Analyzing Super Bowl Commercials From a Marketer's Perspective

The Super Bowl football game that decides the NFL champion at the end of each season is typically the biggest night of individual television every year. Over 100 million people watch it most years, meaning that approximately one-third of the American population is tuned in. The big game is famous not just for the actual sporting event but also the halftime show and the commercials. However, how do these commercials stack up when looked at from a marketer's perspective?

February 17, 2022 9:10 PM

Analyzing Super Bowl Commercials From a Marketer's Perspective

What Marketers Look for in Effective Super Bowl Ads

If you were old enough to watch the big game in certain years, then you remember the ads for a lifetime. One classic you might recall or have seen on YouTube is the one with Coke and Pepsi delivery drivers meeting up in a diner during the holidays and swapping drinks. One refuses to give his back, and a fistfight ensues.

The gold standard of all time might have borrowed from basketball with Michael Jordan battling Larry Bird in a game of HORSE to win a Big Mac from McDonald's. Ads run during this NFL championship are often expensive to air and make. Companies that bother need to do their best to make the most of the moment. Professional marketers certainly have insights into what successful Super Bowl ads do:

Engagement: Determining the success of an ad can sometimes happen immediately by seeing just how much it gets tweeted about on Twitter or shared through social media.

Reusability: Ads done for the big game usually have shorter and longer versions that can be used for normal commercials or online videos in the following days and weeks.

Brand Building: An ad run at this price tag shouldn't focus on a particular product or service most of the time so much as it highlights the entire brand that it's advertising.

Timeliness: The 2022 event was going to inevitably feature different themes and content than the previous event, where at-home services such as streaming content services or food delivery were popular earlier in the pandemic.

Celebrity Pairings: Using two celebrities instead of just one doubles your chances of appealing to someone's fan base. If the chemistry is right behind the two, then the content hits new levels.

Self-Deprecating Humor: Any brand that can poke fun at itself is usually going to be seen in a much better light by consumers.

The Top 5 of 2022

The 2022 big game featured an estimated 60+ ads at a cost of over $12 million per minute. Such an opportunity to reach a big audience is a huge investment, so you'd assume they would bring their best ads to the table. Five companies did just that.

Amazon Alexa: This "Mind Reader" ad featured Colin Jost and Scarlett Johansson. This one worked well because it struck a delicate balance between reflecting the brand positioning while also standing out as distinct from the many other ads vying for attention.

BMW: "Zeus and Hera" started off the ads for the night and might have been the best. Salma Hayek Pinault joined none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger for a literally electric bit of humor. Everyone who saw it knows they can have a clean driving electrical vehicle while still sporting one of the best brands in passenger vehicles.

Chevrolet Silverado: The "New Generation" ad certainly aimed for a more narrow market than most other ads, but it certainly registered with fans of the Sopranos franchise. Using two of the kids from the HBO classic certainly caught the attention of fans of the former show and created crossover appeal for the Silverado line of trucks.

Coinbase: "Less Talk, More Bitcoin" was seriously innovative in terms of trying to generate engagement. Rather than just entertaining people enough that they'd remember the ad, there were bouncing QR codes viewers could use immediately to visit the Coinbase site and register for a contest. Data collection happened instantly for later use.

Rocket Mortgage: Their "Dream House" ad used the likeability of Anna Kendrick and the best-selling toy of all time, Barbie, with serious creativity. Reflecting on the dreams of many of buying a dream home, this ad was a very clever way of tapping into the high levels of stress that contemporary home buyers are going through in a tight market.

Key Takeaways

The Super Bowl is perhaps more popular than the NFL itself. A killer ad during the big game is a career achievement for professional marketers who are always looking out for what works and what doesn't.