It would be safe to say that Super Bowl LIII was a slow burner, which is not ideal considering that the game didn’t finish until 3 am in the UK. The New England Patriots were once again victorious, winning 13-3 against the Los Angeles Rams after scoring a late go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for LA Rams supporters (and most neutrals), their team just could not find a spark offensively and went out with a whimper. With the win, Tom Brady received his sixth ring and surely cemented his status as the greatest of all time.
Much like the game, the halftime show was met with mixed reactions. Maroon 5 performed some of their greatest hits, with special guests Travis Scott and Outkast member, Big Boi. However, their appearance was surrounded by controversy before they even played and the performance itself could be argued as very safe. Another major talking point of any Super Bowl is the advertisements that show during the frequent breaks. Sadly, these do not show on UK networks but that doesn’t stop us from being able to watch them on YouTube whilst seeing fan reaction on social media. The initial reaction shows that viewers were also uninspired by most of the advertisements that were shown, but the quality of the game is likely to have impacted this. Some bands, such as Burger King and Mint Mobile significantly missed the mark. However, there were still several winners, which we will discuss in more detail below.
Notable omissions: Dietz & Watson, T-Mobile, Verizon.
Pepsi had a minute-long advertisement that focused on the catchphrase “more than ok”. The advertisement featured Steve Carell, Lil Jon and Cardi B. There are several reasons why the hit the nail on the head with this advertisement. Firstly, I think everyone can relate to hearing the phrase “is Pepsi okay?” when visiting a bar or restaurant. The advert does well in making us think that in fact Pepsi is a perfectly fine option and should not be considered a substitute product to Coca-Cola. Secondly, the advert embraces the catchphrases of both Cardi B and Lil Jon to ensure that whilst the advert is memorable, it is also light-hearted and fun. Pepsi also ran a sweepstake during the whole game that allowed viewers to win prizes by tweeting every time the word “okay” was used, which was a great engagement strategy. Special mention to Steve Carell’s “okurr” attempt.
Expensify made a great impression with their first-ever Super Bowl advertisement. For those who don’t recognise the brand name, they have an expense management app for personal and business use. The advert used Atlanta born rapper 2 Chainz and Adam Scott, who played an accountant in Parks and Rec. The reason why this advert was a hit is that it had a great engagement strategy. Super Bowl viewers were able to snap a photo of the receipts shown during the advert and then expense them for a chance to win money and prizes. This meant that people who wanted to enter the competition had to download the Expensify App. Furthermore, the catchy rap song went a long way in helping the advert stand out.
Budweiser’s campaign was much more toned down than Expensify’s yet still just as effective. Firstly, Budweiser used a cute dog which instantly gets people watching. Secondly, they made the advert easy to follow, whilst using a classic Bob Dylan song to set the tone. The advert ultimately hit big, thanks to the message that Budweiser is “now brewed with wind power, for a better tomorrow”. This phrase alone could prove to be popular with viewers, with a recent Nielsen report showing that 66% of consumers would spend more on the products of sustainable brands.
The dating-app, Bumble, was another first time Super Bowl advertiser this year. Their advert was 30 seconds long and featured the iconic Serena Williams, who is also the company’s global ambassador. The advert was very strong due to the consistency between its message and the service that the dating-app offers. The main feature of the app is that it only allows females to interact first, after matching with a male. Therefore, making the slogan “in her court” very relevant to both the product and Serena’s tennis skills. Overall, providing a great first impression.
Bud Light were the big spenders in terms of Super Bowl advertising this year. They ran several commercials that ran for just under 6 minutes in total. Whilst some of Bud Light’s other slots took a focus on corn syrup, this one led to a big surprise. This advert took a big twist when HBO’s Game of Thrones took over and one of its dragons appeared on the screen. The twist was very creative yet managed to stay consistent with Bud Light’s medieval-themed branding of recent years. Overall, the advertisement appeared to be a big hit, in thanks to the hype surrounding the final seasons of the show this April. Dilly Dilly!
Last but certainly not least, it is safe to say that Microsoft made a very big impact with their advert this year. Their “We All Win” campaign gave a firm pull on the heart-strings and if it didn’t then I’m not quite sure what will. The advert featured the transition of young gamers from using traditional controllers to the new Xbox Adaptive Controller. It emphasised that gaming can be for everyone and spread a positive message that everybody is equal. Furthermore, the focus on community and support could have a great impact on parents who were previously reluctant to buy a console for their children.
Hi, I'm Adam, Customer Account Manager at Reach Interactive, with a background in digital and international marketing. I love everything to do with digital technology and improving communication between brands and their customers.
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