Group Gordon’s James Seaton tackles the winning gameplan for the 2020 Super Bowl’s most successful ads.
Super Bowl LIV saw a wide range of wacky, gripping, thought-provoking, and downright silly ads. Always a highlight of the event, Super Bowl ads keep your eyes glued to the TV during game breaks, sparking debates about which is best, and even creating a cultural moment at times. After all, companies don’t spend $5.6 million on these ads for nothing.
It can be easy to get caught up in the star power, jokes, and gimmicks, but the most effective ads were about more than that.
Relatability in the Madness
This year’s most effective ads carried a theme of relatability. Beyond featuring celebrities, these ads provided a clear sense of the utility of the products shown by tapping into experiences and emotions most people can relate to.
The Rocket Mortgage commercial with Jason Momoa was one of my favorite ads because it comically tackled the idea of being comfortable with yourself amidst constant pressure (especially for celebrities) to look muscular and toned. Momoa had recently been body-shamed while on vacation with his wife for not preserving his “Aquaman” physique, and this ad took a shot at critics who place absurd fitness expectations on stars. It was great to see Momoa find a reprieve from the pressure in his home with his family, away from the craziness of social media and paparazzi.
The T-Mobile commercial took a technology most of us don’t understand and effectively laid out the practical benefits of 5G network for everyday life. As the actor Anthony Anderson’s mother realized after thorough testing, 5G works at the movie theater, the beach, the park, and basically everywhere else. On top of showing 5G’s utility, T-Mobile captured very real mother-son relationship dynamics.
Microsoft’s commercial featuring San Francisco 49ers Offensive Assistant Coach Katie Sowers showed what diversity and inclusion means and looks like. It’s about turning assumptions, like “women can’t lead,” on their heads. For Sowers, making history in coaching is not about being the best female coach but the best coach period, so that the next generation can be motivated and inspired to break their own barriers. Microsoft highlighted not only Sowers’ story, but also the story of many women who are the first in their fields.
Reaching Your Target Audience
For brands to connect with their customers and attract new ones, their marketing and advertising must reflect the wants, needs, and feelings of their audiences. At the end of the day, people want to feel seen and heard, and that increasingly means by brands they support. Star power is great, but the brands that went beyond that in their ads by tapping into relatable themes and stories – about self-esteem, family, and gender equality, for example – showed their values to a massive audience. I can’t wait to see how next year’s Super Bowl ads will speak to fans like me.