For more than four decades, companies have been churning creative adverts during the largest sporting event in the US, the Super Bowl. While Super Bowl 2021 will be different from the rest in terms of low physical attendance and reduced partying, Super Bowl ads will still carry the day, just like they’ve done over the years. For most people, the Super Bowl is not just an exciting sporting event.
Brands flood the event with interesting ads that are hard for fans to skip. Over the years, the cost of ads has increased significantly. With a 30-second spot going for $5.6 million in 2020, the Super Bowl is the most expensive media event on the planet.
Source: Business Insider
Super Bowl has been termed the ‘Marketers Holiday’. As a matter of fact, 25% of the people who will tune in for the 2021 Super Bowl event will do so for the commercial. The fact Super Bowl ads have become a frenzy to follow goes to show how memorable and striking they are.
So, what lessons can B2B marketers draw from Super Bowl 2021?
In this article we explore 10 marketing strategies that marketers can learn from this year’s Super Bowl event:
Lesson 1: Give Marketing Message a Context
One thing that stands out in Super Bowl marketing activities is the ability of marketers to present brand messages in a way that suits the environment. For B2B marketers, this underscores the importance of contextualizing marketing messages. The Super Bowl is a huge marketing stage by all standards, but it’s shared by friends and family – all gathering for a fun time.
Advertisers who leverage this stage contextualize their marketing messages to the environment by keeping them light and entertaining while communicating the benefits of their products. For example, air freshener manufacturer, Febreze has been placing ads on the Super Bowl event year in year out. It’s ads are designed to remind those that throw Super Bowl parties of an important ingredient they should never leave out – the air freshener.
Lesson 2: Leverage your Audience’s Emotions
According to Forrester Research, emotions influence customer loyalty much more than ease of use or effectiveness in almost every industry. Though Super Bowl viewers come from different demographics, it is the emotion that the event generates that will attract more than 99.9 million viewers to the event this year.
Other than watching the game and viewing commercials, the other main reasons Super Bowl attracts a huge audience are food, the parties and watching the halftime show.
These additional motivators provide marketers with an opportunity to place their products in front of millions of prospects and customers. The history of Super Bowl ads shows that the best way to cater for the needs of this kind of audience is to appeal to their desire to feel, laugh, and be drawn in.
Appreciating that your audience has the need for personal empathy and understanding, as well as a desire to laugh at jokes and have some surprise and fun in their day is an important lesson for B2B marketers. But this won’t be possible unless you’re able to find authentic ways of connecting with your audience. This is critical because increasingly, consumers are opting to align themselves with brands that share similar values with them.
Lesson 3: Boost Reach with Multiple Marketing Channels
Brands that market their offerings on the Super Bowl stage don’t just rely on one marketing channel. Instead, they utilize multiple channels to run fully integrated marketing campaigns. For them, the Super Bowl broadcast advertising only serves as a launching pad.
A closer look at these brands shows that many of them preview their spots ahead of time on YouTube. Beside the previews, they go a step further to get influencer marketers to review the ads and share them widely. They also put installations on the game site and maximize social media engagements.
Rocket Mortgage is a great example of a brand that hacked this strategy in 2018. After rolling out the Super Bowl ad, the company quickly developed an online resource for customers to learn more then launched a social media campaign to generate leads throughout the Super Bowl season. As a B2B company, you may opt to avoid broadcast advertising during the 2021 Super Bowl, instead, you can use multiple media channels to get your marketing message out.
Lesson 4: Go Big with Broadcast Ads in Events
Running a broadcast ad during the Super Bowl 2021 will be a costly affair. A 30 second ad slot will cost over $5 million. This notwithstanding, there’s a key lesson that B2B marketers can learn from brands that buy these slots for ads – don’t shy away from going big with broadcast ads.
Spending $5 million on an ad half a minute long is a big commitment for any brand. The good thing is that Super Bowl fives markers a unique chance to place a product in front of about 100 million people and enjoy a 12% to 36% return on investment, according to Fortune. While many B2B marketers may not spend %5.6 million on a single marketing program targeting a 100 million audience, they can run several broadcast ads in different events during a year.
B2B marketers should not be afraid of rolling out big broadcast ads in such events – whether they’re launching a new product, releasing an eBook or hosting a live event. But here’s the trick – when preparing ads for such programs, it’s necessary to give them the right dedication and attention. This is the only way to ensure they succeed.
