I commute, almost every day. On good days, it takes me somewhat over two hours for a single trip, which makes a rather daunting 4,5 hours a day. Unfortunately, there are also bad days, like this Monday, when I had almost an hour of delay on the way home. So I decided to watch all the Superbowl 2016 commercials (yes, I watch commercials for a hobby). I mean, I’ve heard great things about Superbowl Commercials, so I expected it to be at least as amazing as the work entered into the Cannes Lions competition. Reality was slightly disappointing (but nowhere near as disappointing as watching that-day-Netflix-suggestion LOL starring Miley Cyrus, so all in all still time well spent).
So, what’s notable in Superbowl land? Well, there are several things.
First of all, while some brands hire famous directors to create their commercials, other focus on crowd sourcing or letting their customers create something (Doritos did a great job there!). That’s a pretty interesting approach. First of all, the method in itself generated attention amongst your fanbase (especially if you work with some voting system that requires participants to share their work with their network). Second, since this way of working is relatively new, it might gain you some free media exposure. Third – it’s good for your likeability (I mean, it is sort of cool that Intuit handed their slot to a small business). Seeing how Wix.com (made by famous animators), Hyundai (made by a famous director) and Doritos (commercial made by fans) are the top three, the chosen approach doesn’t seem to influence view numbers (much).
Second: hashtags. So many hashtags. There’s #startstunning, #everydropcounts, #findyourmagic and much more. Admittedly, the 45% percent of commercials that had hashtags this year is a drop compared to last year and the record of over 50% in 2014, but it’s still a pretty impressive number. Hashtags are great to link commercials to online campaigns. Of course, you want people to actually use hashtags (which they will do only if they want to actively contribute to your campaign). Hashtags work best if people are able to create their own content (I’m talking tweets, posts, but also – definitely – photos or even movies) related to your tag. For example: most people could think of quite a few pictures of their own that they could tag with #defylabels (Mini’s hashtag) and much less with #puppymonkeybaby. And of course: a commercial is probably just one step in inspiring your fanbase to use your hashtag.
Third: differentiation. Not just product differentiation , but commercial-style differentiation. Some go with “Such nonsense it’s actually funny” (yes, puppymonkeybaby, I’m looking at you.. but not just you). Others try to relate themselves to famous actors, singers and soundtracks (Skittles, Bud Light, Honda, Intel). Or amazing visual presentation (LG, Coca Cola). And just a couple stick with rather dry product information (mostly health related products). Unfortunately, many companies focus on just one or two aspects, leaving us wondering why the hell the bravest thing one could do is eat a Butterfinger (I’ve never tried them, are they that disgusting eating them requires bravery?) or wishing Budweiser would stick with puppies (this year’s commercial just doesn’t live up to the (or at least my) expectations). Or wishing for… well, anything special at all with the Persil commercial.
Now there’s plenty of sites doing extensive analyses on the SuperBowl and its commercials, so for all the best details you could just visit them. On these sites you could also watch every single commercial. But you know what? Maybe you want to spend your time on something else. In that case, here’s a short selection of my favorites, each one with a different focus (but if you choose to watch just one commercial, scroll all the way down, my favorite for this year and an absolute must-see!):
- Best commercial made by fans: Doritos
- Best commercial telling a story: Toyota – the Longest Chase (yep, another car commercial, cars did a good job this year)
- Best commercial focussing on visual: Coca Cola
- And the best commercial showing you don’t actually need fancy visual stuff: Fiat Chrysler
- Best commercial with famous actors: Bud Light
- Best commercial that makes no sense at all (kind of hard to choose, they’re all pretty bad!): Shock Top
- Best mostly informative commercial (no brilliant stuff here, either): OIC
And, finally, the best commercial with a famous soundtrack and… well, simply the best commercial in the game. This one has it all. Yes, this great soundtrack. And emotion. And actual product relevance. If there’s just one commercial you should watch, pick this one, you won’t regret it!