I love the Super Bowl. Although, I’m really not a big sports fan … Instead, I am more a fan of the commercials that accompany the Big Game. Each year brings a variety of remarkable, funny, fun, and often envelope-pushing commercials. This year, however, provided a marked contrast to previous Super Bowl commercials. Where were the off-putting GoDaddy commercials, Victoria’s Secret models, and potty humor? They were noticeably absent from this year’s game.
Instead, commercial themes focused around unity, love, aspiration, and connectedness. Even the half-time show was tame. Some examples of commercials that pulled heart-strings (with some adding a little humor):
- Cheerios Girl
- Coca Cola
- Chevy – Life #purpleyourprofile
- U2 (RED) Campaign
- Budweiser Puppy Love #BestBuds
- Jaguar villains
- Wings for Volkswagen Engineers
It’s raining men … and Ellen!
Not to be outdone in the PC (politically correct) department, men dominated the half-time show in a way that was pleasant and surprisingly not sexist. (Other than all the sex references but we got those from Bey-Bey too — which was my favorite half-time show by the way.) Half-time was super tame compared to years past (yes, I mean you Janet and Justin) and seemed to balance the younger and older viewers (Chili Peppers) quite well.
And about those VS models? Brands chose to stick with safer, more relatable characters like Ellen and Tim Tebow.
So, what does this tell us about consumer preference?
I think this year’s Super Bowl commercials speak loudly that we, the consumers, want to relate to the brands that we choose. We want brands to treat all people equally. We don’t want brands to elevate sexism or be offensive.
I also think that this instance is an example of the heart of people in how we think, dream, and relate to others. We all have dreams, goals, and aspirations. We all want to be our best selves. We want soldiers to come home. We want kids to be united instead of bullying. We all want to feel connected, loved, and significant. We want more from life.
Funny, Endearing, and Noteworthy
Although the majority of advertising that took place during the Big Game was warm and fuzzy, that didn’t keep brands from being creative, humorous and trying something new. Some great examples of standout commercials:
Creative use of social: Esurance
Finally, just when we were about to call it a night, Jim Halpert (Office reference intended) explained how Esurance saved 30% ($1.5 million give or take) by waiting to share a commercial until directly after the Big Game. This commercial was right-on for several reasons:
- They positioned themselves as more responsible than the brands sharing commercials during the game.
- They trumped the idea of 15-minutes with Geico by stating they saved 30% and were ready to give it away.
- They captured attention on social media, just as the audience was turning away from the TV and back to their mobile devices, using #EsuranceSave30.
- The commercial was fun, endearing (hello, Jim!) and full of the potential for loads of cash, all for a tweet.
Overall, this year’s Super Bowl commercials were pleasant and light-hearted. Will they pay off in sales and awareness for brands? Only time will tell …
Which Super Bowl commercials were your favorite? Did you appreciate the lighter-approach to commercials this year or was it a let down?