Super Bowl 52: Winners and Losers on the Big Stage

What a game! I had no rooting interest on the field this year, so I was happy to enjoy the back-and-forth action that went down to the wire. Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on the franchise’s first championship! Now let’s move on to the competitors who paid big bucks to catch a piece of the action — and the audience’s purchasing power.

Icelandic Vikings on The All-New Ram 1500

Winners

  • The Ram Trucks commercial had it all: natural product integration, a journey to the Super Bowl, a compelling story, great music and a not-so-subtle jab at the home team. It even contained a strong call-to-action (CTA), inviting viewers to watch the full story on its website.
  • “It’s a Tide ad.” A laundry detergent company won the Super Bowl. Tide ran a commercial in every quarter telling viewers how every other ad was actually a Tide ad. Its efforts spilled over to social media, as other brands started to join the conversation, realizing their own ads were actually Tide ads. What’s even better than telling a great story? Other people (and brands) telling your story for you. Plus, Tide’s dominance helped take attention off the ridiculous Tide Pod Challenge, which the company only mentioned on social (smart move).

  • Doritos and Mountain Dew joined forces in the rap battle to end all rap battles. Peter Dinklage (Doritos Blaze) and Morgan Freeman (Mountain Dew Ice) showcased two new products in a joint 60-second spot, inviting viewers to vote for their favorite (#SPITFIRE or #ICECOLD) on social. And vote they did! The two PepsiCo brands won Twitter’s inaugural BrandBowl by driving the highest velocity of most-tweets-per-minute. The spot was entertaining, introduced new products to a receptive audience, integrated well with social and contained a strong CTA. Who did you vote for: #SPITFIRE or #ICECOLD?
  • Wendy’s roasted its main competitor with McDonald’s own website. If you follow the fast food brand on Twitter, its commercial continued the same sassy tone that the brand is known for. Brand voice needs to be consistent across all platforms and marketing vehicles, and Wendy’s is all in. Now millions of Super Bowl viewers know where to go for fresh, never frozen beef — and it’s not the Frozen, er Golden Arches.
  • The NFL had a long and controversial season, but the league was a big winner on Super Bowl Sunday with a thrilling game and epic commercial. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr. have big plans in Touchdown Celebrations to Come. The league teased the commercial throughout the game, piquing the audience’s interest, and then nailed its moment (just like Eli and OBJ did). This campaign had it all: nostalgia, a big market team, two popular stars, an iconic movie and a reminder there are more touchdowns to come next season, which isn’t that far away.

Iconic FDNY (Fire Dept of New York) Rescue

  • Verizon answered the call by dedicating its Super Bowl spot to first responders. The telecommunications company connected survivors with first responders who saved their lives, so they could say thanks. It was a powerful ad that highlighted often unsung heroes and had a strong connection to the brand. (This is important with any ad to avoid a disconnect with the viewing audience.) Listening to the phone calls between survivors and first responders made us smile, and we join with Verizon in offering #AllOurThanks to first responders everywhere.
  • Budweiser highlighted its corporate responsibility efforts by showcasing its water donation program. The King of Beers has delivered cans of water to areas hit by natural disasters for 30 years and is adding another brewery to its program by the end of 2018. The company’s social platforms carried the message further, inviting visitors to learn more about its program and donate to relief efforts. The initial notes of Stand By You grabbed viewers’ attention and the heart-warming (and timely) message made us feel good, even without its famous Clydesdales. (Don’t worry, the famous Clydesdales did appear in Beer Country online.)

Losers

  • How does a company win and lose in the same game? Ask Ram Trucks. The company’s Icelandic Vikings commercial was a hit, but its Built to Serve ad fell flat — and offended many. We appreciate the brand’s attempt to create a sense of community among its customers and highlighting their call to serve, but using Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech was not the way to go. The brand’s 2013 Super Bowl commercial utilized Paul Harvey’s So God Made a Farmer speech in a similar format, which made sense — and was a hit with the audience. It’s tempting to try to recreate the past, but that’s a risky proposition, especially when you fail the second time around.
  • Ditto, T-Mobile. The mobile company likes to be seen as disrupting its industry, but missed the mark with its Super Bowl ad, Little Ones. I was surprised when the logo appeared at the end of the commercial and saw no connection to the brand or what it does. (Note the contrast with Verizon’s ad, which utilized its capabilities to do good and won with viewers.)
  • The all-new Chevy Traverse is a well-designed family car, and its commercial does a fantastic job of highlighting that. Unfortunately, this ad has been running for at least a month. Why spend $5 million on a media buy to run regular content?

