ curious nature giving them huge peer to peer endorsement: a great example is the Budweiser ad which went viral and had 2 million hits in 25 hours - a lot of that was sharing on the social media site.

Budweiser's - "Puppy Love" had more than 33.9 million views and 981,000 shares as of Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

Toyota's - Big game starring Terry Crews and the Muppets. In this ad for the 2014 Toyota Highlander, Terry Crews (reluctantly) picks up the stranded Muppets who proceed to take him on a musical adventure.

Bud Light’s - Ian up for whatever Arnold Schwarzenneger stars in one of three ads produced by Bud Light with the slogan “The Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens” and the associated hashtag #UpForWhatever.

Kia's - The truth Morpheus big game commercial. Laurence Fishburne reprised his role as Morpheus in the Matrix trilogy for this Kia ad, the second-most shared Super Bowl of 2014.

Dannon Oikos Yogurt’s - The Spill commercial which reunited the cast from Full House.

Coca-Cola’s - It’s beautiful revealed a beautifully shot piece set to America the Beautiful, as it celebrated the cultural diversity in the U.S. The ad was also the first in Super Bowl history to feature a gay family.


Celebrities attract attention to a brand which goes massively beyond a 30 second ad space.


Celebrity appearances

While celebrity cameos have been used for some time in Super Bowl commercials, this was not popular about 20 years ago. Now celebrity appearances at the Super Bowl are as much par for the course as beer and chicken wings. Celebrities attract attention to a brand which goes massively beyond a 30 second ad space. Whether they are endorsing a brand, using the space to promote their movies, or part of the halftime entertainment – celebrities are all but dominating the event.