The Super Bowl is a highly televised yearly American football event. During the Super Bowl, there are several advertisements throughout the game. Many viewers look forward to the commercials due to the creativeness of many of them. The Super Bowl allows advertisers to help build brand awareness and recall.
2016 Super Bowl Ads
In 2016 the brands Skittles, Bud Light, Colgate, Coca-Cola, and Apartments.com aired commercials during The Super Bowl. The brands share a common theme of using an affective message strategy to gain an emotional response from consumers. In contrast, the brands differ in terms of execution (for additional information see Appendix A).
Skittles is a brand known for their colorful candy. The Skittles slogan “taste the rainbow” is well-known to most US homes (Skittles, 2016). In 2016, Skittles used Aerosmith rock star Steven Tyler to endorse the brand. The message was extremely visually appealing because it incorporated a portrait of Stephen Tyler made of rainbow skittles. The portrait was brought to life through animation. The advertisement included Tyler’s hit song “Dream On” to connect with the consumers. Skittles took the rock theme to the next level while adding the saying“rock the rainbow” to their slogan (Skittles, 2016). In terms of brand recognition, Skittles effectively builds awareness. They build awareness by using the product throughout the commercial and having a well-known celebrity endorse it. The advertisement is clear that the rainbow can be associated with skittles. The ad was also effective in terms of brand recall by having several Skittles in the advertisement and using the word several times.
Bud Light also used celebrities to endorse their product. The spokesmen in their 2016 Super Bowl advertisement are comedians Seth Rogan and Amy Schumer. The advertisement incorporates humor while using a slightly political approach that beer brings America together. Per a study on the effects of humor in advertising results showed that humor has a large impact on building brand awareness (Khan and Khan, 2013). The advertisement effectively builds brand awareness by using humor while heavily incorporating the logo, name, and product throughout the advertisement. In every scene, the actors are holding Bud Light cans/bottles, standing at a Bud Light podium, and even holding Bud-Light signs. This is a great strategy in terms of brand recognition because if a viewer tunes in halfway through they will know what brand the commercial is for. The advertisement effectively uses brand recall by repeating the Bud Light name and logo.
Unlike Skittles and Bud Light, Colgate uses a serious approach in their Super Bowl advertisement. The advertisement has no spoken dialogue but rather the sound of a constantly running faucet. The faucet ties into their overall message to save water. The campaign’s purpose is to show that keeping the water while brushing your teeth is a waste. The message asks uses to turn off the faucet to help save water (Colgate, 2016). In terms of brand awareness, Colgate effectively builds recognition by tackling a social issue and taking corporate social leadership (CSL). Brands often use CSL to build brand awareness by starting campaigns in regards to social and environmental issues. Hilton (2003) states, “If customers are inspired on a mass scale by CSL, this will have a powerful knock on effect on all other target audiences” (pg. 372). Colgate builds brand awareness by taking on social leadership to help save water. The theme of saving water relates to their product toothpaste. The disadvantage of this type of advertisement is if a viewer tunes in halfway through they will not be clear on what is happening in the advertisement. This is ineffective in terms of brand recall because there is no repetition of what the product is.
In contrast to Colgate, Coca-Cola uses their own product and dialogue throughout their advertisement to build brand awareness. Throughout the advertisement, a Coca-Cola can is the main center of attention. The advertisement also uses animation including The Hulk and Ant Man to tell a story of the last coke being taken away. The message of the advertisement is that everyone wants a little bit of Coca-Cola. The advertisement effectively builds brand awareness by using a story-telling approach while constantly incorporating the product throughout the advertisement. A story-telling approach is becoming a common way for marketers to advertise products that focus around a plot (Clow and Baack, 2016). Coca-Cola is a well-established brand so storytelling is effective way for them to interest consumers into watching.
Like Coca-Cola, the brand Apartments.com uses a story-telling approach to convey a message of moving up in life. In their advertisement, the whimsical musical approach of a chorus singing Moving On Up shows a man moving into his new apartment. The advertisement incorporates humor by having the man brought to his new home by a crane while he is playing a grand piano. The song Moving Up relates to the brand’s image of growing up in life such as a new apartment. Although, the brand’s name is not introduced until the end, it is clear that the advertisement is about moving into a new apartment. The brand effectively builds awareness by including music that relates to the brand into the advertisement. Studies show that music can change the way a viewer feels while watching the advertisement (Morris and Boone, 1998). If a viewer feels positive feelings while watching, it can result in having positive feelings towards the brand. However, it must be noted that the same goes for negative feelings. If a viewer is unhappy with the music it might result in negative feelings. The advertisement for Apartments.com could have positive or negative effects on the consumer depending on their music choice. In terms of brand recall, the advertisement did not effectively restate or repeat who they are. The advertisement could improve by incorporating their logo more throughout the commercial to remind consumers who the brand is.
Advantages to airing ads during The Super Bowl. A major advantage to airing commercials during The Super Bowl is the number of viewers and immediate feedback. Approximately 110 million viewers watch the game and 73% consider commercials entertainment (Clow & Baack, 2016). The Super Bowl allows companies to reach a large audience in one shot and many are willing to watch the commercials. Many companies consider The Super Bowl an opportunity to build brand awareness. For example, Paul Chibe the Vice President of Anheuser-Busch once stated that “the Super Bowl is a huge-brand building opportunity” (pg. 223 Clow & Baack, 2016). The Super Bowl gives marketers the opportunity to reach a large audience and sometimes even offer a lengthier commerical up to one minute. This allows the brand a longer time to get their message across and reach a larger than normal audience.
Disadvantages to air ads during The Super Bowl. A major disadvantage to advertising during The Super Bowl is the cost. A 30-second ad during the Super Bowl can cost anywhere from $2.5 – $3 million unlike daytime TV which is around $230,000 (Quesenberry and Coolsen, 2014). Markers must consider the expensive cost before airing a commercial. Another disadvantage is that the target audience might not be watching. As stated earlier around 110 million people watch however, there is no guarantee that a brand’s target audience is watching. Marketers must consider the cost versus the potential audience reached before starting a Super Bowl campaign.
In conclusion, the Super Bowl gives brands the opportunity to reach a large audience at one time. The Super Bowl allows brands to build awareness through celebrity endorsements such as Skittles and Bud Light did in 2016. It allows gives brands the opportunity to take social responsibility in an environmental matter such as Colgate does. Overall, the Super Bowl is a costly expensive for brands to air a commercial however, the return is often worth it.