The Super Bowl. The most watched sporting event of the year – every year.
The Super Bowl. The Oscars of advertising.
While the best two American Football teams battle it out for jewellery and glory, marketeers are sitting at the edge of the seat ready to watch the real sport. The ad-breaks.
There is no bigger advertising showcase. It is one of the only times in the annual calendar the world sits up and listens to what brands are saying. And boy do brands, creatives and executives feel the strain. Some thrive under pressure, producing smart, satirical, memorable ads that speak to the nation, others crack and they try too hard to wow, people please or be philosophical. This year felt like more of a TV showcase than ever with brands hoping to drive earned media off the back of their content.
Dani and I are going to pick our favourite three ads each and tell you why the Super Bowl can still be super for your brand.
Rosie’s Top Three
Text Talk – NO MORE
The Super Bowl has an audience of roughly 100m. I love that this powerful and worthwhile campaign reached this large audience. This ad to raise awareness of domestic abuse doesn’t use horror stories or violence to hit the message home. Instead it uses something much more sinister, the power of our imagination. The content shows us a conversation between two friends on a phone on the night of the Super Bowl. As an audience we read the undertones and what is not said. This campaign works because it ties into the audience’s social behaviour and it’s restrained yet shocking. Well done NO MORE!
NFL – Super Bowl 50 Babies Choir
This advert isn’t selling anything. However, as a Media Agency Creative this stands out to me because it hails from a strong insight. There is always a rise in births in the winning Super Bowl city nine months after the match. Celebrations indeed! What this lovely piece of content does is bring this to life in an endearing, witty and never crude manner. NFL assembled choirs from winning cities of ‘Super Bowl babies’. Each sing about how they came to be – with the accompaniment of Seal. It’s funny, cute and I immediately wanted to share and rewatch it. For NFL on the occasion of their 50th Super Bowl event, it showcases their heritage in a real and original way!
T-Mobile – Restricted Bling
If you mix Drake, the hottest song of 2015 and some humour you were always going to get a great piece of content. What I think we can learn from this advert is the power of the zeitgeist. This wasn’t the best advert of the Superbowl or the wittiest, but it instantly made you chuckle. Using the cultural references that people love can work positively for your brand and T-Mobile did that with panache.
Dani’s Top Three
You might spend years training to be a good creative. Refining your craft. Working out what’s smart, what’s insightful, what’s effective. Then Puppymonkeybaby comes and salsas all over everything you’ve learned with chubby little baby feet. Isn’t it brilliant? Some people say the spot is horrifying. Some people (me) think it’s one of the best adverts of all time. Either way it’s memorable and popular in the ‘everybody talking about it’ sense. Putting a hashtag in the endline shows that Mountain Dew were gunning for this kind of internet fame. Amidst the same old safe and moody car ads and sell out celebs, puppy monkey baby steals the show. And maybe a few nightmares.
The ‘Make Love Not War’ spot a couple years back showed that Lynx’s (Axe if we’re speaking American) naked ladies days were behind them, but ‘Find Your Magic’ goes a little further to reframe the brand. Realising that men are more than a mindless glob of hormones, it tells them to rip up the rules of attractiveness and just do their own thing. I wouldn’t go so far to say it’s empowering, but it’s certainly more inclusive. And while brand bods reckon the aim is to target older audience, I reckon they’re reaching for something far greater by traipsing the nuanced landscape of modern masculinity.
Colgate make their first ever Superbowl appearance and don’t try and sell toothpaste. Instead the brand used the multi-million dollar spot (they didn’t get a discount) to tell people to turn off their taps (faucets if we’re still speaking American). Those who say the money could have gone straight to charity are right, but missing the point. Perhaps the visuals shouldn’t have nodded to people in developing countries — because using water doesn’t directly deprive others — but the main message to not waste water needlessly still stands. The fact that this was originally created for Colgate Peru and then put forward for the Super Bowl slot goes to show that this was all about being heard by as many people as possible. More brands being generous with their platform please.