Monday, February 5, 2018

Hashtags Were More Memorable Than SuperBowl52 Ads

Image Credit: NFL
Super Bowl 52 ended like a super game should end: everything coming down to a single play to decide the winner. But if you live and breathe marketing and branding, the game is just a minor blip on your radar. Your focus is the ads that take place in between the football action. With a staggering cost of “north of $5 million for 30 incredibly short seconds,” is it possible for a brand to tell its story effectively and memorably? Were there any ads that rivaled Apple’s 1984 ad? Were there any Tweets that rivaled Oreo’s Tweet during the 2013 power outage? Bottom line, can YOU recall any of the ads?

While noted in my post last year, this quote from Landor Associates is worth repeating:

"Here are three tips to help you, your dad, or even your football-crazed grandma decide which brands scored a touchdown with their commercials: Is the ad on-brand? Will you remember the brand tomorrow? And, does the ad speak to the times?”
During the game, Jim Joseph hosted his annual #SuperBowlExp party on Twitter (minus chips and guacamole). Although it's always fun to see what fellow branding and marketing folks say about the ads in real time, there are a couple of challenges. First, some ads run in regional or local markets, so there were some instances that Tweets referenced ads I didn’t see. Second, there are so many hashtags that draw attention to the ads that it’s sometimes a challenge to keep up – for instance, #BrandBowl, #BrandBowl52 (led by @TwitterMktg on Twitter for the first time), #SuperBowlAds, etc.

This year, many brands and brand icons were noticeably absent. There were no Oreos, Coca-Cola polar bears, or the group of Clydesdales with their pal, the adorable Dalmatian. While many automobile brands were present, Audi and Volkswagen were noticeably absent. These brands and icons have become part of the Super Bowl advertising tradition, so viewers were left to wonder why they were absent.

Without further ado, here were my five favorite ads:

TOYOTA – “Start Your Impossible Dream” – This ad told the inspiring story of Lauren Woolstencroft, an eight-time Paralympic gold medalist born without legs below the knee and no left arm below the elbow. Woolstencroft, an alpine skier from Canada, said, “I hope that my story encourages and inspires others around the world to pursue their passions, and reach for their own personal best.” Toyota is the presenting sponsor of March’s Paralympics on NBC.

TOYOTA – “One Team” – A rabbi, a priest, an imam, and a Buddhist monk get into a Toyota truck on the way to a football game. Two nuns criticized the group for its late arrival. This was the best ad by far.

HYUNDAI – “Hope Detector” – Hyundai donates money for every car sold toward childhood cancer research — $130 million since the program started 20 years ago. Most Hyundai owners had no idea that their purchases contributed to this cause – now they will.

TIDE – Several funny ads using the hashtag #TideAd highlighted the brand’s capability to clean. The best part of the campaign may not have been part of the campaign at all. During the end of the second quarter, there was 20-30 seconds of darkness in lieu of an ad. There must have been a technical glitch somewhere at NBC, so everyone in the Twitterverse wondered if their cable went out, if the game ended early, or if aliens landed. Turns out, Tide remembered the buzz created by Oreo’s Tweet back in 2013 when the power actually went out during the Super Bowl. Tide creatively added the blackout to its advertising campaign.

Image Credit: Twitter

AUSTRALIA – This ad promoted the country of Australia and featured the original Crocodile Dundee and a new version. Viewers were entertained by the surprise appearance of the original.

Oddly, this year, hashtags stood out rather than the ads. I recall these hashtags from ads: #TideAd, #HopeComesStandard from Hyundai, and #OneTeam from Toyota. Budweiser brought viewers into the stables to show a party featuring the Clydesdales with its #ClydesdalesCam. And when the screen went black, everyone on Twitter was talking about the #blackout. As a result of this phenomenon, it’s hard to remember a year when we weren’t talking with hashtags.

And lastly, Jacques de Cock, a faculty member at the London School of Marketing, said the game will have been watched in half of US households. 

"The Super Bowl is a phenomenon unsurpassed in the world. It is one of the few national social events, which is also why social media traffic during the game is so high...What is also remarkable is that advertising is not viewed as something to skip, but is seen by 77 percent of viewers as part of the entertainment and therefore more watched and engaged with than any other television advertising during the year."
So, are you counting the days to Super Bowl 53? Will that mean a trip to Atlanta or will you simply tune in to watch and critique the ads either on TV or on your mobile device?

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