It’s official. Football season has ended. Let’s all take a minute to mourn. 😭 But, we at Glint couldn’t help but share our big game ad wins and fails.
As excited as we were to find out which NFL team would call themselves the big game 2023 champions, we were more excited to see which commercials landed and missed-especially since broadcasters charged between six and seven million dollars for a 30-second ad spot during the game. That’s a lot of money for little airtime.
So, the question stands: “What makes a successful ad?” Here’s Glint’s take.
1. Throw the marketing book out the window.
According to some experts, the best commercials defy traditional marketing rules. The precious 4 Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion are no longer all required to warrant success.
Think about it. What do you really learn about the actual product promoted while watching ads during the biggest game of the year?
Truly successful ads can quickly set up an effective storyline that evokes emotion. Emotion aside, the best game ads do something additionally clever: they create a storyline quickly.
A great example in the 2023 game was the Farmer’s Dog “Forever” commercial. It immediately pulled you in, a young girl and her adorable puppy. Too cute! The ad begins with the young girl saying to the puppy, “I’ll always take care of you.” We follow her through all of life’s big moments. Through it all, she keeps her promise to her four-legged best friend. No one was cutting onions; the emotions were very real. Perfection.
2. Set up the punchline.
Some of the most memorable ads have one thing in common: a great punchline!
The genius of a notable commercial can be found in contrast. Think – things that don’t belong together but become funny when we put them together. Consider the 2010 Snickers commercial that starred the iconic Betty White.
In the hilarious short, the then-88-year-old Golden Girl gets tackled during a football game. A teammate tells her, “Mike, you’re playing like Betty White out there.”
She hits him with a comeback, “That’s not what your girlfriend said.”
Her teammate offers her a Snickers bar, and Mike’s energy and likeness return. Excuse the pun: GOLDEN!
3. Pick the right talent.
Choosing the right celebrity to be the face of an ad is vital to its success. A brand needs to ensure the star resonates with the audience they hope to attract.
One option is choosing a celebrity who is already a brand in themselves. This year General Motors chose Will Ferrell, a household name recognized by different generations for his comedic acting skills. In this year’s big game ad, GM partnered with another brand giant, Netflix, to put Will Ferrell in well-known Netflix originals to ask the question: “Why not EV?”
Will Ferrell in “Squid Game.” Will Ferrell in “Stranger Things.” Will Ferrell in the new season of “Bridgerton.”
The goal of the ad was to announce that GM was going electric and Netflix would be supporting them by incorporating more electric cars into their shows. So, why put Will Ferrell in shows that don’t even have cars in the original scenes? The world may never know.
Was Will Ferrell the right celebrity? We think so. But his celebrity brand was bigger than the brand he represented.
Good or bad, the commercial is unforgettable.
4. Strategy is everything.
Relying on a 30-second ad alone seems wasteful. Booking an advertisement during the NFL game of champions is expensive! To make the most of securing such a prestigious spot, brands build a strategy to increase the ROI on the six to seven-million-dollar investment. How? They tease their ads days, even weeks before the ad is supposed to air.
Considered as this year’s biggest teaser was M&M’s promotion. On January 23, the company made a shocking announcement three weeks before the ad aired. They decided it would be best to pause indefinitely from showcasing their iconic spokes candies due to conservative “backlash.” In the same breath, they introduced “a spokesperson America can agree on, the beloved Maya Rudolph.”
For those three weeks before the biggest NFL game of the year, all anyone could talk about was this bizarre PR move M&M’s made. Asking why? BAM! The brand got everyone to do what they wanted. We are talking about the beloved chocolate treat. In our opinion, the ad was a flop, but the “pre-game” strategy…💋🤌🏼✨*chef’s kiss*
At Glint, we love discussing unique ways brands attract consumer attention beyond big game ad wins and fails.
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