It happens once a year. The NFL’s best two teams battle it out on the turf for 60 minutes to determine who wins the much coveted Vince Lombardi trophy. These two giants clamour over every inch of space on the field in an attempt to gain an advantage over their adversary and score the most points. Elsewhere, advertisers are clamouring over every inch of space on the screens of viewers in an attempt to gain an advantage over their adversaries.
Reporting about the adverts scheduled to air during the Super Bowl is now commonplace and somewhat of a cliché. However, amid all the column inches it’s easy to lose perspective of what is actually happening. Advertisers are choosing to cough up millions of dollars for just a small chunk of airtime. Sure – the Super Bowl is America’s most watched TV event and brands will gain exposure to a huge portion of America’s eyes, but it remains a huge risk.
Advertisers and agencies need to deeply consider some serious questions before buying Super Bowl space. How much money should be spent? How long does the advert need to be? At what point during the game should it play? Does it have to air during the extended half time? Should it air in only certain regions? What should the advert be about? Does the advert need to be supported with activity on other media channels? What if your advert still gets lost in the noise?
Here are some advertisers that have mulled over these questions for the past few months and decided to take a punt in 2015. Some have been more successful than others:
T-Mobile – #KimsDataStash
“Famous Person” Kim Kardashian is the star at the centre of T-Mobile’s Super Bowl 2015 ad. The spot takes a playful angle on the idea of mobile operators taking back mobile data from customers that don’t use up in their monthly allowances. It’s a short and low-key ad considering its subject which attempts to sell a brand message with an easy to follow storyline.
It’s clearly tongue-in-cheek, but this seems to have been lost on a huge segment of the audience. T-Mobile have also failed to recognise just how many people don’t like Kim Kardashian, whether she’s the butt of the joke or not (no pun intended). Nevertheless, the spot featuring the queen of the internet has resulted in a lot of earned media for T-Mobile, and all press is good press in this instance.
Kia – The Perfect Getaway
Pierce “007” Brosnan stars in Kia’s ad that throws cash at special effects and a celebrity endorsement only to convey a message that goes against these principles. The clever and polished ad sees Brosnan discussing the plan for the Super Bowl ad with an ad exec as we see it play out in both of their imaginations.
Brosnan’s version includes explosions, snipers and missile launchers, yet the ad man’s version contains owls and a quaint getaway cabin. It attempts to show viewers that a Kia is a perfect getaway car, even for a Hollywood actor. Kia is often perceived as cheap and inferior to other car manufacturers in the American market, and this spot aims to change perceptions, albeit in a slightly confusing and roundabout way.
Carl’s Jr. – Too Hot For TV
What would Super Bowl half-time be without some sexual controversy? Carl Jr. has produced a strange but eye-catching spot that shows a nearly naked model walking through a market as men gawp at her figure. She then proceeds to take a bite out of a burger that’s billed as “The All Natural Burger”, the first burger in fast food that has “no antibiotics, no hormones, and no steroids”. Yikes.
Quite why the burger chain needed a scantily clad woman to sell their product is up for debate, but it’s an obvious and shameless attempt to grab headlines and stand out from the crowd during a busy week in advertising. The ad has succeed in getting Carl Jr. some press, and it’s also earned the brand some detractors, but overall the viewing audience seems neither bothered nor moved by the creative. Controversy might have been the objective, but it’s not exactly a new idea that will be remembered for years to come.
Budweiser – Lost Dog
What would Super Bowl weekend be without an attempt at a tear jerker? This latest Budweiser ad that follows on from its spot from last year does nothing for me, but has been a huge hit across America. It’s shockingly similar to the 2014 effort in every way, but it’s a tried and tested formula that Budweiser obviously feels doesn’t need to be adjusted.
It’s also very reminiscent of John Lewis ads of Christmases past. Whether or not a fluffy, emotional, heart strings-tugging ad suits a Super Bowl slot is obviously a debate that would have been heard in Budweiser’s head offices, but perhaps it’s this dichotomy that makes it so successful. Whether Budweiser chooses to stick with another puppy and horse ad in 2016 is perhaps its biggest dilemma moving forwards. In the present, however, Budweiser is currently the most loved ad of the past 2 Super Bowls, and that’s a feat that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
To check out all of this year’s Super Bowl ads visit http://superbowl-commercials.org.
To take a look at The Media Gopher’s “Media Gopher Grand Prix” prize winner from 2014, visit here. It also happened to be a 2014 Super Bowl ad!