What’s everyone at your office talking about this morning? That huge come from behind win by the Patriots? Mr. Clean’s new dance moves? Or whether the Snickers live commercial was an intentional disaster?
The Super Bowl is one of the biggest annual events in American culture. Regardless, whether you love, hate or feel nothing towards the two teams that made it to the big game, you most likely watched for a little bit, just to be a part of the watercooler conversation the next day. In fact, it is estimated that over 70% of US households watched the big game.
The wide, and very diverse, audience that watches the Super Bowl has made it the advertising event of the year. Even in a society that increasingly uses technology to skip TV advertisements, viewers tune in to the Super Bowl JUST to watch the commercials. Advertisers shell out big bucks to create ads that have intense story lines, dramatic special effects and cinematography, and carefully crafted humor. And in today’s digital world, advertisers are even creating full media campaigns, pre-releasing their Super Bowl ads in advance online through their social media channels.
From a marketer’s perspective, this year’s ads didn’t disappoint. From ads filmed live during the game to entire campaigns “teasing” the Super Bowl ad weeks in advance, advertisers rolled out the red carpet to showcase their products and make viewers feel more connected with their brands. One of the key themes that stood out this year was controversy and political ideals. 84 Lumber even used controversy as a defined strategy in the weeks leading up to the game. FOX banned their original ad, so they revised the ad and ended it with a call for viewers to go to their website to see the ad that was “deemed too controversial for TV.”
Using controversy as a strategy isn’t new in advertising and it definitely isn’t new to Super Bowl advertising. GM, Chrysler, Coca-Cola and Nationwide have all aired “controversial” ads in the past, and some companies have even been accused of regularly submitting ads that they knew wouldn’t be accepted just to gain free brand awareness. Super Bowl advertisers are under increased pressure to stand out from the crowd. Competition drives advertisers to take their ads to new levels, whether it’s introducing a crazy character such as PuppyMonkeyBaby or using their 30 seconds to take a stance on a hot topic. Controversy makes a brand stand out, and it will be interesting to see how some of these more political tones play out for the brands in the weeks and months after the Super Bowl.
With this in mind, Roberts’ annual #CustomerBowl event took on a new twist. We wanted to understand how people respond and are affected by Super Bowl ads. Using some of the pre-released ads, live polling and audience discussion, we gauged audience preferences and derived insights about how effectively the ads drove brand recognition, loyalty and behavior change. We also took a specific look at whether gender or generation played a role in a person’s emotional and behavioral responses.
So what did we learn?
- Men are most likely to make a purchase based on Super Bowl advertising.
- Consumer Packaged Good (CPG) brands were most likely to inspire viewers to make a purchase.
- Technology brands were most likely to inspire viewers to go to their website for more information.
- Generation X was the most actively engaged with advertising.
- Laughter is king. Humor, done well, wins hearts and minds.
Roberts’ 2017 #CustomerBowl was a wild success in drawing insights and data on how people react to ads. And the ads for Super Bowl LI were an especially interesting group to analyze. We’re already looking forward to next year and we know the advertisers are already starting to think about their strategies. You can see the data and all our insights in our Roberts Red Zone Report.