Winning The Ad Super Bowl

Sometimes when I’m lazing in front of the telly, I find myself oddly drawn to the strangest of ads… ads that have absolutely nothing to do with the product, but linger long after a supermarket promotes their latest specials or some chap explains how his painkillers actually target pain. This begs the question: “how relevant is relevance?” How important is it to make an ad that actually has something to do with the product? If Super Bowl XLVIII is anything to go by, it’s nowhere near as important as how your ad makes people feel.Puppy Love

The Super Bowl is the single most viewed event on the planet. Super Bowl XLVIII was viewed by hundreds of millions watching across the globe. That’s a goldmine for companies looking to get their brand out to the most massive of mass audiences. But with 30 seconds of airtime costing US$4 million, you almost have to sell a goldmine too. So what do these companies and their ad agencies come up with to get a return on their sizeable investment?

Forget sex sells. Cute sells.

USA Today’s Ad Meter – found that Budweiser’s Puppy Love ad was the consumer favourite. It’s the story of a puppy at a breeder’s farm who befriends a horse, to the point where the horses prevent that puppy’s adoption to keep the little Labrador with them. It’s beautifully shot, the animals are amazingly well trained, and it tells a heartwarming story with a happy ending – a tale of friendship that transcends species. It also has absolutely nothing to do with beer. But Budweiser doesn’t care.

They care that their story made hundreds of millions feel warm and fuzzy inside on that day, as well as millions more on YouTube (it has over 45 million views there). They care that their brand is associated with happiness, the importance of friendship and the joy that comes with being “best buds”. And they care that when people are browsing at the bottle shop, hundreds of millions will think of that ad with the cute puppies and horses, and make a beeline to a carton of Budweiser.

Next time you’re coming up with a campaign, think carefully not just about your product, but about the feelings you want your brand to be associated with. The pay off could be substantial!

– Magnus