Written by: Colton Radford, Content Marketing Strategist
The ads that made the low-scoring game between the Patriots and Rams just a bit more interesting (and why they worked).
What makes a Super Bowl commercial great? Catchy songs? Raunchy humor? Heartwarming emotion? Astonishing animation? Adorable animals? Iconic celebrities? All out absurdity?
The reality is, it’s a complicated question with an ever-changing answer. Much like your optimal jean size, the correct answer fluctuates by brand and evolves over time to match your specific needs. In the end, it’s usually a gut feeling (or maybe a waist feeling). Regardless, the pants either fit or they don’t. The ad is either memorable or it’s forgettable.
But, when the cost of attempting to get the consumer to try on your brand’s pants starts at $175K per second, it would be nice to have some guidelines…
What Makes a Super Bowl Commercial Great?
If anyone has the answer to this elusive question, it’s Bryan Buckley. From Visa and Tide to Budweiser and Fed Ex, this Oscar n
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Buckley shared his top three ways to create iconic ads:
1. The Perfect Cast
It’s not about having all of the most popular celebrities, it’s about using them in the best and most interesting ways. Mix in a cast of regular, everyday people for your audience to relate to and you have advertising gold. Or, maybe the cast isn’t human at all. Whatever it is, find a way to make it authentic.
2. Know the Audience
Speaking of audiences, you have to realize who will be watching your ads. Not just who they are and what they like, but what they feel and how they think. A big part of this, especially during the global spectacle that is the Super Bowl, is to understand the social and political climate of the year and speak to your audience accordingly.
3. Nail the Story
Between their massive cost and vast reach, Super Bowl ads today are a lot like major motion pictures. It’s no surprise then, that these ads should feel like a comprehensive story. One that has an attention-grabbing introduction, engaging rising action, and a closer that makes viewers want what you have to sell.
2019 Super Bowl Ads
Without further ado, here are the Leverage Marketing picks for best Super Bowl ads in 2019.
1. CBS – “CBS Eyeconic”
CBS strikes gold according to Buckley’s standards. They use their decades of hit shows to deliver the “perfect cast” using the most recognizable soundbites. They include a wide range of show genres so as to appeal to each demographic in the Super Bowl-watching audience, and they create a cohesively branded story by using only their logo and a hard-hitting headline. Simple, yet nostalgic and surprisingly elegant.
2. T-Mobile – “Ad Meter”
This was the first of many similarly-themed commercials that T-Mobile aired during the big game. Other iterations include a guy thinking hard about how to best respond to his girlfriend and a dad mistakenly texting his daughter for “eggplant parm recipes,” instead of typing it into Google. By doing this, T-mobile creates a relatable cast of everyday people (without ever showing a single face), clearly speaks to the entire cell-phone-using
3. Amazon – “Not Everything Makes the Cut”
The fact that this Amazon commercial centers solely around the tech giant’s imaginary “fails” speaks volume to the importance of humanizing a brand. Although the technological concepts illustrated in this ad are all laughably fake, they oddly resonate well with the continual human desire to stretch the limits of possibility. The real kicker is that Amazon could probably make all these ridiculous concepts a reality. They have the power to progress the technology that we all enjoy, and that’s the real message here.
4. Verizon – “The Coach Who Wouldn’t Be Here”
After watching this, my first reaction was – why hasn’t any other cell phone carrier thought of this? Verizon aims straight for the heart by telling a real story of how their product, one we use every day, can literally save lives. It doesn’t get much more powerful than that. Add in the fact that the life which was saved is that of an NFL coach, and all three of Buckley’s boxes are checked.
5. Coke – “A Coke is a Coke”
Want to know how to keep your brand relevant for over a century? Create stunning animation and motion graphics and never stop adapting to the social climate. By using the message “Together is Beautiful,” Coke once again elevates its product above simply being a fizzy, sugary drink and into the realm of a highly-accessible tool for unification.
6. Hyundai – “The Elevator”
Hyundai grabs your attention quickly with a recognizable celebrity who gives an elevator pitch (literally) to a cast of everyday people looking to avoid life’s most uncomfortable (but relatable) situations. In the end, Hyundai doesn’t try to sell any specific automobile or tangible product, they try to sell a solution to the fearful emotion that many have when car shopping. That’s real value.
7. Microsoft – “We All Win”
The unofficial theme of inclusiveness continues with this heartwarming Microsoft commercial. Even if you’re not much into video games, it’s impossible not to see the value in bridging gaps and making what was seemingly impossible, possible. It’s in direct opposition to the feeling of exclusiveness that their lifelong competitor, Apple, often emulates in their marketing efforts, and that’s certainly not by accident.