Why Some Super Bowl Ads Work: Cars, Big Vistas Or John Travolta Singing

Do you want to sell some home broadband service in the big Super Bowl game/show this weekend?

Think out of the box -- way out.

According to one research study, you might need a car in that commercial or a backdrop of grand vistas -- a city, rural location or way beyond -- the stars and planets.

These are some results from a study by VidMob, a creative data firm, and EDO, a TV advertising research company -- which highlight the importance of high “creative engagement.”

VidMob identified five general creative insights for top-performing Super Bowl advertising -- outdoor stuff (including talent in jackets and wearing footwear), people in cars and on the road, expansive vistas, and nostalgia. Finally, it is good for commercials to make some noticeable “bold claims.”



For instance, a year ago there was a 64% higher engagement with a Super Bowl TV commercial when it came to those spots with “grand, expansive settings, aerial adventures, and even outer space!”

When it comes to nostalgia -- which seems to be a common theme for any Super Bowl -- there was a T-Mobile ad in last year's game featuring John Travolta teaming up with TV series alums “Scrubs”  Zach Braff and Donald Faison, singing a rendition of a song from “Grease.” VidMob says that spot was 4.4 times more engaging than the median Super Bowl commercial.

All this makes sense. And that has us wondering why some of these attributes are not incorporated into TV commercials year round. Cost and talent availability could be one reason.

Analysts would say viewers for the Super Bowl are always prepared for unexpected, funny and sometimes shocking creative content -- along with special guest stars.

Should you have to sell laundry detergent with the Rockies as a scenic backdrop?

How about a nostalgic, old-style stand-up comedian pushing a new iPhone? Need some high-priced talent in hiking shoes and fleece jackets to sell a sports-betting service? 

Well, that’s where some unusual creative judgment could come in -- perhaps a bit forced. Think about those fancy-schmancy cooking shows that force contestants to make a filet mignon with peanut M&Ms.

No matter. For any big Super Bowl TV show, you will always need some taste.

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