From the La-Z-Boy I sat in to watch this year’s Super Bowl game, I was far less interested in the ball and way more concerned about the commercials. Each 30-second commercial we see costs big brands millions to produce, with the hopes of leaving a lasting impression on us, the consumers. From the last few frames of each advertisement, it’s clear that what’s carrying these messages over the goal line is the weight of the hashtag. The good ol’, viral hashtag. The select words composing a brand-affiliated hashtag are carefully engineered to transcend the television, straight to your Instagram account and future tweets. Hashtags are new, but even this most recent advertising strategy follows the classic rules of the trade, most of which I’ve learned by watching Mad Men. So which hashtags traveled furthest? Using Don Draper as my guide (as always), here’s my take on why some hashtags touched down this Super Bowl Sunday.
Two Don Draper quotes come to mind here:
“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK.”
“What’s the difference between a husband knocking on a door and a sailor getting off a ship? About ten thousand volts.”
These Draper quotes totally nail Budweiser’s entire campaign strategy based on creative hashtags. The success of the hashtags #BestBuds and #Salute (a hero) topped the list of successful hashtags this Super Bowl Sunday and, of course, Don could have seen it coming. The happiness Budweiser MADE us feel (yeah, I cried); watching the puppy and the horse fall in love and fight for each other in #BestBuds made me feel everything WAS going to be OK for the pair. I shed a happy tear again witnessing the “ten thousand volts” fill a hero’s welcome spot. Viewers walked away from those 30 seconds feeling happy, because we got to see the welcome parade we wish for every soldier actually happen for that guy. Budweiser MADE us feel happy and showed us the uniqueness of the homecoming – all of this made us want to spread the affiliated hashtags.
“Nostalgia – it’s delicate, but potent.”
Coke commercials took us to see places, times, and people we bonded with long ago and have a yearning to see when we get the chance. We went on this journey together, all over the country, seeing these delicate images of the land we love and from a perspective that we once had. It was obviously potent enough to get us to share the #AmericaIsBeautiful hashtag.
#Doritos took us back via time machine to a time in our lives we all once knew, a time when we could use our imagination to turn a box into a vessel to the future. The Doritos ad creators admit they were watching Back To The Future when they came up with this contest-winning idea for the ad spot; they knew all too well that creating a sense of nostalgia yields advertising success.
“Oh, you mean love. You mean the big lightning bolt to the heart where you can’t eat and you can’t work and you just run off and get married and make babies. The reason you haven’t felt it is because it doesn’t exist. What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons.”
This tag saw a great amount of its success, thanks to a related contest that landed the winner’s #tagged image on a billboard in Times Square. Just as Don described, using these lightning bolts to the heart-esque images of people who look like they’re running off, getting married, and making babies works, every time. Invented by Axe’s ad agency to sell smelling good, this hashtag provoked people to post thousands of kissing images along with the tag. What do you think? Do you believe the people in the images actually feel it, or were they falling for the genius positioning of this highly successful ad campaign?
5. #Best Buds
Guest author Cat Schwartz the Co-Creative Director of InstaBrand.com.
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