As a lifelong marketer, I love this time of year. Super Bowl season is when everyone is talking about one of its main attractions – The Super Bowl Commercials and Content. Which are the most creative, funny, and memorable? Can you actually remember the brand that ran them? Do you remember that ad from 20 years ago?
What dawned on me was this. As marketers, if we could only harness this level of excitement, interest, engagement and positive reactions toward marketing and selling, year round, then we would have the right recipe for massive success. But like the concept of Growth Hacking, we also need to find a way to harness key elements, but then execute without shelling out inordinate amounts of money.
If you have noticed, there has also been an expanding halo effect around game day commercials. Supporting digital programs in the weeks leading up to the big day, social media contests, Top 10 greatest ad videos, and chatter for days afterwards.
So what makes Super Bowl advertising so compelling (besides the inordinate amounts of money shelled out)? I think it boils down to these key things.
- Great ads are extraordinarily funny, surprising – sometimes even a bit shocking – and certainly unique and innovative, in a way that relates to a wide audience.
- They tease out emotions we can relate to (universal appeal), and are amplified in a way that we cheer.
- Everyone gets to be a critic, in the moment, and our emersion in current events is often tested. So since we feel our opinion matters, we pay attention and weigh in. In other words, we are engaged.
- There is a sense of anticipation and a high bar. We have seen the stage and set before, yet the actors and props are unknown. Nonetheless, we know those that take the stage have to be pretty good.
- Products aren’t being sold by the company. Instead, it’s either an experience or feeling, or if it’s a product it’s being sold by a celebrity, an ordinary child, or even an animal. All things we love and relate to more than companies and brands.
Easier said than done? Not necessarily. Although your budget, creative powers, and your casting may be more limited than Apple or Coke, you can still follow these rules of thumb, asking yourself this question each time you create content, “Is this going to capture the imagination of my audience, and build upon a great story and reputation.”
Take an example. Suppose you are selling business software – conceivably not the most glamorous product in the world to try to sell. Is your content creation approach really just like everyone else in your market? Describe your features; show your return on investment, blah blah blah. Is that catching and unique? Will you pull some emotion out of me? Will I champ at the bit to share my opinion with others? Will I wait with bated breath for your next piece of content?
Rhetorical questions with obvious answers. You need to take risks to win. Yet you can do this in a way where the risks won’t really be that great, and the rewards are likely. Stand out. Use others to tell your stories, be funny and visually stimulating, and articulate the extraordinary experiences I will have when I sign up to take my journey with you.
Note: These views are my own, and not that of my employer