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January 31, 2020

The Super Advertising Game

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Advertising during the Super Bowl is one of the most coveted opportunities for marketers. With nearly 100 million people who tuned in to the CBS broadcast in 2019, we can expect even more to tune in to the big game in 2020. It’s known by companies everywhere that if you want your message to be heard by a wide range of audiences and create buzz about your products for months, purchasing a 30-second video spot in the Super Bowl is the way to go.

But what makes Super Bowl commercials different? How did commercials that are typically excuses to head the kitchen and make a snack or fast-forward the DVR transform to can’t-miss TV? Because for one day of the year, advertisements during the big game are just as big as the game. They are different than your normal broadcast ads because they do more than just sell a product, they tell a story.

Let’s take a look at three of the most famous Super Bowl commercials in the last 10 years.

1. Doritos – Slap (2010):
This commercial features an adorable little boy who is protective of the two most important things in his life: his mom and his Doritos. When his mom’s date comes over and reaches for a Dorito, the headstrong youngster warns him to keep his hands off his mama and off his Doritos. The commercial left us laughing and wanting some Doritos of our own.

2. Volkswagen – The Force (2011):
This heart-warming and hilarious commercial features a young boy dressed up as Darth Vader trying to use his “Force” powers to start things around his house. He finally tries on his dad’s VW car and is surprised when the car starts. Unbeknownst to the little Vader, his dad is watching out the window and using the remote start feature to start his car as the child uses his powers. We left feeling warm and fuzzy that this Star Wars fan finally successfully used his “Force” powers. I still think about it when I see a VW Passat on the road.

3. Dodge Ram Trucks – Farmer (2013):
This commercial stunned America. For two minutes, audiences everywhere listened to Paul Harvey’s poignant speech about hard-working American farmers across the generations. The ad didn’t even mention the Dodge Ram Truck it was advertising. Instead, it talked about farmers and the grit they put in, day-in and day-out. The last scene was a shot of the truck on a farm. This commercial helped viewers associate hard work with the Dodge Ram, without even mentioning the truck itself.

What do all of these ads have in common? They tell a story. They provoke emotion. They cause viewers to think about what they just watched, rather than being inundated with countless “sales-y” videos. Super Bowl commercials spark a deeper connection between a brand and the audience. Whether that be through a heartfelt story like the VW “The Force” ad or a humor story like the “Slap” Doritos ad, creating a storyline with which your audience can relate and connect to is essential when creating an impactful ad.

So, while you’re snacking on your hot wings and queso during Super Bowl LIV, pay close attention to how these ads are connecting with their audiences. And, check back next week for a breakdown of the top preforming ads of the 2020 Super Bowl.

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