$100 Million Dollars of Free Marketing Research

aka. Marketing Trend Analysis of Super Bowl XLVIII Commercials

Superbowl television commercials have long been revered as the most expensive television commerical timeslots all year long. Every second can cost major brands millions of dollars just to press the play button – pile on top of that celebrity endorsements, music royalties, production cost, market research – and there is hundreds of millions of dollars streaming pass your eyes every 60″ LED second. So why do I like to glue my eyes to the screen? For the simple fact that by picking up on trends, patterns, and similarities through the oozing materializm and pop bombardment can in fact render a clear snapshot of that last expensive piece – millions of dollars of market research.

Each one of these major brands advertising during the SuperBowl has commissioned or collected billions of data points about their respective markets to hone their messaging, topic, & approach to maximize their increase in brand equity. As the game rolls on, just like fashion week in Paris each commercial break leaves us ready to see what leading marketers around the globe think will and won’t work this year in marketing. Some concepts flopped, some were genius – see what I thought about some of the major campaigns below. Some of this is absolute gold!

Epic Fail

Maserati produced a gorgeous impressionistic montage of working hard and acheivement to debute the new Ghibili…and the #1 mobile Google search result, a Maserati owned domain – www.maseratighibli.us – is hosed with a “down for construction” message. Even if it costs you a quarter million dollars to upgrade hosting to Benzos’s personal AWS account in octuple failover multi-zone, you spent ten times that on the commerical. If you don’t have the bandwidth prepared don’t run a pull marketing ad during the superbowl. Your first debut commercial basically said nothing about the car and didn’t even have a picture of the entire thing at once – and with 80-85% of people watching TV with a smart device or tablet you don’t think 25 million people are going to whip out their cellphones and look up wtf a Masserati Ghibili is? C’mon!


Non-profits Win Big – (RED)

There were more than a few non-profs that squeezed their way in between the big brands to get splash traction behind specific campaigns.  (RED) running a 24 donation spot was a genius way to get their message out to a ton of people – who were hanging out with other people they influence.

If at First You Don’t Succeed

Multi-part advertisments are nothing new, but the strategic disection of lengthier messaging into mini-series that string engagement across multiple commercial breaks was perfected this SuperBowl.  The TV Series 24 & Budweiser being the most memorable – these ads hit re-marketing right between the eyes like a multi-page magazine layout.  So if those were good, what was great?  M&Ms and Dannon both ran spots in the days and weeks leading up to the SuperBowl stretching their budget much further in the non-SuperBowl prime time.

The American Freakin’ Dream

Whether or not you still believe in the american dream – it still sells! Sure, the Ford commercial might have been slightly over the top – but the concept that if you have a dream and work hard anything is possible could have easily been the 1-liner for a dozen of the advertisements aired. Advertisers certainly made a hard play into the patriotic this year and leaned on the working class American imagine to prop up their realize your dream products – even GoDaddy lead preaching a message of impromptus puppeteer entrepreneurial rebellion reaching for the American dream.

“Is there anything more American than America?”

Point out the subliminal – Pistaccios.

The mass market gets marketing, they get when companies are trying to market to them, ADMITTING THAT dislodges the typical synsism associated with blatent marketing ploys. Case en point – Pistaccios, no sooner did the Steve Colbert bit finish than I turned to my friends saying – “wow – did you see how hard Pistaccio is playing the color brand association card?”, then a multi-part comes right back in with a confirmation message. Brilliant.

Retro Rocks!

Seinfield, Fullhouse, RadioShack’s ridiculous 80′s montage, even Disney’s robin hood theme (catch THAT one?). All of these pulls at the nostaligia heartstrings were targeted at the 30-40 demographic who grew up during the late 80′s and early 90′s. It’s interesting that this has continued into several other mainstream culture phenomenon including sitcoms. Bringing back the old guard from yester-years seems to be a budding trending in the primetime market as stars from Cheers, Seinfield, and others spearhead new projects.

Celebrities matter less.

Celebs pretty much fail, Scarlett Johansen and James Franco are probably the only two I could remember and they didn’t really add anything of substance.  To American’s, it’s about the message and how you feel inside after it’s delivered – not who’s delivering it*.

*except if it’s Bob Dylan, then its partially about who’s delivering it.

Tmobile – Winner!

No, not the Tebow big-budget special effects blockbuster – the Disney’s robin hood themed pink screen one. Awesome, subtle, & made you dig! It was a deep dig into your brain to pinpoint what the song was, where you had heard it before, what it was from, embedding their brand almost as deep. It was a cool “name that song” trivia break that engaged conversation long after their 30 second spot had elapsed and grab extended mind share in the group.

Markets Still Anticipate a Soft Consumer Market

Price sensitivity was a CPI basket-wide phenomenon. Whether it was Walmart, Burger King, or a $65,000 Maserati – advertisers were taking the value angle on messaging this year.  It was about getting more for less.  My last car salesman called this, “riding deep for cheap” and I sort of like the sound of that. Commercials across sectors were seeking the appeal of the bargain shopper.

Honorable mentions included Scientology taking a stab at mainstream media advertising & an expensive computer generated dog – but for the most part this covers some of the more interesting.  Anything that stuck out to you during the SuperBowl advertising that provided an interesting marketing insight please let me know below!

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