4 Marketing Lessons This Year’s Super Bowl Taught Us

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While the Super Bowl may have been a letdown for some, others like myself were as attached to our Twitter feeds as we were to our televisions. Many people were tweeting play-by-play critiques of the game, but around the time the score read 35-0, most people had moved on to discussing the commercials and viral marketing campaigns instead.

As with any big event, there are things that we can learn from these giant corporations dropping millions for a few seconds of airtime during a sporting event. Here are just a few things you can apply to your own business’ marketing efforts:

Make It Humorous
When Stephen Colbert appeared behind a desk to talk about Wonderful brand pistachios, his lime green tie (and his eagle’s tie as well) weren’t exactly glaring advertisements, and his assertion that “they’ll sell themselves,” left something to be desired.

Skip to the end of the next commercial, however, and Colbert returns in a fully Wonderful Pistachios branded suit with a pistachio lapel pin, his office covered in giant pistachios and neon signs. After the letdown of the first ad spot, the idea that he was forced to “step up” the branding was seen by many as one of the best ads of the afternoon.

Other notable commercials that went for a humorous approach included the “Cowboy Kid” ad from Doritos:

And the return of Morpheus belting out opera music in Kia’s “Red Key” commercial:

When done well, humor will always be a great way to get your marketing efforts noticed.

Make It Inspirational
The Seahawks’ mantra all season was to make every day a championship day, and it’s clear that they carried that inspirational message right through to the end of the season. In addition, several brands chose to focus more on an inspirational message than a straightforward sales tactic.

Budweiser arranged a ticker-tape parade to welcome Lt. Chuck Nadd home from deployment and turned the video into a commercial with the tagline: “Every soldier deserves a hero’s welcome.”

Microsoft’s commercial focused on how much technology has been able to improve people’s lives with their “empowering us all” commercial narrated by Steve Gleason, a former NFL player living with ALS whose only means of communication is a camera that can read his eye movements.

Bob Dylan surprised a lot of people by starring in a Chrysler commercial lauding American-made cars made with “the one thing you can’t import from anywhere else – American pride.”

While selling your product is always a good thing, attaching your name to a positive message can be just a good when it comes to branding.

Turn A Negative Into A Positive
Early in the game, department store JC Penney’s Twitter account began tossing out some… let’s just say less than coherent commentary on the game:

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This led some of their followers to question the sobriety of whoever was manning the company’s computers, as well as whether the account had been hacked.

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Even some other big brands got in on the action:

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The truth behind the tweets, however, was that they were #TweetingWithMittens, specifically a pair of Team USA olympic mittens. Not only did they cause a huge stir on social media, but they also managed to associate themselves with both the current big event and the one starting next week. While other companies spent millions on Super Bowl ads, many people were talking about JCPenney.

Be Ready To Capitalize On Current Events

One of the best things happening on Twitter during the game was the constant stream of responses from Tide detergent’s Twitter and Vine account to each of the companies whose commercials aired. They capitalized other company’s ads by turning them into short Vine promos for their product.

Check out what Tide tweeted in response to the Cheerios commercial:

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With the corresponding Vine video:

And T-Mobile:

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And on and on, throughout the whole game:

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Suddenly, it wasn’t just about the funny Budweiser, Butterfinger or GoDaddy commercial, but it was also about checking in to see the response from Tide. It was a great reminder that you don’t need to spend millions on marketing if you can come up with a great hook that will get people spreading your message themselves.

What lessons did you take away from this year’s Super Bowl? Let’s talk in the comments section below!

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