Reflections on Super Bowl Marketing Moments

February 9, 2018 at 10:00 pm Leave a comment

Blattel Communications’ Michael Panelli makes good on his wager with colleague Michael Bond and chows down on a cheesesteak.

Another Super Bowl (and epic mass media marketing event) is in the books and the Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions for the first time in franchise history. The game was a nail-biter and Blattel Communications even had its own friendly rivalry between West Coast-Michael (Michael Panelli, Patriots fan) and East Coast-Michael (Michael Bond, Eagles fan). While ratings dipped slightly from last year, it was still a true “water cooler” moment for the nation, drawing 103.4 million viewers who also took in a batch of ads aimed at heart-strands, patriotism and funny bones. Blattel Communications’ team members offer their picks and a few nuggets of marketing wisdom:

Traci Stuart – I’m giving the win to Tide on this one! Way to “go big or go home” with the game day ad! We always say repetition is the key to successful advertising, and Proctor & Gamble definitely nailed it on consistency – to the point where folks expected Tide to pop up in many of the other brands’ spots. The series had it all, including throwbacks to iconic ads of the past; social media tie-ins (#thisisatidead) with celebrity comments (@terrybradshaw and @bettymwhite); and a big ol’ nod to a pop culture phenomenon with a family friendly (and probably slightly more affordable) celeb in David Harbour from Netflix original #strangerthings. And, nobody needed to change the digital and water cooler conversation quite like Tide given that teens have been eating and meme-ing the company’s colorful Tide Pods.

I’ve also got to give a hat tip to NBC for the promo and timing of “the big Jack episode” of This Is Us. Super Bowl tie-in, emotional tug of a quintessential “dad moment,” and clever foreshadowing of the post-Super Bowl, janky-Crock-Pot, Jack-doomsday apocalypse.

Michael Panelli – Danny McBride starring in a fake trailer for a new Crocodile Dundee movie? What’s not to like? Too bad it’s not a real trailer. It was a different type of Super Bowl ad; it actually made viewers believe a new movie was in development! (The “movie” actually had an entire pre-Super Bowl campaign, adding to the wonder about a “real” project.) Using a fake movie trailer to get people’s attention – for visiting Australia – was novel.

Joey Telucci – The clear winners of the Super Bowl (besides the Eagles) were obviously Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr. Their interpretation of the Dirty Dancing “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” routine was legendary and would make Patrick Swayze proud. It was definitely my favorite of the night and got the most laughs from the group I was with. Too bad it was just an NFL commercial: it would have been a great pitch for any number of products. Kudos, NFL. Kudos. Close second was seeing Danny DeVito (AKA Frank Reynolds from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) portray an M&M. Classic Frank (if you watch the show).

Blattel Communications’ Ellen Blattel, Penny Desatnik and Vicky Jay also picked this spot as their favorite.

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Michael Bond – Joey Telucci’s silver-medalist is my gold-medalist. The evolution, or devolution, of Danny DeVito with his role on Always Sunny is fun to watch and the M&Ms ad shows that he is a good sport about his physical stature, or lack thereof. For a classic comedic actor to be so uninhibited is refreshing, and the spot evoked a delighted comment, “Of course, HE’s the M&M!” from one of my viewers. Candy is one of those categories, and M+Ms as a product in particular, where I’m not sure if ads really move the needle in terms of sales. M&Ms are iconic, delicious and without a real substitute. Still, the brand’s campaigns are consistently witty.

Shifting gears, I also really liked the Budweiser disaster relief spot. Regardless of one’s opinion on its suds, the company consistently cans and supplies out much-needed water to communities affected by natural disasters. Every time they do so, great press ensues with images of pallets and pallets of water enjoying print and airtime. While I’m a perpetual cynic*, I do think this is a move spurred by doing good first rather than by getting good press.

*Here is my super-cynic Super Bowl moment: Remember how Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa was predicting an Eagles win? I firmly believe that this was a strategic choice designed to generate media interest, and it did. If she had picked the favored Pats to repeat as champs, it would likely have been far less of a story. However, as an Eagles fan, I still enjoyed the prediction – and seeing Panelli dig into that cheesesteak (if only he’d been in a Foles jersey.)

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