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Super Bowl LIII Commercial Winners + Losers

Super Bowl 53 wrapped up last night, and no matter who you were rooting for odds are you were also pretty engaged in the commercials. In fact, according to a report on last year’s Super Bowl from the National Retail Federation, almost one quarter of Super Bowl viewers feel the commercials are the most important part of the Super Bowl and a separate study stated that almost half of Super Bowl watchers said watching ads was the most important online activity during the game. We got our own Renay Daigle to share with us what makes commercials effective and what were some of the best and some of the worst of last night.

Q: People are spending between 5.1 and 5.3 million for :30 seconds on this year’s Super Bowl commercials. Is it worth it?

A: Well it depends on their goal. According to data from the National Retail Federation, about 78 percent of viewers look at the commercials as sheer entertainment, while about 10 percent admit to being influenced by Super Bowl commercials and another 9 percent say the commercials will at least make them search online for more information. With more than 100 million people watching – that’s at least 20 million you can influence. The key is making sure if you spend that much money on air time – and production of course – is making that commercial really count for your company.

Q: So, what IS a good way of making it count?

A: Well, I love an entertaining commercial as much as the next person, but ideally your commercial should either create a good impression of your brand in the mind of your target customer or better yet, actually move that customer to a desired action – like buying your product or service. And the best way to do that is really connect with your targeted market emotionally, whether it be through sentimentality, humor or intellect.

Q: So, what are some of the commercials that did NOT make the grade in your opinion?

A: There were three I felt didn’t quite hit the mark:

  1. Mint Mobile: They were a newcomer to the Super Bowl advertising and they wanted to make a splash with lumpy milk? No thank you. Their hook was “that’s not right”- but it was a weak one. If anyone remembered the association between the bad milk and Mint Mobile at all, why would that be a good thing?
  2. Devour: They were also a newcomer to the Super Bowl ad arena. While they did showcase their product – and its unique selling proposition of being delicious, while being quick and easy to make – they just made it feel awkward and creepy in the process.
  3. Alexa: People may disagree with me on this one – including the judges at Ad Week, but I thought this was a fail in terms of the goals I mentioned before about casting your product in a good light or actually moving product. While this was a very entertaining commercial and wonderfully cast, I think it was a mistake for Alexa to focus on what they do wrong – especially since they’ve had quite a few actual fails in late 2018, including “listening in on conversations” and dealing with widespread outages.

Q: And what were the winners of the evening?

A: Overall, I have to say I was pretty disappointed. There were several that were solid, but none that I feel will really live on or made me laugh out loud. However, there were a few stand outs:

  1. Verizon: Verizon probably had the most emotional spots of the night, which were focused on first responders. Their tagline “we make sure they get the call” speaks to the reliability, which is their biggest selling feature. Plus, both spots were produced well. They also worked to leverage social media and cause-related marketing benefits by offering to donate $1, up to $1.5M, in support of first responders to people who retweeted their tweet.
  2. T-Mobile: As a side note, I thought their competitor T-mobile, who had a :30 commercial in every quarter did a great job of relating to their target market through relatable texts. They also managed to tout Taco Tuesdays and a Lyft promotion.
  3. Bubly: Pepsi promoted their new drink in a clever way that made you remember its name. They took a singer that is generally well-liked, and coupled him with a comedian and a well-cast convenience store worker named DAV-Aye to make it work.
  4. The NFL 100th Commercial: The NFL kicked off their 100th anniversary year in style with a fun commercial that certainly sticks to their brand and showcased plenty of celebrities. Nothing more fun than watching dressed-up players catch, rush and tackle.     

Though this year wasn’t as impressive, I’m already looking forward to next year!