I have a confession. I watch the SuperBowl for the commercials. Each year I look forward to seeing how the top brands will find ways to stand out, and this year’s power outage gave quick-thinking brands a chance to shine (okay, pun intended). Here are three marketing take-aways from this year’s big game:

1. Go Beyond the Game.  Advertising real estate is expensive during the game, so smart brands find ways to extend the life of their spots. Remember when you actually had to watch the SuperBowl to see the commercials? These days, brands release teasers days or weeks before the game and connect their ads to their social media channels. Making your audience laugh is great – but getting them to engage with you is even better. Oreo did an excellent job of this. Their number of followers on Instagram has grown from about 2,200 to over 66,300 at the time of this post, thanks to their #cookiethis #cremethis call to action.

Apply this take-away to your marketing campaigns. Look for ways to go beyond the TV spot, radio message, or print ad and engage with your audience. Integrating your marketing messages and social media will not only increase brand awareness and recall, it’ll turn what has traditionally been a one-way dialogue (brands talking to their audiences) into a conversation.

2. Take Advantage of Unexpected Opportunities. The most talked about part of SuperBowl XLVII is the power outage. And some of the most memorable and shared marketing messages haven’t been the TV spots that big brands paid millions to produce and air. Instead, they’re the tweets that quick-thinking brands shared minutes after the lights went out. Two of my favorite examples are these tweets from Walgreens and State Farm:

Walgreens' Tweet


Neither of these brands have a direct connection to football, but they found clever ways to be relevant and took advantage of the unexpected social media opportunity provided by the outage.

3. Be True to Your Brand. People expect SuperBowl commercials to be some of the best spots they’ll see all year. They anticipate commercials that are entertaining and make them laugh, and many brands work hard (and spend a lot of money) to deliver. Investing so largely in production and placement isn’t worth it if people talk about your ad the next day but can’t remember the brand behind the ad. Causing a reaction in your audience isn’t effective unless it inspires the desired action.

If you think back to SuperBowls past, there are probably ads that you still remember. They made you laugh. They may have been pretty outrageous. But do you remember the brands behind them? Whether your message will air during the SuperBowl or your local news, make it memorable for the right reasons. Your message should be speak to who you are.

One of my favorite spots from this year’s game was “Viva Young” by Taco Bell. The senior citizens sneaking out of the retirement home for a night of wild partying – and tacos – made me laugh. But the way in which it tied in to their other marketing and consistent message to “Live más” made me associate it with Taco Bell.

Which brands do you think reigned supreme during this year’s SuperBowl? Hop over to our Facebook page to weigh in.


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