February 23, 2015
Year after year, companies up the ante on Super Bowl advertisements. This year’s XLIX was no different in this respect, but the overall feel and content of this year’s ads were different. While predecessors used humor and wit to convey a message, more companies in 2015 used serious themes to grab the attention of viewers and overall, they were successful.
Although the amount of money most companies pumped into developing their promotions remains to be seen, USA Today reports that each 30-second block cost advertisers 4.5 million dollars. In all, 61 commercials aired despite the premium rates, and more than 114 million people watched them, according to CBS Sports. Super Bowl XLIX is now the reigning King of Television Programming, securing the spot of the most-watched show of in US history.
Ad Meter examined each of this year’s Super Bowl commercials to get a pulse from the community to see what most people thought of the ads. Each one was rated on a scale of 1-10 and the results were broken down by demographic, so trends could be easily identified.
Best Eight SuperBowl Ads Conveying Awesome Content Marketing
Here’s a synopsis of the top eight, who they were a hit with, and how they nailed content advertising.
1. Lost Dog by Budweiser.
Synopsis: Budweiser tugged on heartstrings last year with their “Puppy Love” ad and they brought the same director back this year to help them create the sequel, “Lost Dog.” In fact, Jake Scott of Anomaly ad agency, gives a nod to his original golden pup piece by reusing a still image from Puppy Love as the photo of the pooch on the sign in Lost Dog. The 2015 ad features a tear-jerking rendition of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” as remade by Sleeping at Last, as it follows the four-legged adventurer while he tags along with his owner and equine BFF, then gets lost in the city.
Score: Lost Dog scored an 8.1 out of 10 overall, and resonated most with those age 65 and older.
How They Nailed It: Budweiser skipped the sales-pitch and went straight for hearts instead. Viewers were treated to an adorable animal, which is almost always a winner in advertising, and the company paired it with a full plotline and continuing saga. This was able to draw people in and give them a memorable experience, rather than pounding them with sales. Their focus was on building a relationship with their consumers and, based on their number-one rank, their strategy was a major success.
2. Like a Girl by Always.
Synopsis: Always launched their female empowerment campaign last summer, and it was a huge hit. According to Time Magazine, Proctor and Gamble hired award-winning filmmaker Lauren Greenfield, who has a history creating memorable documentaries, to create the piece for them. The Super Bowl ad is a shortened version of the previous release, and it captures males and females of various ages explaining what “like a girl” means under different circumstances.
Score: Like a Girl scored 7.1 out of 10 and, not surprisingly, was most popular among female viewers.
How They Nailed It: The Always product line was not featured in the ad at all, nor was there any mention of anything related to it. Instead, the company focused on a message of empowerment. Much like the Budweiser ad, this piece was created to build a stronger relationship with their consumers. Viewers received a powerful message and were shaken to the core. Meanwhile, Always racked up loyalty points with their consumers, which will likely be returned in sales later, because studies show that purchases are emotional, rather than logical.
3. Blue Pill by Fiat.
Synopsis: One of the few ads to utilize humor was Blue Pill, by Fiat. Without ruining the plot too much, it’s safe to say that the promo explains why the latest Fiat 500X is “more ready for action.”
Score: Blue Pill scored 6.87 and was most popular with people ages 50-64, followed very closely by the 65 and older crowd.
How They Nailed It: Like the others, Fiat used a full plot, instead of simply hocking their goods. This included plot twists, so the viewer was already mentally invested and wondering what would happen next, long before the 500X ever appeared on camera.
4. Braylon by Microsoft.
Synopsis: The Braylon ad follows a young boy who needs prosthetic legs to walk. It tells his story, including how he was fitted for his first prosthetic legs at only 11 months old, and shows shots of him performing numerous activities.
Score: Microsoft’s Braylon ad scored 6.4 and performed best for people age 65 and older, as well as among women.
How They Nailed It: The full ad is a little over one minute long, and Microsoft isn’t mentioned until about the halfway point. Even then, it simply says they used Microsoft technology to measure the boy’s gait, and then they continue on with his story. Viewers naturally become emotionally invested in Braylon’s story, and by associating Microsoft with his success, the company becomes a champion too.
5. Middle Seat by Doritos.
Synopsis: Frito-Lay ran a contest, offering up a million dollars to the person who could come up with the best ad possible to fill their Super Bowl slot. Scott Zabielski won the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest this year, by submitting “Middle Seat.” It follows the humorous story of a guy on an airplane who will do just about anything to keep the seat next to him empty until the right person comes along.
Score: Middle Seat scored 6.71 and was most popular with people aged 21 and under.
How They Nailed It: In an interview with CBS News, Zabielski explains that to do commercials well, you have to be able to tell a story in 30 seconds or less. Based on the top commercials, he’s absolutely correct. Middle Seat also manages to incorporate humor and speak to a wide audience. As with the others, the feature product is more of a prop than a showcased item, which helps give it the feel of a story versus an advertisement.
6. Wisdom by Dodge.
Synopsis: The theme of Dodge’s promo is “You learn a lot in 100 years,” and it includes interviews of people who have lived that long of close to it. Through a series of quick clips designed to inspire and awe, Wisdom commands attention long before the ad explains that Dodge is 100 years old, too.
Score: Wisdom scored a 6.6 overall, though it was also ranked high by female viewers and near-equally well among those with lower incomes and people age 50-64.
How They Nailed It: The Dodge ad was in keeping with several other themes already mentioned. Primarily, it elicited an emotional response. As the clips of centenarians continue, the tone takes a surprising turn, which helps make the ad much more memorable.
7. Bold Dad by Toyota.
Synopsis: Bold Dad isn’t so much about being bold, as it is about being an involved father. The commercial delivers a series of events in which the father was present and active during his daughter’s formidable years. It concludes with the father fighting back tears as he drops his rucksack-toting adult daughter off at the airport.
Score: Toyota’s commercial scored a 6.59. Interestingly, those who appreciated it the most were people age 21 and under. However, the oldest age bracket, ages 65 and up, had the second highest approval-rating.
How They Nailed It: Like the others, it was story-focused and not a sales pitch. Additionally, Toyota’s message was universal and it bridged the gap between generations, income ranges, and genders.
8. Make It Happy by Coca Cola.
Synopsis: Coke did things a little differently than the others, because their product was front and center in Make It Happy. The commercial tackles tough issues like internet bullying and depicts how sweet the world would be if Coke were able to infiltrate the web.
Score: Make It Happy scored 6.5 out of 10. It was a favorite among people who had incomes between 25,000 and 50,000 dollars per year.
How They Nailed It: The New York Times reports that Coke has been struggling to stay relevant despite its long history. Considering that 70-percent of students report seeing frequent bullying online, their ad is not only timely, but also highly relevant. Despite the sensitive nature of the topic, Coke managed to put a light-hearted spin on it and inspire viewers with their message.
How They All Really Nailed Content Marketing (The Essential Secret)
According to Forbes Magazine, 55-percent of people will purchase an item if the company has a good reputation. The number drops by nearly one-fourth when the company has a weak reputation.
For the advertisers, these promos built up reputation, securing the future business of their consumers. People who viewed the ads, however, appreciated them for entertainment value alone. More than anything else, that is how these companies nailed it with their Super Bowl 2015 advertising.
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.