The Super (Real-Time, Hunky, Socially Progressive) Bowl

Rob Lennon, senior product marketing manager at creative management platform PaperG, weighed in on what he thinks marketers will bring to the Super Bowl this year. 

Lennon, who handles much of PaperG's thought leadership and consults on marketing and programmatic strategy, has some predictions for Super Bowl 50. Expect some socially progressive ads, real-time branding opportunities and small advertisers with clever approaches.

  1. TV spots will be conservative. Think puppies and babies ads, not scantily clad women. Lennon said it's not news that sex isn't selling at the Super Bowl, and that the event has shifted from a male-oriented event to a family event. "Most advertisers are celebrating families, workers, something everyone can get behind," Lennon said.
  2. Men in ads are a different story. Advertisers are figuring out that plenty of women (who are responsible for a lot of household spend) watch the Super Bowl, Lennon said, so expect ads with good-looking, shirtless guys. "One thing I have seen is that while it’s unpopular to sexualize the female form, it’s still exciting to do it to the male form," Lennon said, mentioning last year's Skittles ad
  3. Possibly the best ad-spend ROI is going to come from targeted display and native ads on sports sites that viewers visit for game commentary and information. "The possibilities get very interesting," Lennon said about using programmatic on sports sites rather than buying a costly Super Bowl TV ad. "Even moderate investments will have a nice payoff here for those who have a great strategy."
  4. Speaking of gender, we’re going to see same-sex couples, Lennon said. Will this be a socially progressive Super Bowl? Lennon said he thinks a bold brand will do something to generate a little earned media by seizing upon the “what is gender” moment inspired by public figures such as Caitlyn Jenner or Jaden Smith
  5. Last year, smaller advertisers picked up unsold commercial time late in the game at a discount. This year, Lennon said, a couple of small advertisers will probably have a clever creative ready to go. So your favorite ads may be from some unexpectedly small companies. "There’s a superglue brand, Loctite, that didn’t look super high budget," Lennon said, referring to an ad from last year. "But it kind of won because it was so fun...This is no Coke or Nissan or any advertiser we’ve seen before."
  6. This year, some brands will try to steal the show without running a commercial, Lennon said. We’re going to see a lot of real-time, mobile-friendly offers, he added, but most will flop as consumers get tired of being asked to take action during the game. With plenty of promotions asking viewers to text or Tweet or take their eyes off the game to interact with a brand, Lennon said, only the best will get traction.
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