Themes Coming Out of #SuperBowl50 Advertising


JimJosephHeadshotBy Jim Joseph, Chief Integrated Marketing Officer and President of the Americas, Cohn & Wolfe

I held my annual Twitter party #SuperBowlExp during the Super Bowl again this year…not to sweat out the game but to comment on all of the brand activity. We collectively rate the advertising and evaluate the marketing, and then take breaks when the game is actually in play!

Most years there is a universal theme or two that shines through, but I have to say that this year was much more of a mixed buffet. Nothing in particular stood out.

But my Twitter Party goers were vocal nonetheless. Here are a few takeaways:

Longing for Nostalgia. Throughout the entire game, people were asking what happened to the Clydesdales? They are a beloved Super Bowl tradition and there was just but a small peek. The Super Bowl is about tradition…and people were longing for it. Which is why the Halftime Show montage resonated so well, as did the commercials featuring classic music from David Bowie and Queen.

It’s Tough to be Funny. The humor wasn’t so funny this year, or certainly not in comparison to prior years. The Doritos spots didn’t disappoint nor did the Heinz dogs. But outside of the dogs, there wasn’t a lot to laugh about. People are looking for some entertainment and they are hoping to ROTFLMAO. It wasn’t really there this year.

Technology is Changing Our Financials. Brands like PayPal, SoFi, Rocket Mortgage, and even Esurance showed modern ways to pay, borrow, and protect. All online, very fascinating and all about new/modern money.

Context is Everything. No offense to anyone in the healthcare industry, and by the way I am in the healthcare industry too, but I’m not sure that the Super Bowl is the right venue for discussing health issues. People are just not in the right mindset. Folks in my Twitter party were immediately dismissing the multiple placements. I think there’s a time and a place for such personal and serious topics, IMHO.

My personal favorite was the little ditty from Pantene, showing football players doing their daughters hair. Brought a huge smile to my face. Dad-Do indeed!

But without a shadow of a doubt, the night belonged to Lady Gaga who set a new standard for singing the National Anthem. We have not gotten goose bumps like that since, well, Whitney Houston.

WOW.  What were your favorites? What’s your experience?  JIM

About the Author: Marketing is a spectator sport and Jim Joseph is one of the industry’s most engaging, enthralling, and entertaining commentators. As the Chief Integrated Marketing Officer and President of the Americas for Cohn & Wolfe, Jim brings over twenty-five years of consumer marketing leadership, bold management prowess, and a fine head of hair to the agency. Jim’s an award-winning author of The Experience Effect series; an adjunct instructor at New York University; and a member of the Board of Directors for the number one branding school in the country, The Brandcenter at VCU.  

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