Super Bowl is not only the biggest event in NFL but a showdown and a grand marketing event of brands to showcase their products and services—through CSR messages, Social & Political Reference, Humor, Relevance, and Celebrity Endorsement, promoting new offerings/ new side & initiative of a brand, conquering a new target group, getting in touch with current and loyal consumers, promoting a new line, and of course, CSR (corporate social responsibility) campaign.
Super Bowl ads are a variety show, from talking candies, big celebrity collaborations to outrageous and sometimes controversial topics, actions and messages—all tugging on some form of emotion and thoughts to well, eventually, hitting their target of either Awareness, Initiative, Desire, and/or Action (a classic top-line funnel of customer journey). Don’t forget, they all align with their Brand Archetype — the Human Side of Business.
And trust this, THEY ALL HAVE A CLEAR GOAL—spending millions of dollars for a few seconds of a spot on a TV ad, they’ve worked long and hard and thought it all through.
So let’s get down to it and break down the messages briefly.
Here are the ads released so far by category & what they are saying:
KIA // “The Great Unknowns - What If”
The goal is to promote KIA’s CSR campaign and to share with their fans and viewers the charity initiative they’ve launched.
According to KIA: “ Every year, millions of dollars are spent on celebrity endorsements in Big Game ads.This year, we’re doing something different.” They achieved this by taking a drastic change to differentiate their ads—no fancy pop music, no celebrities, dull colors, calm voice, all with emotion & character of being humble. it really grabs your attention and there is a strong element of mystery to what may come during the Super Bowl Ad.
STELLA ARTOIS // Change Up The Usual
Taking a big stand on where the brand stands and when you should drink Stella Artois, the brand engages with higher-income groups and target setting such as a luxury restaurant, as Stella Artois is positioned higher to other beers. Moreover, using #PourItForward to promote and celebrate their CSR initiative, they bring in iconic celebrities, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges, and a parody of “Sex and the City.” With more than 12.6 million views, it’s the most watched so far.
BUDWEISER // Wind Never Felt Better
Budweiser has for years in a row released commercials tugging on deep (touchy feely) emotions by captivating the audience with cute pets and farm animals.
This time, they’re promoting their CSR initiative on brewing and making all their beer from renewable energy from wind mills. Still keeping with the theme of emotion and animals, they stay connected with their audience by sharing updates and giving their consumers a better sense of feeling and higher responsibility.
MICROSOFT // We All Win
Microsoft shares their social-good initiative via this commercial—sharing stories from young passionate gamers with disabilities. Goal here is Awareness. Showcasing testimonials and how their adaptive controller helps anyone with or without any disability, can still play and win.
According to their MS: “The story illustrates Microsoft’s commitment to building accessible technology that levels the playing field and creates opportunity for all of us.”
VERIZON // The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here
Tugging on strong emotions and the Hero brand archetype, Verizon shares testimonials and how they are like those who save lives by ensuring that the heros can work efficiently with strong connection from Verizon.
2. SOCIAL / POLITICAL REFERENCE:
BUMBLE // #InHerCourt
Promoting female empowerment with Serena Williams as the main leading lady, Bumble (social & dating app where only females can make the first contact) shares how their app and its foundation is aligned with the message and belief of female empowerment.
TOYOTA // Toni | RAV4 Hybrid
Introducing a new product, RAV4, a hybrid auto, Toyota aims to break perceptions by aligning their new hybrid auto in parallel with Antoinette “Toni” Harris —female football star. Surely a statement during the NFL, currently all men. Aiming to stay relevant and being a progressive brand with a progressive product, Toyota creates Awareness with their Super Bowl Commercial.
MICHELOB ULTRA // The Pure Experience | Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold
Being relevant is a clear aim and message in both commercials from Michelob Ultra—yes they have 2 ads this year targeting 2 different groups for 2 lines of their product. Goal is clearly Awareness and Desire.
First, is an ASMR inspired ad with Zoë Kravitz, to promote & inform the purity of their beer which is in line with ASMR (pure and raw sounds that are usually popular for its “sleep inducing” abilities). Targeting young females (ideally 21-35), who’s lifestyle is to maintain a healthy eating habit and diet (perhaps those who are organicfood-savvy).
Robots | Michelob ULTRA
Second is targeting young adults, urban-life, mid to higher income and are ambitious. Understand their target group clearly in the citylife, they contrast themselves to robots. More targeting men as well as women—it’s less about the purity but about relatable-ness and enjoying life and free time.