Honorable Mention

  • Best Continuation of Overall Campaign: Toyota, Good Odds (Mobility for All)
  • Most Improved: Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans
  • Target Audience Hit: Avocados from Mexico, #GuacWorld
  • Carried Over Post-Game Momentum: Mucinex, POSTGAME (#SuperSickMonday)

Overall, the ads were as strong as the game. Who was the biggest winner? The audience. Unless we were in a Tide ad too.

Do you agree with our winners, losers and honorable mention?
Who won your Brand Bowl?

I watch the commercials all year-
Jaime

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Super Bowl 50: Winners & Losers on the Big Stage

We know who won on the field, but who won the battle of the brands? Here’s our take on the winners and losers of Super Bowl 50 advertisers.

“If it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.” -David Ogilvy

Portraits by Jeep for Super Bowl 50

Jeep’s ads, including Portraits, were on point.

Winners

  • Give A Damn, Budweiser: First, the King of Beers spent $5 million on a PSA condemning drinking and driving. 👍 Second, they featured none other than Dame Helen Mirren, who is known for portraying strong, frank women, and she didn’t mince words. Third, for every #GiveADamn mention, Budweiser donated $1 toward safe driving programs. Drinking & driving is a serious problem, and the ad’s timing was perfect.
  • Ultrasound, Doritos: This ad held our attention, featured the product prominently and made us crave Doritos! It makes sense for a snack brand to advertise during the big game, and this year concluded the company’s strong 10-year run of crowdsourced commercials. Doritos crunched its way to being the second most mentioned brand on Twitter during the game.

  • Portraits & 4x4ever, Jeep: The auto manufacturer scored twice this year. Portraits grabbed our attention with black and white images of Jeep owners that looked like they were captured on a (vertical) smartphone. More importantly, the brand spoke to its core audience in both spots, recognizing that Jeep owners crave experiences and live an adventurous, off-road lifestyle. “We don’t make Jeep. You do.”
  • The Longest Chase, Toyota: “Wait. Is this a Prius?”  Toyota wanted to convey that the all-new 2016 Prius isn’t just a comfortable ride. How do you do that in a fun, entertaining way? Have four buddies rob a bank, have their getaway car towed and outrun police on a wild, multistate chase. Speed, handling, gas mileage, spacious interior… #GoPriusGo
  • Storm’s a-Brewin’, Death Wish Coffee: The self-proclaimed maker of the strongest coffee in the world won this year’s Small Business, Big Game contest by Intuit, and its spot didn’t disappoint. Vikings? A raging storm? A day of reckoning? On brand for a company that uses a skull and crossbones in its logo. Two thumbs up for the prominent product and website placement at the end.

Honorable Mention

  • Esurance: You may have noticed that the online auto insurance company only advertised during the pre-game (when price tags are a little lower). So how did it steal the show? By enticing Twitter users to retweet its brand-appropriate tweets to enter to win big $$. Esurance was the most mentioned brand on Twitter during the game (835,101 tweets — 4x that of #2, per Amobee Brand Intelligence) and even trended on Facebook — with a Twitter contest.

Losers

  • #puppymonkeybaby, Mountain Dew: This bizarre ad reinforced that all publicity is not good publicity. Yes, people were talking about it, but most of it wasn’t good. We love puppies, monkeys and babies, but combining them doesn’t excite us — or make us want to drink MTN DEW Kickstart. After this commercial, we’re staying as far away from it as possible.

  • A New Truck to Love, Honda: Don’t get us wrong; we love Queen. But be honest: Did you actually remember which company ran this ad? Or were you just singing along to a great song? So were we, but that’s tough to justify the hefty price tag ($10 mil?).

