Ah yes, the Super Bowl. The annual celebration of all things America: contact sports, copious amounts of (delicious) junk food, and capitalism. Each year, the Super Bowl pits the NFL’s finest against one another, but also pits brands against one another in an equally important battle for a Super Bowl win. It’s like Christmas morning for marketers and advertisers, getting to see how brands have put their millions of dollars to use. This year’s batch of commercials have been the center of the office buzz since the big game. We’re here to fill you in on our favorites, and break down why each spot was so successful.
Jeep Wins with Timeliness and Nostalgia:
Two of the biggest traits of effective marketing are timeliness and the ability to elicit an emotional response. Jeep ticked both boxes with their ‘Groundhog Day’ spot featuring Bill Murray. Super Bowl Sunday fell on Groundhog Day this year, and Jeep took the opportunity to capitalize on this coincidence by bringing in Mr. Murray to relive his popular Groundhog Days all over again, with a twist this time—Bill gets to drive around in a shiny new Jeep. Jeep’s spot is a winner thanks to its effortless humor, clever use of a well-known holiday and film, and effective use of a celebrity appearance.
Google Tugs the Heartstrings:
Talk about eliciting an emotional response. Google’s ‘Loretta’ spot had tears welling in the eyes of everyone in the office. This ad represents a perfect example of doing less with more. Google skipped the celebrity cameos, set-pieces, and mass production in favor of a simple but unforgettable story. In under 90 seconds, Google is able to portray the beauty of love and marriage, promote the simplicity of their products, and make you want to call your significant other. Not bad.
Kia Goes Cross-Platform:
Kia capitalized on one of the most compelling storylines of this year’s NFL season: rookie running back Josh Jacobs’ ascent from homeless youth to starter in the NFL. The ad spot features Jacobs giving advice to his younger self, encouraging him to “Give It Everything,” which is, conveniently, Kia’s tagline for their new Seltos model! But Kia’s campaign really shines beyond the 60-second commercial. Kia also sponsored a thread on Twitter between Josh Jacobs and his younger self, and committed to donate $1,000 per yard of offense during the big game in an effort to reduce youth homelessness. Kia successfully pulled off a multi-platform campaign focused on creating change, which is a huge win. Many consumers may not remember the model of Kia they’re supposed to, but they might remember Kia as a brand focused on doing good.
Saucony Goes Sustainable:
Running shoe brand Saucony took their first step into Super Bowl advertising with a short and sweet spot focused on sustainability. The Boston-based brand took the opportunity to position themselves as a leader in sustainability in the footwear industry by promoting their efforts to create their first biodegradable shoes. As environmental concerns continue to grow, especially among younger consumers, Saucony is making a bid to earn brand loyalty through eco-friendliness. The campaign works thanks to Saucony’s “Run For Good” positioning, and demonstrates that the brand is willing and ready to solve the problem of waste in their industry.
Planters (Literally) Revives Their Brand:
Household name, Planters, made a huge splash before the big game by seemingly killing off their long-time monocle-wearing mascot, Mr. Planter. It was a move that had social media (and most marketers) scratching their heads. Why kill off an icon of your brand that’s been in place for a century? Planters gave us the answer on Superbowl Sunday: because we can revive him as a younger, cuter version of himself. Consumers of all ages have been drawn to the undeniably cute versions of familiar characters lately, and Planters is ready to cash in on the trend. From Baby Groot to Baby Yoda, the Planters team likely hoped to put Baby Planter in the mix. Whether or not that will pan out remains to be seen, but the buzz that an underwhelming snack brand was able to generate in the past few weeks was certainly a success.
From sappy to silly, Super Bowl ads always run the gambit. Some hit home, some fall flat. The difference between success and failure usually comes from the brand’s ability to truly understand their audience and deliver messaging that is an accurate representation of their brand values and relevant topics to their consumers.