Yellow Tail // Tastes Like Happy
Already known for its strong branding, Yellow Tail creates relevance with this commercial by sharing stories of small and major events of life in which people feel happiness. The commercial utilizes strong emotional connection and staying true to their brand archetype, the friend.
BURGER KING // Preppin
BK pre-starts their Super Bowl ad by sharing this short pre-ad by sharing promo code MYSTERYBOX to use at their restaurants to get the “mystery box.” This tactic keeps users engaged and keep them following to the Super Bowl ad itself and with a clear goal of Action in the customer journey.
COLGATE// Closer Talk
Colgate’s ad is a basis of fundamental social contact research—people hate bad breath and with Colgate, you can be as close without a problem. They set the setting in an office, targeting working class groups, and show scenarios of when & where social contact is most sensitive & vulnerable to bad breath. Moreover, it’s all about the elements of the product itself—helps with cavities, great for whitening, great for avoiding bad breath, great for sensitivity and enamels etc. Of course, research-based & informercial-type ad maybe boring for a Super Bowl event, so you can see it’s been spiced up with a celebrity endorsement and humorous dialogue.
DEVOUR // FoodPorn
Devour shares how their products are more than about just eating—but it’s about devouring and being addicted in the case of this ad. Utilizing humor and relatable social behaviors, Devour creates awareness about their product and just how good it is.
According to their commercial description: “ DEVOUR Frozen Foods aren’t your ordinary frozen meals; their mouthwatering and craveable flavors are so good, they are actually frozen food porn. In its debut Super Bowl commercial, DEVOUR tells the story of how its irresistible frozen food porn can affect a relationship. This addiction can happen to anyone, it’s hard to resist.”
PRINGLES // Sad Device
Targeting college students to young working male adults, Pringles use cultural tech reference such as ‘Alexa’ to stay relevant with their target consumers & to share all the “endless” flavors their snacks offer.
5. CELEBRITY + POP CULTURE
DORITOS // #NowItsHot (Chance the Rapper x Backstreet Boys)
Introducing a new product (Doritos® Flamin’ Hot® Nacho) which is more of a remix version of their long-time popular product—they aligned parallel to pop culture. Taking the 90s and 00’s hottest boy band and remixing with modern pop icon, Chance the Rapper.
Doritos’ approach to Super Bowl continues to be young, hip, loud, colorful and up to date with trending pop culture, targeting their core target group, Millennials and Gen Z.
PEPSI // More Than Ok
Celebrity endorsements and humor scream out the most in this ad—with Cardi B, Lil Jon, and Steve Carell.
Targeting their core, youth and young adults who always up to date with Pop Culture, Pepsi stays in line with their brand of being young, hip and pop-culturally relevant—and with success, they already gained 4 million views on YouTube with highly positive comments.
EXPENSIFY // 2 Chainz X Adam Scott - Expensify This (The world’s first music video you can expense)
Must have been an expensive ad. From high-profile artist collaboration and props, Expensify shares a flashy ad to grab the attention of millions. Expensify (finance app, helping people to organize their expenses and their receipts all in one app—no more keeping stacks of receipts), aims to create Awareness about their service, and to get people on board, they offer cash back as you take actions from their app and the music video, talk about Action.
HYUNDAI // The Elevator
Promoting their new app, Hyundai Shopper Assurance, and targeting the pain of car shopping, Hyundai utilizes humor to target working class adults looking to shop with ease & leisure for cars.
Like the previous ads, bringing in a high-profile comedian, Jason Bateman, to ensure the humor of their ad, Hyundai stays in line with its brand archetype of being approachable and friendly.
Olay // Killer Skin
Straying away from the typical and traditional skin care ads —where a woman stands and you see the effects from bad skin to later a clear skin, Olay killed this concept with this Killer Skin commercial by taking classic horror movie themes and creating a trailer more than an infomercial. The trailer is a just a teaser to their ad during the game.
Already killing it with 3.8 million views, this one is one to keep an eye out for.
PLANTERS // Mr. Peanut is Always There in Crunch Time
Planters directly target their competitor “ Kale Chips” with this action-packed commercial. Keeping its branding in line with cool and brash attitude especially against the newer organic diet movements. Goal is to reignite the hype of their snack lines, and to conquer back their consumers in the “organic” era.
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Author & Editor-in-Chief: Diana Lee
Power Hub is where Powerful Ideas and Powerful Thinking are curated into Power Posts, where we create and share insightful knowledge, expertise, “food for thought,” spark conversations and new perspectives—useful and helpful to someone, somewhere in our purpose-driven world! (Powered by STRAREX)