In previous years, brands focused on stunts, tricks and one-liners to create memorable moments. This year’s ads represent a whole different experience, bringing deeper meaning to the Super Bowl genre.
With the holidays firmly behind us, the Super Bowl always serves as a bright light in the dark days of winter. This annual rite-of-passage creates a sense of community and unification around the massive multimedia experience. In fact, a new survey by Burson-Marsteller with field research consultancy Penn Schoen Berland illustrates the numerous ways fans are creating their own Big Game experiences. Mike Fernandez, U.S. CEO of Burson-Marsteller, says “The ongoing transformation of the fan experience is just one instance of a global trend we are witnessing – across the board, consumers are being empowered by technology and demanding better, customizable content. The age of the one-size-fits-all content package is over, and the future belongs to the fans.”
One of the most anticipated elements of the Super Bowl fan experience is the rollout of the ads. So popular is the annual advertising bonanza, some fans watch the big game just to see the ads and have little care or concern for the sporting event itself. With the staggering, record-setting price tag of $5 million for a 30-second spot, brands recognize that their ads must perform well at the big event and create buzzworthy word-of-mouth afterwards. In previous years, brands have focused on stunts, tricks and one-liners to create memorable, even if fleeting, moments for viewers. This year’s ads represent a whole different experience. The most engaging ads this year had brands employing deep storytelling that communicate a perspective, humor or a sense-of-purpose to enhance their brand positioning and lasting power. Below are some of our favorite brand stories of the year.
TurboTax Humpty Dumpty
TurboTax used a well-known child’s nursery rhyme to set the stage for its funny, charming spots. They enriched the storytelling element by creating a series of ads based on the same literary theme. Bet you can’t watch just one.
Hyundai’s A Better Super Bowl
In honor of our troops, Hyundai created a way for soldiers to watch the Super Bowl with their families. The heartwarming story-based vignettes show families experiencing the thrill of the game together while their loved ones are stationed overseas.
King’s Hawaiian False Cabinet
Family life and the element of surprise are featured in King’s Hawaiin’s 2017 Super Bowl ad. The kids win in this delightful tale of fathers and sons competing for the good stuff.
Budweiser’s Born The Hard Way
This tearjerker is a tale of the founding of Budweiser and the power of fortitude against the odds. While this commercial has sparked protests because of its political content, what’s undeniable is its powerful statement about the belief in one’s dreams. Grab your hankies.
Audi #DriveProgress “Daughter”
Another company taking on overt social themes of our day is this German automobile manufacturer. The ad features a father’s voiceover while his daughter competes in a soapbox derby. What makes this spot so compelling is the enduring story of the father-daughter bond, the belief a father has in his daughter’s abilities, and the pride in her accomplishments, now and in the future. Audi isn’t trying to feature their cars, they are promoting a much deeper belief within their company.
Skittles Romance the Rainbow
Rounding out our review of the Super Bowl commercial MVPs, Skittles delivers on the outlandish humor the candy brand has become known for. This story follows a boy trying to romance a girl by throwing Skittles in her window. What happens next? Just watch.
That’s a wrap! As the 2017 Super Bowl ad season comes to a close, our team thinks this just may have been “The Year of the Story” with meaningful ads crafted to stay with you long after the big game. But we’d like to hear from you. What were your favorite ads and why? Join the conversation by using #SuperBowlAds.