While many of us look forward to a showdown with two prominent and dominant NFL teams playing for a Lombardi trophy, millions of others are waiting on each commercial. Super Bowl ads take over the game.
In today’s digital age, the best commercials from the top brands are leaking on YouTube and other social media platforms days before the game. A brand has probably released one while you’re reading this post.
It’s important to note that while we may fall in love with a Budweiser commercial or a Doritos ad, there is a prime opportunity for a local business to steal the show in their market. Every half hour, there is a time slot dedicated for local commercials, which is referred to as local insertion. It’s usually the last break of the hour and 30-minute mark. (For example, this occurs around the 23-minute mark of a half-hour program or 51-minute mark of an hour program.) For the Super Bowl, local slots will vary, but you can be sure to see two local commercial breaks an hour.
During this slot, local companies take the place of national and network promotions.
An effective Super Bowl commercial can take your brand to new heights, spreading awareness and increasing sales. It’s one of the most-watched events in the world, so you’re opening yourself up to brand new customers and clients.
We’re all creative, and we all think differently. It’s the Super Bowl. While you’re looking to stand out to your audience, you need to think outside the box. Tell a story. Make it memorable.
Here are some of the best Super Bowl ads that hit home with the audience and got the message across.
Hey Kid, Catch (Mean Joe Greene), Coca Cola (1979)
One of the most iconic Super Bowl ads goes all the way back to 1979 when Coca Cola played with our emotions with Mean Joe Greene hobbling away from the field after an injury. A boy approaches Greene to offer some help. Holding a bottle of Coke, the boy offers it to Greene, who reluctantly accepts and downs the Cola in one long chug. When the boy says, “OK, I’ll see you around,” until you hear that iconic line from Greene, “Hey kid, catch.” The tagline, Have a Coke and a smile, with the message that came across, makes this one of the most memorable commercials of all time.
E-Trade Baby Commercial (2008)
E-Trade has become known for their talking baby commercials, getting the message across about how easy it is to trade and buy stock on the platform. In 2008, E-Trade ran two ads throughout the game. With a subject like investing and trading, it can be difficult to reach your audience. Adding humor and sparking conversation gets the message across. These baby commercials were hilarious. You can see the second commercial, where he’s earned so much coin that he decides to rent a clown here.
After the WASSUP commercials, Budweiser changed their marketing approach and shifted from humor to storytelling that captures all emotions. The series includes a puppy love commercial that was a huge hit, but the Brotherhood commercial showing the bond between a Clydesdale and his owner is one that can cause you to shed a tear.
Sledgehammer, Apple (1984)
For the 1984 Super Bowl, Apple played off the George Orwell novel, 1984, about a world of constant surveillance by Big Brother. Written in 1949, the novel was intended as fiction, but that’s beside the point. In the ad by Apple, it’s the beginning of their era where they introduce Macintosh, and it quickly became one of the most talked about commercials of all time. Featuring a jogger that represents Apple and a clip from the 1984 movie, the jogger throws a sledgehammer at the screen. The message is that with Macintosh, the audience will “see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’”
Doritos Super Bowl Ads (2014)
Doritos is known for their Super Bowl commercials, but don’t expect any for Super Bowl LI, according to the Chicago Tribune. It’s tough to pick their best Super Bowl ad, but you can watch the best Doritos ads in this 6-minute compilation. From the pug to the time machine to the ultrasound and the crystal ball, Doritos plays to the humor side in their marketing strategy. It’s a disappointment we won’t be seeing any new Doritos commercials during Super Bowl LI.
Secret Fridge, Bud Light (2006)
Bud Light had one of the best commercials of 2006. Trying to keep his friends from getting their hands on his Bud Light, a secret fridge is installed. The only problem, he’s in an apartment and there are tenants next door, who see this as a magic fridge. It’s clever and funny.
Office Linebacker with Terry Tate, Reebok (2003)
Reebok showcases Terry Tate in an office setting to get employees back on track and more productive. Anything that is seen as unproductive, the office linebacker will blindside you and keep you on your toes. It’s a funny feature and a way for Reebok to untraditionally promote their brand. There’s nothing about Reebok, except a subtle mention of the brand at the beginning.
Local – Jamie Casino – Personal Injury Attorney – Savannah, GA (2014)
During Super Bowl XLVIII where the Seattle Seahawks blew away Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, there was a chilling, moving, and incredible local commercial that aired in the Savannah, GA market. The ad was for local personal injury attorney, Jamie Casino, who bought an entire two-minute local ad block. He tells the story of how he previously represented criminals until his brother was gunned down and the Savannah police deceived the citizens of the city with his public address, which resulted in his shift to representing victims. It’s truly one of the best two-minute local commercials you’ll ever see.
Local – Old Milwaukee with Will Ferrell (2013)
Will Ferrell is a big fan of Old Milwaukee beer. So much so that he approached Pabst Brewing Co. and offered his services to promote the beer free of charge. His commercials air in select cities. This 2013 ad only aired in Sherman, Texas; Ardmore, Oklahoma; and Glendive, Montana. The year before, this ad only aired in North Platte, Nebraska, the second-smallest TV market in the country.
Local – Wrong Order, Grubhub (2015)
Bringing the frustration of ordering delivery and opening the wrong order once the delivery driver has left your place, Grubhub aired a commercial during the 2015 Super Bowl in only five markets (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Baltimore, Miami, and Washington DC). The message is clear, don’t get wrong orders again when you order with Grubhub.
Looking Ahead to Super Bowl Ads in the Future
As the price continues to soar for marketers to get their brand in front of their audience, the Super Bowl will remain a vital platform to reach a wide audience. While people will still watch for the ads, it can be easier to reach the right audience with an effective social media strategy. If you’re a small business that doesn’t have the budget for video marketing, you can still create buzz around your brand through different avenues.
A high-quality video produced by an in-house team or other outlet that is light on the wallet can spread quickly if it hits home with your audience. We’re not all the Budweiser’s and Frito Lay’s of the world where we’re able to afford the prime commercial slots for the big game. Utilize the outlets and the tools at your disposal.
As a small business, think about purchasing pre-roll ads on YouTube to help your brand get in front of the people that are watching these big-budget ads.
Use hashtags when you share information on Twitter or Instagram, even Facebook, helping your business promotions get found by more users.
The Super Bowl is a time of year when millions of Americans and millions of people abroad are in front of their TVs. Millions more are searching online for the best ads. Get creative, and get your brand in front of potential customers. The best thing about your commercial is brand awareness. The more people are talking about your brand, the better your chances of increasing sales and conversions.