  • Breathe, Michelob Ultra: Was it just us or were you a little confused by this spot too? We get that Michelob Ultra targets athletic and fit people, not your stereotypical beer drinkers, but there had to be a better way to show that — and drop $5 million.
  • What We Were Thinking, Quicken Loans: We’re all about technology making things easier but should applying for a mortgage be that easy? Maybe the biggest purchase of your life shouldn’t be done while waiting for your food at a restaurant. This commercial seemed to imply that an app could fix our economy overnight, which seems ridiculous. Let’s not #RocketMortgage our way into another recession.
  • Great Loans for Great People, SoFi: We touched on startup SoFi heading to the big game previously. While admirable, we’re not sure that its ad was the best way to spend 20% of its annual marketing budget. The company’s looking for a pretty specific customer, and the Super Bowl might not have been the best way to reach that market. We love fellow small businesses and startups (even ones with deep pockets), so we hope we’re wrong here.

That’s our take on the winners and losers of Super Bowl 50. Congrats to the Broncos and every advertiser who sees a legit return on its investment. As a wise man once said, “if it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.”

Join the Post Game Huddle

Do you agree with our advertising winners and losers?

Would you advertise during the Super Bowl if you had the budget?

Were you on social media during the game? What platform were you on the most?

Still craving Doritos (and Death Wish Coffee),
Jaime

Let’s chat (about the Super Bowl, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Movin’ on Up: Small Businesses Go to the Big Game

It all started with a groundbreaking company that just wanted to encourage more interest amongst girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Who could predict that Goldieblox would become the first small business to advertise during the Super Bowl?

GoldieBlox has changed the game.

GoldieBlox became the first small business to advertise in the Super Bowl in 2014.
Screenshot courtesy of Goldieblox.com.

In 2014, Intuit ran a contest to award one small business the opportunity of a lifetime — the chance to advertise during the big game. GoldieBlox won the contest, won the Super Bowl audience over with a great ad and has been growing rapidly ever since.

Breaking Through Gender Stereotypes: Are We Making Progress?

This year, it’s Death Wish Coffee Company‘s turn. The self-proclaimed Home of the World’s Strongest Coffee has an incredible opportunity to reach millions around the world in 30 seconds. As big fans of good coffee and fellow small businesses, we hope Death Wish Coffee Company becomes a household name after OWN IT airs during Super Bowl 50.

Death Wish Coffee Co is the 2016 winner of Intuit's Small Business, Big Game contest!

Death Wish Coffee Company is hoping to make a big splash in the big game with OWN IT.
Screenshot courtesy of Intuit’s SmallBusinessBigGame.com.

With small businesses starting to make appearances during the big game, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that one is making the trip on its own. Alternative lender Social Finance, also known as SoFi, is dropping some serious cash — 20% of its annual budget — to introduce itself to the world.

Here’s the catch: like most startups, SoFi’s ideal customer is a specific niche market —  qualified millennials who want to refinance student loans as personal loans. The company began to expand its offerings to mortgages and some consumer loans last year and expected these areas to overtake refinanced student loans as its largest areas of business by the end of 2015.

Still, is it worth it? Will SoFi’s 30-second spot reach enough members of its target audience (either directly or indirectly) to achieve its goals? While SoFi has a much larger budget than most startups and small businesses, the company is still taking a huge gamble to introduce itself to the world. Plus, the financial sector hasn’t been a major player in Super Bowl advertising of late. Will SoFi win big or lose it all to one ad?

If you had the budget to advertise in the Super Bowl, would you? Would it be the best use of $5+ million dollars for your company? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please let me know your decision in the comments below!

p.s. What are your Super Bowl 50 predictions — winning team and advertiser?

Super Bowl dreamin’,
Jaime

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Super Bowl XLVII: Not A Complete Blackout

I planned on writing about marketing lessons to be had from some of the better Super Bowl commercials until I read 5 Marketing Lessons From the Super Bowl’s Most Popular Commercials from the fine folks at Entrepreneur this morning via Pulse. So that’s been done.

Speaking of the Super Bowl commercials, I felt like they grew more interesting along with the game in the second half, and more specifically, after the blackout. Or I should say during the blackout.

