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Touchdown Tactics: Five Marketing Lessons from Super Bowl Ads

Every year, the Super Bowl isn’t just a face-off between America’s top football franchises; it’s also a battleground for brands vying for the hearts, minds, and wallets of millions of viewers worldwide. 

Super Bowl 2024 was no exception, with advertisers reportedly shelling out a jaw-dropping £5.5 million for a mere 30 seconds of airtime during the game. 

But why did brands view this as such a lucrative opportunity worth splashing their dollars on? The numbers speak volumes. With an average of 123.4 million viewers, this year’s Super Bowl became the most-watched telecast in history and the second-most-watched US broadcast event, surpassed only by the Apollo 11 moon landing!

This highlights the immense potential the event offers to businesses seeking to showcase their products or services to a captivated global audience, all with the aim of leaving a lasting impression and securing a coveted spot in consumers’ minds amid the excitement of the occasion.

Now, let’s delve into some of the most talked-about advertisements from Super Bowl LVIII and extract valuable lessons that can be applied to the retail and placemaking sector:

  1. Leveraging Star Power

Uber Eats set the stage with a star-studded cast including Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, the Beckhams, and Usher. This megastar ensemble showcased the power of celebrity endorsements to capture attention and create buzz around a brand or product. 

For retailers and placemakers, partnering with influential figures or local celebrities can amplify brand visibility and customer engagement. This doesn’t necessarily require spending big bucks on a high-profile celebrity – a luxury only a select few brands can afford! Instead, it could involve teaming up with a micro-influencer (10K–100K followers) or even a nano-influencer (1K-10K followers) who wields influence over a smaller yet highly engaged audience that aligns with your target demographic.

Considering local influencers or community figures can be equally impactful. Collaborating with a member of a local community group, for instance, may be the perfect way to facilitate meaningful interactions with residents and shoppers, driving footfall to your place while enhancing customer sentiment.

  1. Tapping into Social Causes

Dove’s poignant ad addressed the issue of teenage girls dropping out of sports due to body confidence issues and encouraged us, as a global society, to #KeepHerConfident. By aligning with a social cause relevant to their target audience, Dove not only showcased their brand values but also sparked important and meaningful conversations. 

Retailers and destinations can similarly connect with consumers by supporting local initiatives or championing causes that resonate with their community, such as sponsoring youth sports teams, participating in environmental initiatives, or advocating for mental health awareness.

  1. Strategic Timing

Temu, an online marketplace brand, made a strategic decision to release their ad early, which allowed them to build anticipation and generate excitement leading up to the Super Bowl. This smart move ensured maximum exposure and engagement with their target audience. 

Retailers and placemakers can apply this lesson by carefully planning the timing of promotions, events, or product launches to coincide with peak consumer interest and attention. This could involve leveraging major sporting occasions (such as Wimbledon or the Olympics), national and global awareness events (such as Earth Day or National Pet Week), or the release of highly anticipated films.

  1. Surprise and Delight

Verizon, a telecommunications company known for providing wireless services, internet services, and telecommunications products, utilised cryptic pre-game teasers that culminated in a surprise appearance by Beyoncé during their ad. This unexpected twist generated immense buzz and excitement among viewers. Incorporating elements of surprise or exclusivity can elevate the consumer experience and drive engagement.

For retail and placemaking brands, this could mean unveiling limited-time offers, crafting unique experiences, or hosting VIP events to captivate audiences – much like Verizon’s strategic use of anticipation and celebrity endorsement.

  1. Audience Segmentation

Recognising the influence of Taylor Swift, who is in a relationship with Kansas Chiefs superstar tight end, Travis Kelce, and her highly devoted fanbase, beauty brands like Dove seized the opportunity to target this demographic during the Super Bowl. 

By creating ads that spoke directly to Taylor’s fanbase (known as Swifties), these brands significantly extended their reach and relevance at an opportune moment. 

Retailers can adopt a similar approach by dissecting their target audiences and devising tailored (no pun intended!) marketing campaigns to resonate and connect with specific consumer groups.

In conclusion, the Super Bowl advertisements of 2024 offer helpful insights and strategies for marketers in the retail and placemaking sector. From harnessing ‘star power’ to tapping into social causes, the lessons learned from these ads can help elevate a brand’s impact and marketing outcomes.

Ready to score big with your placemaking strategies? Contact us now at marketing@toolbox-marketing.com to kick off your winning game plan!