Best Super Bowl Ads Of 2015 Put New Plays In Marketer’s Playbook

Five lessons for mar­keters from the best Super Bowl com­mer­cials.

Greg Jarboe By Greg Jarboe from SEO-PR. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Well, the Big Game is now his­to­ry and it appears that some of the best Super Bowl ads of 2015 have put some new plays in the adver­tis­er play­book. Let’s see what we can learn about how to be vis­i­ble and per­sua­sive in the moments that real­ly mat­ter.

Think with Google recent­ly pub­lished a fea­ture enti­tled, “A Marketer’s Play­book for Win­ning the Big Game.” Unruly recent­ly pub­lished a white paper enti­tled, “5 Plays Every Mar­keter Needs to Be A Super Bowl MVP.” And even Harley Moren­stein of EpicMeal­Time, who was one of the hosts of the YouTube Half­time Show that was live-streamed on the AdBlitz 2015 Chan­nel, cre­at­ed Harley’s Play­book – 21 rules that senior mar­keters need to know to cre­ate a suc­cess­ful Big Game ad.

For exam­ple, Harley’s Rule #17 is: Babies Are Adorable Sell­ing Machines.

And Harley’s Rule #20 is: Old Folks Doing Young Stuff Will Make You Pee Your Pants.

What can we  learn from this year’s best Super Bowl com­mer­cials?

The Kick Return

This is one of the most basic plays in the play­book, but it’s sur­pris­ing that trick plays often get more atten­tion. And senior mar­keters should study Budweiser’s kick return, because it gen­er­ates results again and again.

By most mea­sures, “2015 BUDWEISER SUPER BOWL COMMERCIALLOST DOG” | BUDWEISER #BESTBUDS” ran off with the hon­ors for “Top Dog” this year. Accord­ing to the YouTube Trends Dash­board, “Lost Dog” was one of the most viewed videos in the last 24 hours that was uploaded in the last 28 days. It has 20,776,677 views on YouTube.

The ver­sion uploaded direct­ly to Face­book has 27,972,083 views. Accord­ing to the Super Bowl 2015 chart pow­ered by Unruly, “Lost Dog” ranked #1 with 1,907,288 shares on Face­book, Twit­ter, and blog in the last 30 days. Accord­ing to USA Today, “Lost dog finds way to top of Super Bowl Ad Meter.” And the Super Bowl ad demon­strates Harley’s Rule, “You can melt con­sumers’ hearts with cute ani­mals.”

Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” is the first back-to-back Super Bowl ad win­ner. Last year, “Bud­weis­er Super Bowl XLVIII Com­mer­cial – ‘Pup­py Love’” estab­lished the spe­cial friend­ship between the Clydes­dales and a pup­py. This year’s Super Bowl ad con­tin­ued the sto­ry – this time accom­pa­nied by “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” per­formed by Sleep­ing At Last.

What les­son can we learn from the kick return? Pack an emo­tion­al punch.

There are many psy­cho­log­i­cal respons­es that dri­ve video shar­ing. “Pup­py Love,” which was the most shared Big Game ad last year, used hap­pi­ness, warmth, and sad­ness to con­nect with view­ers. Whichev­er emo­tion­al trig­gers you pick, hit ‘em hard! The more intense the view­er response, the more like­ly you are to earn a share.

The Reverse

This is one of the run­ning plays that Snick­ers has been using for years. It takes a lit­tle time to set up, but it often works.

By sev­er­al mea­sures, “SNICKERS — “The Brady Bunch” was sec­ond banana in this year’s field of con­tenders. Accord­ing to the YouTube Trends Dash­board, “The Brady Bunch” was one of the most shared videos on Face­book and Twit­ter in the last 24 hours. It has 7,822,143 views on YouTube.

Accord­ing to the Super Bowl 2015 chart pow­ered by Unruly, “The Brady Bunch” ranked #2 with 123,117 shares in the last 30 days. How­ev­er, it ranked #12 in USA Today’s Super Bowl XLIX Ad Meter results.

What les­son can we learn from the reverse? Launch your ad before the big game.

Last year, 60 per­cent of the most shared Big Game ads were launched before the Sun­day broad­cast, build­ing dig­i­tal buzz ahead of Super Bowl Sun­day. “The Brady Bunch” was pub­lished on Thurs­day, Jan. 29, 2015.

