Super Bowl Commercials – What to Look for in 2017

Millions of people tune in to the Super Bowl every year, with last year’s event drawing nearly 112 million viewers. For many, the commercials are the biggest highlight. Besides being entertaining, I have often found the ads can tell us quite a bit about the state of our country, and current marketing trends.

At $5.5M per 30-second spot (nearly double the cost of the same ad in 2010), the big companies and wannabes are going to try to get the most creative minds in the industry to help tell their story in half a minute. Sometimes they win and, a lot of the time, they lose.

Sir Anthony Hopkins is not selling out in this 2016 Super Bowl ad for TurboTax.

Over the years, it has certainly painted a picture of what we like (food, beer, cars, etc.), but it also tells us what is happening in our society. 15 years ago? The Dot Com companies ruled the night. During the recent recession? Soda, chips, candy bars and fast food – inexpensive comfort items – took prevalence. Two years ago? Sentimental ads focusing on parents, kids and empowerment tugged on our heartstrings. Last year? Brands relied upon respected actors like Hopkins, Neeson, Mirran, Walken and Keitel to build credibility and sway opinion.

What to look for this year? If you are a marketer (or just want to sound smart around the water cooler), here are a few suggestions when watching the Super Bowl…

What is the message?

Is there a common theme running this year? In other words, who are the big agencies targeting? (think Dot Coms versus comfort items)

Will we see the classical brand advertising, trying to build awareness and loyalty?

Or, will they use the most watched television event of the year to direct viewers to their website or social channels, text a code, or download their app?

Are we swaying from branding (traditionally national ads) to call-to-action (traditionally local ads), thanks to the digital age?

As a marketer, don’t forget to watch the reactions from your fellow viewers. What made them stop, look and listen? What did they talk about after the game, or at work or school the next day? Which commercials could they recall… and, which made them laugh, but completely forget the name of the company?

Who will be the winners and losers? Check back next Monday!

Your Guerrila Marketer,
Rick Verbanas

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