How about Oreo? It almost seemed as if the company knew the blackout was coming. (Hmm, cue up the conspiracy theorists.) More likely, this fun brand was just prepared for the big game instead of sitting back and watching its ad run. Talk about great social media management. And better yet, it’s impromptu ad reminding us all that “You Can Still Dunk In The Dark.” actually made me crave an Oreo. Go figure, an ad that sells!

Oreo Super Bowl blackout ad

As of the writing of this post, Oreo’s clever tweet had earned nearly 16,000 retweets and almost 6,000 favorites on Twitter alone not too mention its success on other social media platforms. There’s something to say about being ready to take advantage of an opportunity!

Of course, Budweiser weighed in with another winner. I almost expect this giant in the beer industry to top USA Today’s Ad Meter and satisfy fans annually. The company used its famous Clydesdales for instant brand recognition and included a direct call to action, which many ads did not. People watching the commercial were asked to help name the baby Clydesdale pictured in it by suggesting names with the hashtag #clydesdales on Twitter.

Budweiser just launched its first-ever Twitter account on January 27th (after Twitter introduced age verification), so the commercial was a great way to attract attention to its new handle. As of February 5th, the new account already has nearly 10,500 followers despite being restricted to fans at least 21 years old.

Last, but certainly not least, let’s not forget about JELL-O! The legendary snack company came on right after the dramatic ending to congratulate San Francisco on being #2. How many companies have thought of that strategy?! JELL-O promised fans in San Fran free product today (Feb 5th), because winners shouldn’t have all the fun.

In addition to free pudding, distraught 49ers fans can install the Baltimore Blocker Google Chrome extension, which replaces the words Baltimore and Ravens anywhere they appear on the Internet with blah blah blah and swaps out pictures of celebrating Ravens fans with cute animals. This strategy has people talking on Twitter, Facebook and watching the pudding drop on the company’s website. “Who’s the big winner now, Baltimore?”

Well, that’s my wrap on Super Bowl XLVII, which despite a dramatic second half and some intriguing commercials, will be remembered for a blackout. While I had no loyalties on either side, I am happy for Dean Pees, current Baltimore defensive coordinator and former Kent State head football coach. Way to represent, Coach Pees!

What’s your take? Did you enjoy the game? The commercials? Or did you switch over and watch Downtown Abbey? (I DVR’d it.)

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or hit me up on social media. I”m always up for a discussion, especially on football or commercials.

Waiting for pitchers and catchers to report-
Jaime

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The Harbowl: A Marketer’s Dream (Oh, And Those $3.7 Million Ads!)

As marketers, we’re always looking for the story beyond the story. The one that will draw you in, grab your emotions and make you care. Yes, even for mammoth events like the Super Bowl.

In 2013, the game is full of story lines, but the one grabbing everyone’s attention is the sibling rivalry. For the first time, two brothers, John and Jim Harbaugh, will lead their teams in the biggest game of the year. Imagine what their parents, Jack and Jackie, are thinking.

Harbowl

Of course, there are other story lines as well. Ray Lewis’ final game in a remarkable career. The overnight sensation Colin Kaepernick has become. With the game on the line, how confident is anyone in David Akers? Including David Akers?

While the game actually looks exciting this year (not always the case), people around the world will tune in for the ads. As I used to ask my training session attendees, what’s the one day of the year that people watch advertising? Yep, the Super Bowl. In fact, an estimated 44% of women and 31% of men admitted to tuning into the game ‘primarily for the commercials,’ according to a 2012 survey by CouponCabin.com.

And at $3.7 million per 30-second spot (according to the Ad Age Data Center), this year’s advertisers will once again be shelling out. Obviously these companies and brands feel like the ROI (return on investment) they generate makes the high price tag worthwhile. It’s hard to believe that when you actually watch some of the spots though.

It has been interesting to see the increase in social media marketing leading up to, during and after the game. Pepsi made quite a splash in 2010 by only utilizing social media for the big game. I’m not saying that’s the right choice for everyone, but it definitely raised some eyebrows around the industry and helped fuel the discussion about social media marketing as a legitimate option, even for larger companies.

Speaking of Super Bowl advertising, what’s your favorite? Immediately, two ads/advertisers come to mind for me. The first is Budweiser, who does a fantastic job every year delivering attention-grabbing ads that tie into their brand. (No, I’m not a customer; I’m more of a liquor fan.) It’s not just that people are still talking about their ads the days following the big game, but they’re also talking about Budweiser. (That’s not always the case with popular commercials.)

