For millions of excited viewers, the Super Bowl has absolutely nothing to do with the game being played on the field. For them, it is all about the ads… and the Puppy Bowl. Super Bowl ads are so important, it is the only time of the year when the ads become the content. People will forget the score, or who was named MVP by the time Monday morning rolls around. But they will remember the ads for years, even decades to come.
There is a good chance your company will not be making a Super Bowl ad. Besides the princely sum it would cost you to purchase a spot and produce an ad worth watching, there are only so many spots. But just because you will not have a Super Bowl ad, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything you can gain. Here are three important lessons you can learn from Super Bowl advertising:
Branding Loyalty Pairs Well with Sports Fanaticism
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling when advertising against sports, just as long as it is sold with a brand loyalty push. People who watch sports already have a hyper-bu- in to brand loyalty. They are fans of at least one team. They are religiously devoted to that team. Team loyalty survives all other factors. No matter how awful the team becomes, the true fan still watches and hopes.
They also will be binge watching for Super Bowl 2016 coverage from CBS. They will absorb anything and everything related to their favorite team, or at least, their favorite team this week. This explains why so many commercials, be it for cars, trucks, smartphones, snack chips, or soft drinks are almost completely devoid of content, but make a pitch for loyalty to the brand, hoping to secure and strengthen an emotional attachment.
You may never have an opportunity to do a Super Bowl ad. But you might get a chance to sponsor a local team. Whether it be on a billboard, a magazine, or even a podcast, when you are doing sports, do brand loyalty.
Keep Them Laughing All the Way to the Bank
One would think that the worst Super Bowl advertising crime would be getting too edgy, or too politically correct, or too competitive. One would be wrong. In fact, the worst Super Bowl advertising crime is to be too serious. More to the point is not being funny. We can tolerate a lot in our Super Bowl advertising, but we have little patience for something that is trying to be cerebral when that part of our brain has been temporarily lobotomized for the sake of emotional overdrive.
One of the most successful ads in recent memory is the E*Trade baby. There is nothing funny about day trading. People lose their shirts doing it everyday. Put it in a Super Bowl ad and make people laugh, and you will be laughing all the way to the bank.
For one of the few times during the year, advertisers stop thinking of themselves as advertisers, and start thinking of themselves as content producers. Super Bowl ads are not great because they run during the Super Bowl. They are great because the advertisers spent a lot of money on a spot and understand the need to do something special.
If they thought like that all year, they would never have to worry about ad-skipping DVRs. No one would bother to use the feature. Great ads are often more entertaining than the show. This is so much the case that people search for popular ads on YouTube. Those ads are so popular, YouTube places advertising in front of the ads. They get away with this because they understand that a great ad is more than an ad, it's content.
When you make an ad, be sure to make it more content than ad, keep them emotionally engaged, and in the case of sports, make brand loyalty the selling point.