Paying attention to every second of the ad is critical – in ensuring that it communicates the right message while captivating the target audience. Even as you roll out broadcast ads in main events, ensure there is increased engagement around the event to boost reach.
Lesson 5: Master Innovation to Outsmart Competition
The rules of advertising in Super Bowl 2021 requires brands that wish to broadcast their messages during the event to outbid competitors. This poses a real challenge for smaller firms that lack the financial muscle that big companies have. For marketers that cannot succeed in outbidding competitors, a major marketing strategy to learn from Super Bowl 2021 is never to be scared of changing the rules of the game.
This calls for innovation. A good example of a brand that changed Super Bowl broadcast ad rules is Volvo. In 2015, the brand hijacked Super Bowl competitor ads by promoting its XC60 via social media. It did this by giving cars away through simple rules – participants were only asked to tweet #VolvoContest anytime they say a car commercial ad during the game.
Volvo did not run broadcast ads during the 2015 Super Bowl event. However, the smart strategy it adopted raised its XC60 awareness significantly and saved it millions of dollars by just being creative. At the time, the average ad cost on the Super Bowl was $4 million. Instead of paying for broadcast ads, Volvo gave out five cars, each priced at $37,125.
Lesson 6: Connect With your Audience With Consumer Insights
That great marketing has to start with consumer insights is common knowledge. Super Bowl ads have proven that brands that use these insights well are able to get the attention of their audiences better through effective communication. Infact, good application of consumer insights in ads makes marketing messages more memorable particularly when that message is about product benefits.
A great example of a brand that hacked this strategy well is Verizon. In its Super Bowl ad, Verizon connected survivors with the people who rescued them by having them make calls via the Verizon network. The ad was among the top 10 most viewed ads during the 2019 Super Bowl. B2B marketers can apply this strategy by finding emotionally unique insight about their audience and use it to connect with them better.
Source: The Marketing Journal
Lesson 7: Laughter Makes Messages Shareable and Memorable
By and large, the Super Bowl 2021 season will be a fun time for friends and family. Brands that place broadcast ads during this season make their messages light but also funny. By sending their audiences messages that make them smile, they connect with them better.
Most importantly, their audience find it easy to share happy messages and tend to remember them more. Messages that have a sense of humor also get more noticed. B2B marketers can use this strategy to showcase how their offerings bring value to their audience without taking things too seriously.
Lesson 8: Know Who You’re Targeting with your Marketing Message
This might sound obvious to every marketer because it’s the first thing you do when you’re crafting a marketing plan. However, Super Bowl ads have taken this to a whole new level over the years. Consider the famous “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign run by Old Spice in 2010.
Besides being funny, the ad stands out for its clarity of the target group. The campaign was marketing a men oriented body wash, but it was designed to target women. The company had conducted a research that showed that women make buying decisions when it comes to hygiene products, even where members of the household are male. So, instead of working so hard to convince men that Old Spice Body Wash is a great product, the campaign focused on the people who buy the product – women.
Lesson 9: Show the Product, But Don’t Focus on It
Unlike other channels of marketing, broadcast marketing is complex. It’s just not possible to interrupt people to show them how great your product is. Rather, you need to pique their interest by showing the product, but not focusing on it.
In the 2011 Super Bowl, Volkswagen used this strategy pretty well. The brand’s broadcast ad featured a child dressed as Darth Vader in Star Wars. The child tried to use his ‘Force’ powers on everything in the house without success. In the end, his father gets back home and parks a Volkswagen Passat on the driveway. As he gets into the house, the kid tries his powers on the car – attempting to start it. Watching from the kitchen, his father starts the car with his car keys, leaving the little boy astonished at his powers.
The focus of this ad is shifted from the product – a Volkswagen Passat – to the boy. In fact, the product is only displayed for less than 30 seconds in the one minute ad. This ad went viral during the Super Bowl, racking in 17 million views before the game started.B2B marketers can use this strategy to create ads that capture the interest of the audience and reach a wider audience from audience shares.
Lesson 10: The Power of Repeating A Marketing Message
To be effective, marketing messages should be repeated over and over. This ensures higher penetration of the market and remembrance by the audience. B2B marketers can break the monotony of running the same message by creating different variations of the message.
Super Bowl 2021 offers brands a great opportunity to reach millions of people with their marketing messages. As you schedule your marketing activities, consider these marketing strategies from Super Bowl’s big brands and apply them in your business this year.