According to FOX Sports, Super Bowl LVII drew an average viewership of 113 million. And of those 113 million, more than three-quarters said they were looking forward to the ads. For some, the ads are far more of a draw than the game itself.
Not everyone loves the sports ball, after all. But everyone does love to laugh.
The best Super Bowl ads are funny, entertaining, and memorable. People often have a favorite Super Bowl commercial – personally, I love eTrade’s dancing monkey bit – but somehow, inexplicably, the industry seems confused about what Super Bowl ads are for.
You’ve seen the conversations – what’s the ROI on these high-profile, incredibly expensive commercials? Sales cycles are tracked against the ad timeline, looking to see how much interest was created during the game and what that meant for the brand in the subsequent days, weeks, and months to come. It has been said that these ads are brand vanity projects – just a way for the largest brands to spend money to feel important.
Way to miss the point.
Super Bowl ads are, when done properly, an amazing way to build up the levels of love people have for your brand. In a very short time frame, brands provide a beautiful, compelling experience that touches viewers’ hearts and minds. With smart storytelling, brands can say “We understand who you are, and we care about you.”
This year, for example, Booking.com has Melissa McCarthy – a funny, relatable celebrity – in several funny scenes talking about her need to go on a trip “somewhere, anywhere” – a feeling familiar to everyone who’s just gone through a couple of years of pandemic restrictions.
GM & Netflix partnered up to promote electric vehicles – an idea not everyone loves – using the shows and movies everyone does love, via the talents of comedian Will Ferrell, while Hellman’s trusted in the power of the Dad joke in their ad.
These spots are all designed to entertain the viewer and make them feel good. It’s a little bit of fun, courtesy of a trusted brand. At this point, customer expectations of the Super Bowl ad are fairly high – so brands that can meet and exceed those expectations earn a greater benefit.
Super Bowl ads are a tool for generating love. It’s that simple. That’s the only meaningful metric: does the public love your brand more after the ad than before it? All of the creativity, all of the over-the-top spectacle, all of the celebrity appearances, and WOW moments are happening because brands want the customer to love them best. It doesn’t matter if the brand is relatively new or if it has been around for 100 years. The battle for customer affection never stops – not even for the football game.