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If a commercial plays on Super Bowl Sunday and the whole office isn’t chatting about it on Monday, did it even happen? We don’t think so. With big brands spending millions on Super Bowl advertising every year, the Super Bowl game offers a big (and costly) chance to hit or miss the word-of-mouth marketing mark. According to a Prosper Insights and Analytics survey, 17.7% of Super Bowl viewers say that the commercials are the most important part of the day. Thanks to social media, online streaming, and unbeatable viral opportunities, marketers no longer need to rely on gameday views to measure the success of their Super Bowl spots. Viewer tweets, talks and shares contribute to word-of-mouth that can bridge the gap between liking a commercial to loving a brand.
Much like the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos matchup, this year’s Super Bowl ads weren’t mindblowing, but they did grasp our interest. From a Super Bowl marketing perspective, the commercials that make you laugh, think, or scratch your head are all created equal. With a nice balance of old favorites and promising new contenders, the 2016 Super Bowl ads ranged from charming to silly to socially aware. Last night, every brand competed to amplify louder than “Omaha!” exclamations and hit as hard as a well-timed dab.
Best 2016 Super Bowl Ads
In a promotional spot turned public service announcement, Helen Mirren shows that being a revered international actress comes with a few perks. Namely, being able to smart-mouth, not-so-smart decision makers. Complete with an ice cold brew and hamburger, Mirren’s brutally honest and totally unexpected Budweiser commercial put a socially conscious spin on the normal drink responsibly ads. And she gave us all a new insult to try... pillock! This spot captured interest much more organically than Peyton Manning’s post-game Budweiser mentions ever could. Nice try, but Mirren makes it sound so much better.
Avoiding the super modern, hightech zone, Jeep took a nostalgic approach for its Super Bowl commercial. Black-and-white stills of muddy trucks intersected with pictures of the many faces that add to Jeep’s brand story as an American classic. The crisp narration and poignant portraits stood out from all of the other glitz and glam.
This year’s Super Bowl commercials were full of animals, but no creature was quite as confusing as Mountain Dew Kickstart’s Puppymonkeybaby. Splicing together elements of some of the latest internet obsessions, Puppymonkeybaby gave us a catchy new phrase, fun dance beat and hashtag all at once. We’re still not sure if the concept was a fumble or a touchdown, but we just can’t look away. If Mountain Dew was aiming to elicit a response that’s somewhere between delight and disgust, then they succeeded.
In a surprise play from Paypal, mobile paying software seemed really cool for about a minute of last night’s Super Bowl game. Paypal transformed the adversarial new money versus old money narrative into a shared journey toward aspiration (and earnings). The bold, comic book-inspired typography and cinematic scenes, makes you feel good no matter how many commas you have in your bank account.
Perhaps the most memed, remixed and parodied Drake track of all time, “Hotline Bling” made its Super Bowl debut with an assist from an unlikely, yet completely logical ad from T-Mobile. The rapper went back to his acting roots in a hilarious ad for the mobile provider. T-Mobile successfully capitalized on one of the biggest pop culture fixtures and showed just how silly Drake’s dance moves look when someone else gives them a try.
Super Bowl Ads: Word-of-Mouth Marketing Wins
Although it may be tempting to trash the power of traditional media, Super Bowl commercials unite viewers and attract real-time responses in a way that newer methods like snaps and GIFs have yet to capture. The continued fanfare surrounding Super Bowl commercials shows that modern audiences are still tuning in and talking and every smart brand should be listening. As major ad agencies elevate their strategy from selling products to sparking conversations, word-of-mouth marketing wins again.