Superbowl Sunday, a Marketer’s Dream?
We love a bit of Super Bowl Sunday here at H+A HQ, and stayed up silly hours to witness the Patriots make a heroic comeback to secure their fifth title.
As well as the football and the inimitable Tom Brady, we also love to watch it for the ads, which are now as much a part of this global sporting event as the game itself. Of course, it’s rare that TV ads garner mega PR publicity here unless it’s controversial, or just really terrible. The Irish Cancer Society’s ‘Get Cancer’ campaign generated a negative backlash and received widespread coverage recently, and we can all name bad TV ads (I’d have liked to Cillit Banged Barry Scott into a clogged up drain if I’m honest, thankfully he’s been replaced by a younger, less annoying model).
But getting back to topic… the Super Bowl is an exception when it comes to TV advertising. It’s like the Oscars of America’s ad industry. It remains the most expensive TV advertising platform globally, costing brands $5m for 30 second spots and brands spending an additional $1-2m on production and marketing the ads themselves (source: Mary Scott of UEG, sports and entertainment marketing agency).
While we’re a far cry from these eye-watering budgets here, there are seminal PR and marketing lessons to take from this global sporting phenomenon that commands an audience of 110million people Stateside, and countless more internationally:
- Lesson #1: leverage ‘earned media’ opportunities off the TV spots, so ask yourself ‘how can we spin some PR off the back of this’? Budweiser gave exclusive media briefings a month ago to preview their ads, and show how the campaign was going to work across all channels
- Lesson #2: Avoid the politics. The hot potato this year was Trump and his nefarious politics. The brands that performed the best and got the best feedback were those that brought a bit of light relief to viewers and avoided making heavy political statements. Take a bow Kia and Lady Gaga who killed it (and in Super Bowl tradition, didn’t get paid. Although like Bruno Mars and Beyoncé before her, her record sales are likely to surge big time on the back of her performance)
- Lesson #3: Big name celebrities will take the money! This year’s Super Bowl was like a ‘Who’s Who’ of mega TV and film stars - Melissa McCarthy for Kia, Miranda Kerr for Buick, Justin Bieber, Snoop Dog and Martha Stewart for T-Mobile. So if you’ve got plenty of ‘spenny’ then look to the ‘schlebs’ if you want to drive publicity off-air
Here at H+A HQ we’ve rounded up our favourite of this year’s Super Bowl commercials for you (you’re welcome).
- Hard to beat Melissa McCarthy for Kia. She’s saving whales and protecting trees while driving a fuel efficient cross over. Funny.
- John Malkovitch being, well, John Malkovitch for domain generator Square Space
- We love Budweiser. This year’s ad touched on immigration, without forcing the politics too hard, it was inferred but that still didn’t stop the haters with a #BoycottBudweiser trending soon after it was aired. Still, brands need to be brave and stand up for their values, and this story is well told.
- Pope Francis. Yes, you read that right, his Holiness (a self confessed sports nut) delivered a special Super Bowl message about peace for his followers. Fair play Francis, fair play. Just shows you what a global marketing platform the Super Bowl is these days.
- Air BnB’s #WeAccept 30 second slot was a major winner for us. Besides being exceptionally relevant amidst Trump’s travel ban attempts, Air BnB only purchased the slot on Thursday night. Air BnB CEO, Brian Chesky said that the ad was filmed using employees – Proving that originality and simplicity always prevail as a winning combo for PR pros and marketers.
And to finish it off here’s a photo of Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen celebrating his epic performance with a kiss (#couplegoals), while daughter Vivian picks her nose. Nobody’s perfect hey!