Super Bowl Marketing and Communications Review

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Here were some of the top stories of Super Bowl Marketing:

-Ads that targeted older or a wider audience scored the best

-There was a significant difference in how organizations handled what I call the pre-game show (generating advance promotion for their campaign without ruining a surprise).

-Celebrities didn’t score big.

-Of course, the blackout


The Wall Street Journal Ad Bowl Top 3 featured the Jeep Chrysler Ad. Taco Bell. Viva Young and the Ram Truck Farmers ad featuring the voice of the late Paul Harvey. It’s no accident these all targeted a wide or older demographic. As I noted in my pre-game blog on Huffington Post, marketers overwhelmingly ignored the 50+ crowd. The results showed that to be a mistake.

I’ve called it the pre-game show—how marketers create buzz for their campaigns in advance of the SuperBowl. Century 21 went with the traditional “how we made the ad” which felt dated. Three samples of successful integrations were Taco Bell which featured, an older man going through agility drills in a medical mobility scooter in its pre-game setting the stage for the older crowd hitting Taco Bell for a big night out in the during game spot. As many older folks are on a fixed income, a night out at Taco Bell is within reach. It was a well-targeted and well executed campaign.

An excellent comparison is how Mercedes Benz and Audi handled this. Mercedes used a made for Social Media tease with Kate Upon that generated tremendous play that according to company execs—generated $20 million in free media. The ad itself featured Ms. Upton only in a cameo while a younger man negotiated with the devil (played by Willam Defoe) to be able to afford one. Instead, he left Mr. Defoe to vaporize upon learning the new Mercedes sells for less than $30,000. Smart use of the Super Bowl to convey a clear new message.

While the Audi spot was well produced (ranked 10th in the USA Today’s Most Popular ads). The same spot was used both before and during the game and did not offer compelling reasons (beyond it would be fun for your 18 year old kid to drive).

Celebrities crashed. Amy Poehler (whose spot I liked) finished best at 14th according to USA Today. Kate Upton was 19th, Rudd and Rogan 20th, the Rock 24th and Tracy Morgan at a putrid 47 for Mio fit. With the exception of the Samsung ad the others could have been introduced at any time.

The blackout—not only did it change the game but the marketing effect. Many families with kids under 10 simply left the party I was at during the delay and I’m sure this was common in the Eastern Time Zone. It also changed the rhythm of the viewing experience. After the long delay with the game suddenly becoming extremely competitive, the spots became much less of a focal point. The NFL was very lucky from a communications stand point that the Ravens won. If not, the incident would have been widely seen as changing the outcome. Could an outdoor game in New Jersey next year be worse?


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