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Marketing lessons to learn from the Super Bowl

Best Marketing Trends We Saw During Super Bowl LV

About 5.7 million people turned in to watch the Super Bowl across the United States. The game is great, of course, but we’d be lying if we said we didn’t also tune in to watch the commercials. Marketing and advertising go hand-in-hand, and we love checking them out to see what themes are emerging, what trends are in style, how the best in the business use content can be used to surprise and delight huge audiences… and what ideas we can use as inspiration for all of our own marketing campaigns.

This year didn’t disappoint! We’ve rounded up some of the best examples we saw at Super Bowl LV and we’re going to tell you why they were our favorites. We help all our clients make touchdown-worthy marketing strategies this year, so if you want something that jumps off the screen, call us today.

Bud Light: “A Lemon Of A Year”

Bud Light used the Super Bowl to present its new lemonade seltzer, inspired by 2020, which as we all know was “a lemon of a year”. The ad shows literal lemons falling from the sky, first as a drizzle, then as a hard pour that begins wreaking havoc on everyone in sight. People are getting knocked over, sporting games are being disrupted, someone’s wedding ends in disaster, a first date goes horribly, and people are running for cover in business buildings.

The story it tells is both hilarious and strangely relatable, because the lemons are a perfect metaphor for the coronavirus pandemic. The main characters of the ad were a group of friends enjoying a barbecue in someone’s backyard discussing when Bud Light came out with the lemonade seltzer. One friend replies, “Probably when 2020 handed us all those lemons”. Cue the memory of lemons terrorizing the town.

Video was the perfect format. The Bud Light team thought outside the box to sell the new lemonade light seltzer during the game. The bubbly beverage is one of many flavors which are now available around the country. This type of video marketing resonates with so many people because it shows a variety of events that are quite frankly, ruined, because of the lemons (aka the pandemic). It’s a shared experience, and everyone watching had a good laugh. We also found it impressive that they delivered a campaign that expressed the bitterness of 2020 without actually saying the word “pandemic” or “coronavirus”.

Conor Mason, senior brand director of Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, was quoted in Campaign US saying, “We wanted to use some of those relatable moments from 2020, whether it’s a bad haircut, a postponed wedding or canceled travel plans, and take those lemons and turn them into Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade.”

Bud Light also included a live and inclusive call-to-action during the actual Super Bowl game as a part of their marketing strategy. In real-time, fans were able to tweet #LemonsIntoLemonade and #Sweepstakes for a chance to win an entire case of the Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade. Delicious.

UberEats: Wayne’s World Is Back

UberEats graced viewers with a blast from the past, with a commercial featuring the beloved Wayne’s World cast of Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. In the ad, the iconic pair promoted the use of UberEats as a way to support local restaurants (oh hey! As passionate supporters of local businesses, we give kudos for this). They engaged in a hilarious dialogue, going back and forth as they discussed how they would never use marketing trends such as trending dances, cute babies, large text, or celebrity cameos to get people to use the app. Of course, flash forward, and they’re both doing popular TikTok dances, holding baby versions of themselves, flashing bold text across the screen, and suddenly sitting next to rapper Cardi B.

Cardi B goes on to urge people to support local and use UberEats to get their favorite meals delivered to them. “Y’all know I love to eat, and right now we have got to be supporting our local restaurants — like the Griddle Cafe in L.A.,” she says. “So many spots are struggling right now, and it’s up to us to eat local! That’s why I teamed up with Uber Eats and my boys Wayne and Garth to help.”

This type of engaging video content is compelling because of its use of iconic characters that appealed to two very different demographics, Wayne’s World and Cardi B. It’s designed to surprise you and grab your attention – and for us, it worked. Influencer marketing is powerful when used well! The unlikely partnership worked well to emphasized the company’s values (you can read more about values-based marketing here), including its diverse customer base and commitment to supporting small businesses. Add a dash of humor, and you’ve got a perfect campaign for the Super Bowl.

Michael B. Jordan Is Amazon’s Alexa 

Amazon’s ad started with a fictional employee praising the design of the company’s latest smart speaker. Boring, right? It’s shot in a gray office with dull blue light. “I literally couldn’t imagine a more beautiful vessel for Alexa to be… inside,” she says. However, her train of thought drifts off as a bus pulls up outside, plastered with an ad for Michael B. Jordan’s new Prime Video series, Without Remorse.

We then cut to a couple of fantasy scenes, where the employee interacts with Alexa… who has now taken up residence in Jordan’s body. This commercial takes a beat to hit its stride, but it seizes the element of surprise and uses humor to show how the new product can be used in real life. She asks Alexa to turn on the sprinklers, add items to her shopping list, read her audio book, and more. The ad ends with the woman accidentally getting distracted and starting the sprinklers for the second time when her frustrated husband says, “Things are getting way too wet around here!”

Amazon found a creative way to unveil the fourth-generation Echo Dot. What’s interesting about this ad is that, although Alexa has a female voice, the ad shows Jordan as the one voicing the Echo. Historically, most virtual assistants have all been female and results have shown that consumers have been primarily men. According to voicebot.ai, 57.8% of men had access to smart speakers compared to 42.2% of women. This ad might be Amazon’s attempt at targeting women and flipping the script of female-centered virtual assistants. We found this especially compelling because it created a new narrative that was disguised in a humorous and sexy way and led to many discussions after.

Learnings You Can Use in Your Own Marketing

Super Bowl commercials are amazing every year. And while air time during the game is incredibly expensive (a 30-second slot costs about $5.6 million), you can learn from them and roll out some of the strategies in your own marketing efforts. Here are some of our key takeaways:

  1. Relatability is key. Bud Light proved that people respond to shared experiences. As a consumer, you think the brand is on the same page as you, that it understands you, and is therefore creating products for people like you. Don’t be afraid to share stories and feelings about things that are going on in your life, because chances are your client base will be able to relate.
  2. You can have fun with marketing trends. Marketing trends go in and out of fashion all the time, especially when it comes to finding new ways to capture people’s interest online. You don’t have to copy everyone else! The UberEats commercial showed that putting your own spin on things can not only take people by surprise, but make them stick around long enough to listen.
  3. Values should always (ALWAYS) come first. UberEats also showed the importance of clearly defining your brand values and sticking to them. People care about their local communities, so highlighting local businesses has been an integral part of the company’s marketing efforts. In this case, it makes a global company seem approachable. Spend the time to define your values.
  4. Know your key demographics. Amazon knows it’s got a reliable male customer base when it comes to artificial assistants. It’s looking to expand its female customer base, and you can rest assured that nothing in this commercial happened by accident. The team knows exactly who its targeting, what her priorities are, what her lifestyle is like, and what will make her likely to purchase this product. Doing the research will help you maximize ROI on your own campaigns.

Content marketing doesn’t have to include a Super-Bowl-level marketing budget. It can start with a simple content strategy that you can implement tomorrow. Let’s start somewhere together.

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