People all around America celebrate the Super Bowl in approximately one of three ways:
1. The over zealous football fan throws a party for all of his best friends. He smears paint all over his face, wears his favorite (“lucky”, probably smelly) jersey, stocks the refrigerator full with beer and makes so many chicken wings it seems impossible that they will all be eaten (but don’t worry, they will be).
2. You have the neighbor/friend/spouse etc. that knows nothing about football. But they follow the crowd, go to the party for the free food, and pretend they know why, exactly, grown men are running into each other.
3. The best people (we like to include ourselves in this category) may go to the party, or they may not. Favorite game-time snack and beverage in hand, these people watch the game patiently. Anytime now, they think. Leaning forward in their seats, they hush everyone in the room. A commercial break has finally arrived. It’s Super Bowl ad time, and the real game is about to begin.
The Super Bowl, with one of the highest ratings in all of U.S. TV history, the lure of high, and often engaged, viewership is too strong for advertisers to ignore. The Super Bowl has seen some of the best – and worst – ads in its 50 year history, creating a great database of success stories for advertising during both the big game and every other day of the year. Alas, let’s take three lessons from the game changers of the ad industry and answer the question, “what should we do for our next ad campaign in 2017?”
DO: Involve your consumer
Doritos’ ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ campaign is one of the best examples of this idea. A 10-year campaign, Doritos made the risky decision to outsource their most important ad dollars of the year. The ‘Crash’ campaign consists of consumer-generated content, something that was nearly unheard of — and hard to swallow by the Doritos marketing team — until 2006 when the strategy turned out to be a success. Widely accepted among consumers, the amateur home-videos shined a light on the potential creative of everyday consumers and created valued engagement and connection between the company and its most-valued target audience. In its 10th and final year, Doritos’ ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ campaign is sure to be a highlight of this year’s game day.
DO: Try new things in your ad campaign
A must watch in any intro to advertising course and widely considered one of the best ads ever, Apple’s ‘1984’ broke boundaries. The ad, a play on George Orwell’s popular dystopian novel, was the first of its kind and set the standard for Super Bowl advertising to come. Despite the fact that the ad almost didn’t see the light of day and faced much pushback from Apple executives, the ad made a lasting impact on both the industry and the consumer. Long gone were the days of mediocre Super Bowl advertising. Apple, a pioneer on many fronts, also became the pioneer of high-quality, large scale ad campaigns. The ad only aired one time but created a buzz so strong that people are still talking about it more than 30 years later.
DO: Use social media as a supplement to your ad campaign
Volkswagen’s ‘The Force’ is possibly one of the cutest (aww) ads ever, featuring a little boy dressed as Darth Vader attempting, with little luck, to use the force on any and all things around his house. Surprised, he is (see what we did there), to find his powers work on his parents’ new VW, aided only by the remote control start his dad secretly uses from inside the house. While this ad did wonders to capture the consumer and hit a solid 10 on the cuteness scale, that is not the reason it caused buzz in the advertising industry. VW had only bought a 30-second spot in the Super Bowl, but they were convinced their best work was the full 60-second version. With no way to air the 60-second version during the game, VW made the decision to post ‘The Force’ on Youtube days before it was set to air on TV. Up until this time, Super Bowl ads were kept well under wraps and locked behind bulletproof glass (maybe not, but seems likely) to prevent early viewing and what was considered a loss of impact. VW’s early release of ‘The Force’ opened the door to social media teasing and an entire new layer to the Super Bowl ad campaign frenzy.
Well, your 12 month countdown begins NOW! We hope these lessons from these game changers will help drive an awesome 2017 campaign.
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