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Creative Ads: Super Bowl Highlights and More

The Super Bowl is behind us and that means we’ve been inundated with reports on which advertisers “won.”* Rankings differ, naturally. The Super Bowl Ad Meter from USA Today ranks spots based on online user ratings. The top five included the NFL’s “The 100-Year Game,” Amazon’s “Not Everything Makes the Cut,” Microsoft’s “We Will All Win,” Hyundai’s “The Elevator,” and Verizon’s “The Coach Who Wouldn’t Be Here.” Other data from analytics platforms point to brands like Bud Light, Pepsi, and Mr. Peanut as having performed the best across digital channels during the big game.

But there’s more than just Super Bowl ad spots worth talking about right now.

That’s right, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Gillette has a new campaign from Grey New York. The “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be” two minute spot addresses toxic masculinity and other issues raised by the #MeToo movement. And it’s getting a lot of attention, sparking both praise and criticism. The campaign also includes a new tagline, The Best Men Can Be, and digital 30 and six second ads. It’s a very different approach than the type of videos we see from the razor company, focusing on the deeper meaning behind their original tagline, “The Best a Man Can Get.” It’s a call-to-action for men to change and speak up, rather than a drive for more sales. Gillet’s on a quest to foster positive change and, from a marketing perspective, it’s genius. Choosing to not ignore what’s going around in culture is a smart move. Plus, the company is deviating from business (talking about the features and benefits of your product or service) and making sure they’re connecting with their customers, proving they have the same values.

In a different vein, Skittles‘ Super Bowl commercial happened off-screen! The company planned a live, Broadway musical. The one-time show, featuring Michael C. Hall, was performed at New York City’s Town Hall on Super Bowl Sunday. All ticket sales went to a nonprofit. It was an ambitious advertising event to say the least. But it’s ‘normal’ for Skittles to be weird. For more than a decade, the candy company have been running some pretty out-there ad campaigns. There’s been singing rabbits, a moving beard, and last year’s Super Bowl experiment that was shown to just one viewer. But a gimmick like that garnered more attention for the brand and its approach to advertising than the ad itself. And this year was no different. Playing with ad format shows allows the brand to take advantage of a yearly moment when everyone is primed for – and interested in – commercials. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter if the Broadway play was any good. Skittles got all the attention they wanted.

Sun-Maid wants to get the attention of millennials who have stopped eating raisins. Quench is responsible for a new TV, out of home, social, and digital campaign – Sun-Maid’s first in over a decade – that gives us a new look and flavors. By revamping its brand image and introducing new snacks, the once ubiquitous brand attempts to become relevant again and reach a different target demographic. When I was a kid, the red-box raisin snack was everywhere. But somewhere in the past, ahem, few years, the company has become less popular. Now, for the first time in a while, they plan to change that. With a new CEO at the head, Sun-Maid is committing to acting like an industry leader in the dried fruit world. The company’s new targeted ad campaign is hopping on the nostalgia train and appealing to the childhood feeling of eating the raisin snack. In an attempt to drive more growth, the company is also testing out new products, e.g. snack packs with dried fruits.

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Between a few Super Bowl ads and others, I think 2019 is off to a fun and creative start! We’ve got ad agencies pushing the envelope in terms of subject matter or form. There are campaigns that focus on nostalgia, political humor, or something else. What do you think works best for your brand? How will you incorporate it into your next advertising campaign? Don’t be afraid to be bold and go beyond the products and services you sell. And just because Super Bowl is the United States’ biggest advertising event doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be flexing those creative muscles more often! 🙂

*With a low-scoring Super Bowl LIII, viewers had little to cheer about. Do you think the ads were equally forgettable? Let me know in the comments below!

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