Advice From the Pros

5 Ideas to Steal from Brands that Ruled the Super Bowl

A $5.5 million Super Bowl ad may not be in your budget, but here a few techniques you can afford to copy

With millions of viewers each year, the Super Bowl lives on as the premiere event for brands everywhere. More than the most-watched televised event, it is the one time of the year where viewers welcome and anticipate commercial breaks.

The prestige of these slots means advertisers bring their A-game, so we’ve compiled the best of the best Super Bowl brand ideas for you to emulate in your marketing efforts.

  1. Express Yourself

Set to a moving score of violins, Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad paid tribute to its founder and the immigrant history of America. Many took the ad to be a commentary on immigration and today’s political climate, and speculated the 60-second spot was a criticism of the current administration.

Audi also switched gears to debut a touching commercial about a father’s hope for gender equality (equal pay) for his young daughter.

Both immigration and equal pay are often topics fraught with discord and bipartisan friction, but these brands took chances that paid off. They sparked a ton of conversation, made multiple headlines and trended on social media.

Taking a stand on an issue is something that should be meticulously evaluated and carefully executed. However, aligning your brand with the values of your employees and consumers can generate awareness and engender loyalty.

  1. Try Real Time

Viewers were first treated to a live Super Bowl commercial in 1981, when Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company ran a taste test. This year Snickers also decided to unwrap their ad live during the big game.

Think of ways you can incorporate live streaming into your marketing and communications plans. Many consumers crave the authenticity and immediacy that live action provides.In order to have a successful broadcast you’ll also want to publicize the time you’re set to go live. Snickers released teasers in the days prior to the game to pump up anticipation. The candy brand also set up a 36-hour live stream leading up to the game that resulted in tons of shareable content.

  1. Go Long

Buffalo Wild Wings actually released a series of spots featuring NFL icon Brett Favre. The campaign, “The Conspiracy” features Favre on a mission to uncover the forces behind a scheme that led to his all-time interception record. In the finale of this long-form ad, Favre resolves that Buffalo Wild Wings was behind the plot to drive up his number of interceptions.

Think of how you can stretch out your content. Break up that long article into a series of mini blog posts or develop an engaging video series. This keeps visitors coming back to your content and your brand top-of-mind.

  1. Cover the Field

Not only did 84 Lumber premiere their first-ever Super Bowl commercial, “The Journey Begins,” they drove viewers to a related microsite in the ad. During the spot we see a mother and daughter on a grueling trek across Mexico. We don’t see where the journey ends, because the ad cuts to a prompt for viewers to visit a microsite to see the remainder of the commercial. Interest in the conclusion of the family’s story was intense as traffic flooded the site and crashed it temporarily.

Squarespace also used a microsite to interact with their audience across different platforms. The ad begins with John Malkovich, very confusedly asking, “How is it that is taken?” Malkovich becomes even more angry when sees who it is actually occupying his domain.

In actuality John Malkovich has made the transition to fashion designer. Those who head to are treated to a splash page of the other John Malkovich, an award-winning fisher, that falls away to reveal Malkovich’s fashion website presented by Squarespace.

In what ways can you bring your brand campaigns to life? Consider creating a microsite or a landing page to attract more leads and engage visitors longer. Be sure to decide how you’ll coordinate these efforts across social media channels.

  1. Tie In Pop Culture

50 Shades of Grey is a pop culture phenomenon and whether you love or loathe the film, you’re sure to know what it’s about. With the sequel premiere set for the same week as the Super Bowl, T-Mobile’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” spoof was a strong example of the timely use of a pop culture tie-in.

Stay abreast of news and popular culture and look for ways that you can tie your message into these trends. This technique allows you to hook your audience with a buzzed-about topic and communicate your brand messages.

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