The biggest football day of the year has come and gone. The Super Bowl is consistently one of the most-viewed events of the year, and whether you’re a die-hard football fan or just someone who loves a backyard party, the commercials that air during breaks in the game are designed to engage everybody watching. As marketers, we wondered – how can you take Super Bowl commercials and apply these strategies to your own content marketing? We took a deeper look into ads from this year and years past to see how some of the world’s biggest brands have used content marketing techniques to expand their presence and develop their stories.
Our 2019 Winner: Bud Light #SpecialDelivery
Despite the lack of scoring at this year’s Super Bowl, we were still able to identify a big touchdown when it came to ads: the Game of Thrones-inspired Bud Light commercial. This one sure did score with beer fans as the ‘Special Delivery’ of corn syrup was a play on brand positioning. Clearly demonstrating where your brand stands within the competitive landscape is important in creating differentiation. The beer company put competitors on blast for including this highly processed ingredient in their beers, distinguishing their product from others in the market.
Identifying the white space in your market and emphasizing what your product does (or does not) offer can attract new customers.
Budweiser – #BestBuds
Yes, our list features back-to-back beer commercials – but what’s the big game without beer? This one features another main pillar of content marketing – brand personification. When it first aired in 2014, viewers were shocked to find out it was Budweiser behind the cuteness. There was no beer in sight during the commercial! By putting a face to the brand (or in this case, puppy dog eyes), Budweiser embodied the human quality of friendship between a dog and a horse. The use of brand personification makes a brand relatable. By pulling at our heartstrings, Budweiser inspired viewers to form warm associations with the beer company.
Budweiser showed us how brand personification can help build a connection with your audience.
Audi – #DriveProgress
Another pillar of content marketing is brand integrity. This commercial didn’t focus on the sleek interior of an Audi model or the performance we typically see in automobile commercials. Rather, it was about the brand taking a stance on a social movement. By leveraging brand integrity, Audi positioned themselves as a champion of equality.
The lesson? Find a cause, give back, take action, and encourage your audience to do the same.
Apple – #1984
With this iconic commercial, we’re throwing it back to the original Apple ad that broke the Internet in 1983. Like our 2019 winner, this one focuses on brand positioning, but takes a more conceptual approach. Apple’s announcement of their new computer was not about specific features, price or product design, but rather what the brand stood for relateive to its competitors. The fearless woman in the commercial (representing Apple) who destroyed the brainwashing screen (representing Apple competitors) served as an indelible mark on the advertising and technology industry for why Apple is a notable brand. This commercial effectively communicated that Apple was a revolutionary, creative and innovative brand that was paving the way for the technology industry (and boy were they right!)
Brand positioning is an important quality when it comes to content in order to communicate why your brand is the clear choice for consumers.
E-Trade – #TalkingBaby
Featuring a talking baby video-chatting in the corner of his nursery, this unconventional mascot allowed E-Trade to create a brand voice that mitigated the intimidating concept of personal trading when they aired this 2008 Super Bowl commercial. By establishing a brand voice that was humorous and straightforward, E-Trade was able to clearly communicate their message in a relatable way: if a baby can invest in the market, so can you.
This commercial is captivating for its humor, which is made memorable because of its unexpected main character, #TalkingBaby.
Mountain Dew – #PuppyMonkeyBaby
This 2017 commercial has gone down in history as one of the most annoying Super Bowl commercials ever aired. So why are we including it in this roundup of content marketing tips? Brand repetition. Mountain Dew created viral content that had a strong digital reaction. The tidal wave of memes and #PuppyMonkeyBaby Halloween costumes that ensued flooded social feeds for months. The frequency of the message within a given period yielded a subconscious familiarity, increasing the chances that a consumer might choose Mountain Dew the next time they were faced with a soda purchase.
Creating content that will stick like glue to your audience creates brand recognition and ultimately drives conversion.
Whether it’s puppy commercials that pull at your heartstrings or a talking baby that makes a message easier to deliver, these Super Bowl ads are full of content marketing inspiration. The methods demonstrated are key to brand building: personification, integrity, positioning, creating a voice and enforcing repetition. Which combination of these pillars will you use?
Need some help with your content marketing strategy? Hit us up – we’re here to help!
Lindsey is Hawke’s Content Project Manager. She lives and breathes content creation and loves photography.