Super Bowl Ads 2019 – What Can we Learn?


What can we learn from some of the most expensive ads on the planet in 2019?

With a 30 second slot costing between $5.1-$5.3m, the Super Bowl ads are famed for previewing some of the biggest movies, stars and quirkiest content. What trends in 2019 are worth talking about? Plot spoiler, it’s all about appealing to the Millennial’s and growing youth audiences for the big brands.

A Stereotype Shake-Up

The Super Bowl draws a massive audience and as a sporting event is likely to be watched by the whole family (stateside at least) and gender stereotypes in relationships was quick to be hit.

Women shouldn’t wait to go after what they want – the message loud and clear from tennis superstar Serena Williams, featuring in ‘The Ball is in Her Court’ ad from Bumble, the Tinder rival where women make the first move.

Fathers are proud to be hands on with their children – John Legend’s advert for Pampers featuring his own two children, in which he sings the #stinkybootyduty song whilst changing a nappy and calls for back up- queue a host of other famous dads to help him out.

Doing Good, Just So You Know

Unsurprisingly, the Super Bowl poses the opportunity to reach a mass audience and for many brands this is more about brand reputation than product positioning. Tech brands were quick to position the wider good they do.

Microsoft used their spot to show how their Xbox Adaptive Controller allows children with developmental disabilities to enjoy gaming with friends in their ‘We All Win’ ad. At a time where parental concern over time spent on the internet is heightened, and brands like Facebook having had huge reputational damage in the past 18 months, it’s a savvy spend to target key audiences.

For Google a perhaps more political positioning around ‘100 Billion Words’ that are translated every day with Google Translate that bring us together.

Big Brands Appeal to New Audiences

Not only did we see some of the biggest brands on the planet underline their appeal to new audiences, we also saw some creatives around how to consume well known products differently.

Stella Artois picked 90s icons Carrie Bradshaw, ‘Sex And The City’ cocktail lover, and big ‘The Dude’ from the Big Lebowski, changing up their typical drink orders for a glass and bottle of Stella. Male and female iconic characters off of the 90s… Millennial’s, we’re talking to YOU now!

Doritos wanted to remind you of its original flavour now with a hot new option with a somewhat unrelated remix of Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way” with Chance the Rapper. It’s annoyingly catchy and yet again hitting that Millennial bracket as well as a younger audience who’ll relate to the remix.

If you’ve been eating Pringles one flavour at a time then OMG apparently, you’ve been missing out (who knew). Pringles ‘Sad Device’ ad shares the wonder of stacking multiple flavours of Pringles in the same bit, something the sad Alexa-type device will never experience.

Humour is also used by Pepsi, no strangers to tongue-in-cheek quips about being Coca-Cola’s underdog, they play on the line you often get in restaurants when you ask for a coke – ‘it’s Pepsi, is that OK?’. Cue Steve Carell, Lil Jon and Cardi B to assure a thirsty nation that Pepsi is more than OK.

Mercedes have the stadium sponsored and ensured they activated hard in the match-time ads too with several key spots. Recurring theme of 90s pop culture references and Ludicris as a relevant music celebrity endorsement.

Who’s Advertising

CBS were close to selling out in the final few days so expect more stats to follow on the ad revenue breakdown for 2019. But big advertisers like Coca Cola did not go for the usual spots along with a number of other brands. Tech spend was said to replace some of the slip from traditional advertisers too.

Mercedes-Benz added to their large investment of the stadium itself with several key spots during the game itself too.

Advertisers were from a broad church so to speak… yes Scientology advertised (again) aiming to appeal to the curious viewer, perhaps underlining that if you have $5m spare as long as NFL approve your advert… you’re in!

Youth Matters

With one of the most viewed programmes of the year, appealing to the growing purchasing power of Millennials has definitely been a consistent theme, not least due to the digital activation around each advert brands do in the lead up and the teaser ads almost all advertisers appeared to be running.

If you’d like to check through some of the latest insights in youth engagement and apply what your communications strategy could adapt, check out our shiny new workshop on the 20th March in Birmingham which Thread & Fable will be running with Comms2point0 – be there or be totally uncool and not down with the kids.

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