One of my favorite Budweiser spots (of many) is Respect, aired during the ’02 game. It was Budweiser’s tribute to New York City after the terrorist attacks the previous fall.

My other favorite is the iconic Mean Joe Greene commercial for Coca-Cola which aired during the 1980 game. Yes, I’m a Steelers fan, but the spot still resonates with viewers today and instantly brings Coca-Cola to mind. (In a tribute to the ad’s popularity and effectiveness, Downy has actually remade the spot for this year’s game.)

Now I’m passing the ball to you. What’s your favorite Super Bowl commercial or advertiser?

Oh, and one more question… John or Jim?

Advertising enthusiast & football fanatic,
Jaime

Image credit: marsmet481 on Flickr

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Advertising: Do You Watch?

Are you a fan of ads? In the age of TIVO and DVRs, you’re probably thinking that’s not even relevant anymore. But I’m talking about all types of advertisements, from magazine and online ads to billboards and yes, television. I came across an article on the ‘winners’ of Olympic advertising, so this subject came to mind.

Would you advertise here? I would.
Photo credit: I Do Reviews

As an advertising major, I probably tend to pay attention to advertising more than most. In past training sessions on the effectiveness of advertising, I would ask attendees the one day of the year when folks actually watch TV for the ads. Normally someone would interject “the Super Bowl!” which is what I was looking for. While an ardent football fan, I do look forward to the ads as well, as sometimes the game itself isn’t exactly entertaining (unless you’re a fan of the winning team, of course). I did always find it interesting that most of the attendees’ favorite ads didn’t make them think of the advertiser. An expensive way to just make someone laugh, no?

The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Don Draper.
Photo credit: FOLLOWINGTHEBUZZ

With the success of Mad Men, it seems like advertising has become a little more popular again (thanks, Don Draper). However, I’m curious as to whether people are actually paying attention to it or just watching this entertaining TV show.

So, back to my original question. Do you pay attention to advertising?


What’s your favorite ad? Or advertiser? By the way, if you’re interested in the article I mentioned at the beginning of my post, here you go.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Jaime

Sports & Leisure: Scoring Points and Creating Fans

sports fans

Fun times at the Kentucky Derby!

It’s no surprise that fan is the root of fanatic. People are passionate about their sports teams, so why not make your brand an integral part? From game day giveaways to local team tie-ins, you can elicit as much passion about your company as the home team.

Becoming a part of game day is a great way to get involved with the local community. Brand popular giveaways, such as noisemakers, signs, stadium cups or lanyards, to hand out at the gate or pre-game tailgating events. Help fans become the 12th man by giving away branded rally towels or shirts to create a ‘black-out’ effect – a sea of black across the stands (or use any team color). Shoot t-shirts with your company’s message into the stands during stops in the action to keep the passion and energy high.

Not going to the game? Bring the excitement into the office. Make your employees the MVPs of a celebration honoring the local sports team or a season kickoff, complete with branded giveaways and merchandise. Pair this special day with a cook-off or potluck to foster team spirit and company pride within your organization. Reward winners or all participants with prizes to acknowledge their efforts. Giving branded merchandise to employees that they’ll use outside of work is an unobtrusive way to spread your message and potentially generate new business.

Don’t limit creating fans of your company to the field or the office. Branching out into leisure time activities is an easy way to build rapport with potential customers, who are everywhere – shopping at stores, strolling parks, attending community festivals, etc. Sponsor teams or leagues, donate branded giveaways for fairs or partner with fellow local companies to create programs that will benefit the community and generate goodwill about your company at the same time. For example, a casual healthy eating restaurant could partner with a fitness center to promote healthy living. Both companies promote the program (and each other) by offering discounted products and services (15% off a fitness center registration with a receipt from the restaurant), helpful information (healthy living tips) and rewards to encourage participation (a free ‘healthy eating set’ after working out at the fitness center 10 times). Not only does partnering with other companies help promote your organization, it can also help with advertising costs. Split the cost of co-branded merchandise, so it’s a winning situation for both companies and the community.

Don’t forget the face paint…

Jaime