Marketing / Brand Intelligence: How the Super Bowl is the ultimate in brand awareness

Brand Intelligence: How the Super Bowl is the ultimate in brand awareness

Whenever I go to any sort of event about content, at some point someone will mention the Super Bowl. The game is watched by approximately 100 million people and the TV commercials surrounding it are big business - brands will pay a minimum of $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime.

When I Google “Super Bowl 2017” there are nearly as many stories about commercials and the half-time entertainment as there are about the game and who won.  On Wikipedia it states many people only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials.

After watching a few ads, it is obvious for some companies there is no expense spared in making these commercials. There are Hollywood A-list actors as well as amazing special effects and cinematographic techniques. Many are made by Oscar-nominated filmmakers.

But for the brands that have shelled out the big bucks to get airtime, there is always one company that ends up dominating and gets people talking the most.

Last year it was Kia Motors Hero’s Journey, where Melissa McCarthy goes on an amusing mission to save the planet. It took top spot in USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter – a barometer for measuring public opinion on the Super Bowl advertising. Her bid to save whales, trees, rhinos and the melting ice caps, while highlighting important environmental concerns it did so in a comical way.

In 2016 the honour was bestowed onto Hyundai’s for its ‘First Date’ ad featuring comedian Kevin Hart.  Hart tracked his daughter’s whereabouts while she was out on a date through a new technology feature on Hyundai’s premium Genesis sedan. It was an amusing ad and obviously with Hart being the main star it makes you laugh.

Laughter seemed to be the main theme among the ads scoring highly in USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter. Heinz in 2016 produced an extremely funny ad called ‘Wiener Stampede’, which had Wiener dogs dressed up in hot dog costumes chasing bottles of ketchup and mustards, while Doritos also featured dogs dressing up as humans to get into a shop to buy the snack.

There is something about commercials and the Super Bowl that has some form of hysteria attached to it.  Maybe it’s the emotion of two rival football teams competing against each other or the possibility of watching Justin Timberlake, Beyonce or Coldplay live at half-time – the Super Bowl creates a buzz.

The buzz from Oreo sending out a tweet that said ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ with an image of a sole Oreo biscuit after the Super Bowl suffered a massive blackout in 2013 can still be felt today. I was recently at a conference when one of the speakers mentioned how that tweet was an example of marketing genius.

If people are still talking about your brand a few years after the event, I would say that is one good bit of publicity.

Obviously the Oreo scenario is something that is extremely difficult to recreate, as the chances of another Super Bowl event suffering a massive blackout would probably very low. But brands can learn a few things from the success of Oreo’s tweet. That is how to create stories from events which happen in our day to day lives.

One thing is for sure: the Super Bowl creates a buzz about commercials and brands that no other event comes close to.

Jo byline


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