Don’t wait to “sur­prise” view­ers on game day. If Snick­ers hadn’t pre-released “The Brady Bunch” three days ear­ly, it might have end­ed up rank­ing #12 across the board.

After the top two Super Bowl ads, you get dif­fer­ent “win­ners” using dif­fer­ent met­rics. So, let’s look at three more Big Game com­mer­cials that you might want to your marketer’s play­book for next year.

The Screen Pass

Always #LikeA­Girl — Super Bowl XLIX” isn’t new, but even the short­er ver­sion con­tin­ued to pro­duce results.

The orig­i­nal “Always #LikeA­Girl” was pub­lished on June 26, 2014. It is 3 min­utes and 18 sec­ond long. And it has 54,486,224 views on YouTube and 1,547,675 shares, accord­ing to Unruly. The 1‑minute ver­sion was pub­lished on Jan. 29, 2015. It has 867,783 views on YouTube and 5,873 shares, accord­ing to Unruly. But it ranked #2 in USA Today’s Super Bowl XLIX Ad Meter results.

What les­son can we learn from the screen pass? Lay­er on the social moti­va­tions.

View­ers share videos for very dif­fer­ent rea­sons rang­ing from shar­ing a pas­sion, demon­strat­ing knowl­edge, or cham­pi­oning a good cause. Most Super Bowl ads under­per­formed in 2014 because ads brought out only 1–2 of these social moti­va­tions.

#LikeA­Girl, which start­ed last year’s notice­able shift in the way brands mar­ket to women, demon­strat­ed that the Super Bowl audi­ence is no longer lim­it­ed to men. The fact that women con­trol two-thirds of fam­i­ly pur­chas­ing deci­sions, accord­ing to Nielsen, is why this play is worth adding to the marketer’s play­book.

Half-Back Pass

This trick play has high risks, but high rewards. And “Aubrey Plaza Pre­pares Amer­i­ca for Newcastle’s Band of Brands Ad” demon­strates that you don’t need to be an offi­cial Super Bowl adver­tis­er to steal the show.

This ad has 2,208,232 views on YouTube and 3,320 shares. And did I men­tion that New­cas­tle Brown Ale didn’t pay NBC $4.5 mil­lion to air a 30-sec­ond spot dur­ing the Super Bowl?

What les­son can we learn from the half-back pass? Watch out for sur­prise plays.

The pre­vi­ous two Super Bowls had dealt view­ers – and adver­tis­ers – a sur­prise in the form of a black­out or a blowout of a game. How­ev­er, this year’s game held view­ers’ atten­tion right up to the end when Mal­colm But­ler of the Patri­ots inter­cept­ed a pass intend­ed for Ricar­do Lock­ette of the Sea­hawks in the wan­ing sec­onds of the fourth quar­ter.

So, the New Eng­land Patri­ots 28–24 win over the Seat­tle Sea­hawks deliv­ered big time for Super Bowl view­ers and adver­tis­ers. But, that’s no guar­an­tee that a non-adver­tis­er might be able to steal next year’s Super Bowl.

Tackle Eligible

This inno­v­a­tive play may get added to every marketer’s play­book next year. It’s worth not­ing that “Ted 2 — Offi­cial Trail­er” was uploaded direct­ly to Face­book. And accord­ing to Face­book, it has 38,956,365 “views.” Now, it’s unclear whether these “views” are the equiv­a­lent of YouTube views, but Unruly reports that this Face­book video has 1,478,616 shares.

Post by Ted.

So, what les­son can we learn from the tack­le eli­gi­ble for­ma­tion? Face­book is rewrit­ing the marketer’s play­book. YouTube may still be the cen­ter of the video play­ing field, but it is no longer the bound­ary.

What did you learn from the top Super Bowl ads this year?

Greg Jarboe

Written by Greg Jarboe

President, SEO-PR

Greg Jarboe is President and co-founder of SEO-PR, an award-winning content marketing agency that was founded in 2003. He’s the author of YouTube and Video Marketing and also a contributor to The Art of SEO, Strategic Digital Marketing, Complete B2B Online Marketing, and Enchantment. He’s profiled in the book Online Marketing Heroes, a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and writes for Tubular Insights and The SEM Post. He’s an executive education instructor at the Rutgers Business School and the Video and Content Marketing faculty chair at Simplilearn.

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