4 Key Lessons from the 2015 Super Bowl Ads

With yesterday’s game finally over, we can focus on what really matters. Move over deflate gate, we’re here to talk about the Super Bowl ads. They draw the biggest brands, millions of viewers, and billions of dollars in ad revenue.

These ads are special. Not only do they represent some of the best creative work of the year, but they also represent a huge financial risk for some of the brands involved. That means these brands are leaving it all on the field (pardon the pun).

Let’s look at the top 4 things you can learn from this year’s Super Bowl advertising.

1. Storytelling

One of the most important lessons that marketers and recruiters can learn from the Super Bowl is the power of storytelling. They are useful for engaging your audience and building your brand. If you’re curious about the science behind storytelling, you can read about that here.

Telling the right story to the right audience is powerful. Your audience can connect very deeply to a story because human psychology naturally responds to storytelling.

Humans are hardwired to relate to stories.

There are some great examples of major brands focusing on stories during their Super Bowl ads. You can look to McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft to see just a few. But they tell stories a couple of different ways. You will see that they either use real people to tell real stories or use a fictional story to inspire a targeted emotional response. Either way, it’s effective.

These brands understand stories create emotional responses, which are then reflected back onto the brands.

Here are some of the best . . .

2. Use Social Media

Social media is a powerful force in the world of marketing and recruiting. It can be used to good effect to ensure that your audience is engaging and converting. Social Media must be incorporated into your larger campaigns. The most successful brands have fully recognized the part that social media is playing in these campaigns.

Even though these brands have millions of people watching their ads, there is an even bigger audience online.

The importance is to fully embrace the capabilities of social media. Not only can you reach a very large audience, but you can also get involved in the conversation. There are plenty of examples of brands directly engaging customers one-on-one on social media.

Many even used the opportunity to expand their own reach by directly engaging other brands.

3. Build Comprehensive Campaigns

Like we said earlier, a television ad is only shown a few times during the Super Bowl, and that’s usually only for major brand sponsors. That doesn’t mean ads in traditional media are ineffective.

Traditional media can be an effective channel for connecting and converting your audience.

Your channels don’t live in a vacuum, cut off from your larger campaign. Each channel needs to be fully incorporated to help accomplish your campaign objectives. There are a dozen different channels with hundreds of individual pieces which should all be supporting each other and your larger campaign objectives.

For a specific Super Bowl reference, you already know about the different ads that are running on television and social media. But you may not know about the SEM ads. Here’s a screenshot of a Google search for the keyword “Super Bowl.”

4. Speak to Your Audience

As a marketer or recruiter, you need to know exactly who your audience is. It’s one of the most basic things you have to know when approaching your advertising. Knowing your audience informs your messaging and determines the channels you use.

Super Bowl ads live and die by how well marketers know their audience.

The best commercials are the ones created by the most informed. These marketers knew more than just whether or not their audience is male or female or within a certain age range. These marketers have created personas that they use to inform their advertising.

An informed marketer know things like hobbies, marital status, familial status, job, and possibly even phone operating system. When marketers and recruiters know enough about their audience, they can get very specific in the messaging they use.

The best instance of a brand knowing it’s audience is Snickers. They continued with their popular “You’re not you when you’re hungry” series of commercials. As usual they used actors with broad appeal. But they also incorporated a classic scene from the Brady Bunch television series.

It was unexpected, hilarious, and creative.

For most of us, the Super Bowl is an opportunity to see some really creative advertising. There are also some very painful ads to watch. (We’re all looking at you Loctite.) But for those of you paying attention, you can learn some valuable lessons from these brands.

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