The Super Bowl, the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL), just occurred this past Sunday, February 2nd. The day, according to the USDA, where over 2 billion chicken wings get consumed by Americans. This Sunday is different than most Sunday’s however. Not because it is the final game of the season or because of the copious amount of wings that are consumed. This day is different because the fans here aren’t just coming to watch football, they came to watch the one thing they skip almost every other time: Commercials.
Why do we watch these commercials? We watch them because, for some reason, they seem to be a compilation of some of the best commercials ever aired on live television. This is no coincidence. The Superbowl is usually one of the most highly watched televised events every year. In 2015, Super Bowl XLIX was the most televised event in history, with 114.4 million viewers. Therefore, some companies pay upwards of 5 million dollars just to run a 30-second commercial ad during the Super Bowl, according to Vox Media.
Now Super Bowl commercial time is not only expensive but fraught with competition. Every company that’s airing a commercial is a multibillion-dollar conglomerate who can work with the best ad agencies in the world. Also, although you can put your commercial in front of almost 100 million people, this isn’t always a great thing. With an audience that size, it’s impossible to deliver a targeted message. So how do you appeal to 100 million people coming from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and preferences? Tug on the one thing that all people have in common: human emotion.
All humans resonate with emotional connections. Remember, we care more about why someone does something than what they do [See How to Become a Thought Leader for more information]. We all feel pain, happiness, love, heartbreak, and many others. So, if you can get your audience to laugh, smile, or cry during your commercial, you’ve done a great job. The commercials that perform best in Super Bowls are the ones that accomplish one of those three things. Here are the top 3 best 2020 Super Bowl ads:
This one was my personal favorite. I remember looking to my left and seeing my cousin in actual tears by the end of this commercial. My whole family was silent while watching. We couldn’t help but sympathize with this elderly man as he revisits his memories of his late wife, Loretta. Causing an emotion of sadness is often a tricky one to use as a marketer because the last thing you want to leave your viewer feeling is down after watching your commercial. But the eloquence comes at the end of the commercial where the old man says, “Remember I’m the luckiest man in the world,” then he exits to walk his dog. Finally, the words, “A little help with the little things,” comes across the screen. You realize that although sadly, this man lost his wife, you are grateful he had Google Assistant to help remember the memories of her.
This one was another great commercial where I was captivated from start to finish. What was unique about this commercial is that not only did it focus on a football coach, it also focused on a football coach that was currently coaching in the Super Bowl. Now Microsoft did a great job of evoking an emotion of feeling inspired. You hear the story about Katie, a girl who always loved the game of football and aspired to one day be a coach herself. The big problem Katie faced is that she never saw an opportunity to become a coach because she never saw a female coach before. However, that didn’t stop her. She knew that there are assumptions about what men and women can and can’t do.
Nevertheless, she knew what SHE wanted to do and wasn’t going to let anything stand in her way. Katie was able to show, not only to just other girls, that everyone in the world can do whatever they want to do regardless of what people say or think. This inspiring message resonated with many fans, and we couldn’t help but feel a sense of hope and inspiration after listening to her message.
This commercial did a great job playing on an iconic movie, Groundhog Day. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, it stars Bill Murray as Phil Connors, a TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event, is caught in a time loop, repeatedly reliving the same day. The commercial starts with some remnants of the original movie, but then something is different. There’s a Jeep Gladiator. Bill quickly falls in love with the vehicle and is excited to wake up every day. He shows no feelings of tiredness or dispair. The movie is considered one of the best comedy films ever made, and the commercial had that same comical approach. Bill quickly befriends the groundhog, and they go on outrageous adventures together like biking, going to the arcade, and watching fireworks together. In the final scene, Bill says to the groundhog, “Not a bad day, huh?” Then, during the fireworks, the words come across the screen, “No day is the same in a Jeep Gladiator.” A great play on an old film that lets the audience laugh and reminisce over a timeless movie.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the runner-ups that also did a great job either making their audience laugh, smile, or feel an emotional attachment. The runner ups are Whassup Again – Budweiser/ Uber, Smaht Pahk – Hyundai, Monologue – Dorritos, Before Alexa – Amazon.
The Super Bowl is a time for family, friends, food, football, and multimillion-dollar commercials. These commercials are supposed to do one thing: Get an emotional response out of the audience. If you can move your audience emotionally, they automatically feel closer to your brand. When building your brand message, always think about how you can get your audience to feel closer to you on an emotional level.