A conversation in my living room after the Super Bowl:
My wife: â€śSo which ads did you like the best?â€ť
Me: â€śUm â€¦ (finding it surprisingly difficult to recall one that stood out). The one with the dog burying the cat collar was pretty good. I think it was Doritos?â€ť
My wife: â€śYeah, and the one with the kid trying to get to a bathroom was cute.â€ť
Me: â€śOh, yeah. Who was that for?â€ť
My wife: â€śUm â€¦ no idea.â€ť
Me: â€śWow. Millions of dollars well-spent there.â€ť
The Super Bowl is clearly advertisingâ€™s biggest stage. It was another record-setting year in the ratings with an average of more than 111 million viewers. So how is it that so often advertisers who spend millions to buy air time and hundreds of thousands more in production costs fail to accomplish their most fundamental strategic objective â€“ getting people to remember their brand?
It comes down to one word: emotion, as in, how well does the spot connect with you? This year, many Super Bowl advertisers tried to get a head start by leaking their commercials to the web prior to the game. And with the post-game buzz, the spots will continue to be viewed online days, even weeks, later.
In light of this longer shelf life, itâ€™s easy to see why advertisers are striving for compelling creative ideas, to make the emotional connection so coveted in marketing. If a spot â€śspeaks to you,â€ť youâ€™re more likely to remember it, to talk about it, to share it online.
One of my personal favorites (and of many of my R/P colleagues) was Chryslerâ€™s â€śHalftime in Americaâ€ť spot featuring Clint Eastwood. It had nearly 3 million views on YouTube less than 48 hours after the game. I liked that I actually felt something as I watched it. I connected with its sense of gritty patriotism, that the American dream takes effort and perseverance. I felt pride.
Certainly, these are attributes Chrysler hopes are attributed to its brand. No small challenge when Chevrolet has historically been Americaâ€™s automotive brand â€“ I still recall their â€śbaseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevroletâ€ť positioning. But between last yearâ€™s launch of â€śImported from Detroitâ€ť with the popular Eminem Super Bowl spot and this yearâ€™s follow-up, Chrysler is well on its way.
Which brings us back to the conversation I had with my wife. Where is the emotional connection in other spots? Well, most people love cute animals. And cute kids. (Can you say E-Trade baby?) And the Super Bowl is about appealing to the most possible people (why else spend all that money?). The issue is, and always will be, connecting that emotion to your brand attributes in a unique and interesting way. Simply stated, some spots do a far better job of this than others.
But if your baby is cute enough, and the idea different enough, you can end up with a commercial that tops USA Todayâ€™s ad meter – the Doritos’ â€śSling Babyâ€ť.