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While the Super Bowl looked different in many ways this year, the tradition of brands shelling out millions to vie for our attention with 30-second ads remained the same.
From big-name celebrities to catchy jingles, there were lots of great marketing campaigns this year. Below we outline some of our favorites and share why they were effective from a marketing perspective.
- “No Way, Norway!”
This General Motors ad starred comedian Will Ferrell as a passionate electric vehicle driver. When Ferrell finds out that Norway greatly outproduces the United States in electric vehicle production, he is outraged. Ferrell plans to assemble a team to make a stand in Norway, except they all accidentally travel to the wrong Scandanavian countries. We liked this ad because it was lighthearted and comedic, but still clearly got the point across that GM is committing itself to produce more electric vehicles. Because electric cars are better for the environment, GM is showing that the brand cares about the future and is helping to invent a better tomorrow.
- “Swimming Upstream”
After a year full of trials and tribulations, Toyota’s ad addressed the hardships of life head-on. The ad told the life story of Jessica Long, a U.S. Paralympian and double leg amputee who was adopted from Russia as a child. The ad showed that while Jessica faced many struggles, she persisted and found success and happiness in life. We loved this ad because of its phenomenal storytelling. Storytelling is one of the best ways for marketers to connect with their audiences and leave a lasting impression. While you might not directly think of Toyota when you think of a brave Paralympian, this story of persistence perfectly ties into its tagline: “Let’s Go Places.”
- “Alexa’s Body”
This hilarious Amazon commercial followed along with an Amazon employee who came up with the idea to put Alexa technology into a humanlike body. The commercial takes a turn when she puts Alexa technology into actor Michael B. Jordan and can’t stop drooling over him in front of her husband. According to post-Super Bowl social media analysis, this commercial made the biggest splash. Amazon saw a 110 percent growth in social media activity and growth within 24 hours of the Super Bowl. The second-ranked company on the list, Paramount, only saw a 54 percent boost. This ad is a great example of how powerful humor can be in marketing if it is executed tastefully and strategically.
- Budweiser’s CSR
Instead of spending $5.5 million on a 30-second Super Bowl ad, Budweiser donated a commercial slot for coronavirus vaccine awareness efforts. While it was the first time in more than 30 years that fans didn’t get to see the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales on the big screen, the brand still gave viewers a glimpse of their adored horses via Twitter. On each commercial break, Budweiser tweeted out a video of the horses carrying a mystery item across rugged terrain and asked followers what they thought the item was. At the end of the game, Budweiser revealed that the Clydesdales were carrying a cooler full of beer (shocker!). We loved Budweiser’s marketing strategy for several reasons. First, by choosing to donate their Super Bowl advertising budget to coronavirus vaccination efforts, it shows its audience that corporate social responsibility is important to the brand. The campaign also harnessed the power of video by using stunning visuals to draw viewers in. If you’re interested in integrating video content into your marketing campaigns, check out our blog on strengthening video strategy.
If you want to develop a marketing campaign but aren’t sure where to start, contact us! From planning to execution, we can help you along every step of the way.
By Clairemont intern Anne Claire Foreman, a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill.