The Super Bowl -- the advertising industry’s annual talent show, where ad spots are selling for an average $5.5 million for thirty seconds -- is going to look a lot different this year.
As we all know, iconic brands like Budweiser, Coca Cola, and Pepsi are all pulling back for this year’s annual event. Budweiser will not be airing a Clydesdale ad, but instead invested in a PSA to support vaccine awareness. Other marketers are concerned about hitting the right tone this year - if it’s too light or funny, will the ad come across as offensive? Will it be too solemn? Will it be too risky?
The Super Bowl is a huge platform, where the argument to dive in, take the risk, and pay the premium price may be worth it. According to Greenbook.org’s study on “Super Bowl 2019 Advertising Effectiveness,” Super Bowl ads show 5% higher performance versus being aired in other parts of the year.
Marketers should not miss the opportunity to seize this captive audience that is already primed for the message, but they have to be ready to take a strong approach and execute it well.
According to a recent interview with the CMO of Mars Petcare, Jane Wakely, marketing has a yin and a yang — the yin = science and evidence-based marketing and the yang = creativity. The science, the data, offers the porthole to the truths of the consumer, the truths of the market.
Science is what establishes the platform for creativity. Creativity is what will set these Super Bowl marketers apart — but they’ve got to get it right.
Marketers can mitigate some of that risk out by taking a data-driven approach to their advertising and creative messaging. However, a data-driven approach can be much easier when segmenting audiences based on specific consumer cohorts and audience groups — but how can marketers use data to appeal to the masses? What are the common human truths? What will resonate and connect with such a large audience, coming out of such a complicated year?
Using data to understand what matters to customers
Leveraging a data platform to spot real-time trends, insights, consumer sentiment, likes and dislikes, opinions and views will help marketers gain a true barometer as to how the American consumer is thinking, feeling, and behaving about the topics, categories, brands and products that marketers are hoping to hawk around the Super Bowl time period.
The challenge is connecting and contextualizing these trends to be specific to the category and the brand. It’s not just the market intelligence, but the contextual intelligence that matters, but also how these trends are interconnected to surface the magic human truth, the message to the consumer.
And today’s consumers aren’t just passionate about social and political issues — they walk the walk.
A recent study revealed that “consumers are four to six times more likely to buy from, trust, champion, and defend companies with a strong Purpose.” The study also proved what a lot of us already know: companies that can successfully connect with their customers via purpose-driven values have deeper brand affinity which can drive bottom-line results.
Most of the marketing leaders I meet aren’t just purpose-driven to drive sales. They are also passionate about making the world a better place and see their role to guide their companies with a purpose-driven market strategy as a win/win opportunity.
But with so many worthy causes to champion, it can be hard to know where to start. With the right data in place, marketers can better understand what matters most to their customers and look for ways to both make a difference and be more appealing to consumers.
Data-driven is evolving to impact-driven
For years, having a Super Bowl ad has been a “no-brainer.” But today’s data-driven marketers are expected to carefully weigh the investment value of every dollar they spend. That means that there aren’t any more no-brainer decisions. Every decision requires thoughtful consideration — especially when it comes to a multimillion-dollar Super Bowl ad.
While data-driven has become today’s standard, it is also evolving — especially as to what constitutes a valuable insight. After all, three people can look at the same table of data and walk away with three different data-backed conclusions.
So while data is important, insights need to be more than just solid truths, they need to be actionable. Companies may have many, many insights which can guide decision-making, but they need to be prioritized based on their ability to drive positive business impact and also connect with their customers and consumers.
As we gear up for the big day on Sunday, brands that harness the insights will make a powerful connection - their ads may be humorous, solemn or hit right in the gut.
The advertisers that do not take a data-driven approach and do not connect the context of their consumer to the context of the market into their Super Bowl spot will run the risk of missing the mark.