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Lessons Marketers Can Learn From Super Bowl Ads

With each passing year, it becomes increasingly more difficult for us to find ways to engage our audiences. With social media, smartphones, and tablets, it’s rare to capture a person’s full attention for more than a few seconds. Yet, somehow even with all of the additional noise, advertisers in the Super Bowl find a way to not only engage the nation, but to have them anticipating it. In a world where we watch TV while checking our emails and scrolling through Twitter simultaneously, how can we cut through the noise as advertisers?

Although Super Bowl commercials may be a bit more extensive than what we would present to our audience, we can take the underlying themes and apply them to our marketing strategies. Richard Opie, the founder of Museum of Brands said, “a successful commercial engages the viewer, promotes the product, and prevents the viewer from moving onto something else that they’re more urgently wanting to do.” As marketers, that’s exactly what we want to do—capture our viewer’s attention just long enough to sell them on our product.

Know Your Target Audience

The first message we can take away from successful Super Bowl commercials is one we are all aware of—know your target audience. Bud Light was a great example of this with their campaign this year. Their commercial starred Post Malone, a rapper who their target demographic is likely a fan of. Bud Light knows a majority of their buyers are young people between the ages of 21-35 who want to enjoy an inexpensive light beer or seltzer. Therefore, they chose to partner with a celebrity whose fans are in the same age group. Celebrity endorsements are great and can really boost interest in your product, but you have to pick the right celebrity for your product. Study your target demographic and get to know who or what speaks to them, that way you aren’t wasting your time and advertising dollars on a campaign that will flop.

Show the Product Without Focusing on the Product

Like we mentioned earlier, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to engage our audience and get them to give our product their attention. As a result, we are responsible for creating a story so captivating that viewers can’t help but watch. This year especially, Super Bowl ads focused heavily on the production of their commercials. Commercials looked less like commercials and more like short movies. Many of the ads followed a story arc, so we became invested in the story and were interested enough to see how it ended without feeling like brands were pushing a product. That is the key—customers don’t want to feel like they are being sold to.

Make an Emotional Connection

Creating an emotional connection is a great way to make consumers remember you. A great example of this was Kia’s commercial introducing the 2021 Kia Seltos. Although the commercial was to promote Kia’s newest vehicle, the real star of the advertisement was Las Vegas Raiders rookie, Josh Jacobs. The spot showed Josh speaking to his younger self, offering him advice and remembering his difficult path to the NFL after growing up homeless. The ad had very little to do with the actual vehicle, but the emotional impact that Kia created made it a memorable commercial. Remember—marketing can be meaningful without being manipulative.

Take a Chance

How many times do we watch a commercial during the Super Bowl and think to ourselves, wow that was weird…probably a few times at least? When companies are spending millions of dollars on a spot, there’s no reason not to take a chance with a commercial that will hopefully make a lasting impression. During Super Bowl 50 we were introduced to Mountain Dew’s Puppymonkeybaby commercial and people were taken back to say the least. However, Mountain Dew achieved the goal it hoped to reach with this commercial. The spot instantly went viral and whether good or bad, it was getting publicity. As a result, their marketing sales went up by 34% and although it may have been a bizarre commercial, Mountain Dew was successful in the risk they took.

So, the next time you’re planning a marketing campaign, think back to the Super Bowl commercials, take a risk, connect emotionally, create a story and speak to your audience. You may not have the budget to hire Post Malone or create the next Puppymonkeybaby, but you can apply these strategies on a smaller scale. Learn from the mistakes and the successes of other brands and apply some of these strategies to your own marketing.

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