5 Marketing Lessons We Learned from Super Bowl LI

It’s the biggest marketing night of the year, and it offers plenty of lessons about the current advertising climate...

Last night, the action on the field (from the halftime show to the nail-biting, record-making overtime) arguably overshadowed the ads on what is traditionally the biggest marketing night of the year. Once again, most brands released their commercials in advance of the big game—allowing them to rack up more views and engagements ahead of time, but taking away the element of surprise. But even without any ad shockers or clear brand winners, the controversies, compliments, and engagements that the 2017 Super Bowl marketing has stirred up offer plenty of lessons. Here are five we took away from game night:

1. These days, nearly every ad—and every brand—can be political.

We don’t have to tell anyone that viewers are currently in a mindset of political extremes—but we were reminded last night that today’s tense national climate means that every brand can make a political statement in marketing, sometimes unintentionally. The biggest trend in ads for Super Bowl LI was political messaging, sometimes from some unexpected places. For their first-ever Super Bowl ad, family-owned 84 Lumber told a story about immigration that was deemed too controversial by Fox. Viewers were instructed to go online to see the conclusion of the commercial featuring a mother and daughter journeying across Mexico to the border, and the brand’s site crashed thanks to the number who did just that. Messages of diversity and inclusion were common (see below), and even haircare brand It’s a 10 “trolled the President” with an ad telling viewers “America, we’re in for at least four years of awful hair.” It doesn’t matter how big or known you are, these days every brand can make a political statement. At…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “When deciding what products to buy, what’s most valuable to me is reviews from users regardless of whether or not I know them.”—Female, 32, MA

Adidas is continuing to take customization to the next level, with a new pop-up store that creates custom clothes in a majorly futuristic way. Knit For You, located in Berlin uses a laser body scanner to determine exact measurements for their personalized merino wool sweaters. To select their design, shoppers go into a dark room where patterns that can be adjusted with hand gestures are projected on their chests. The final chosen product is then knitted, washed, and dried in-store to be picked up in hours, for the price of $215. (Business Insider

BuzzFeed’s wildly popular food platform Tasty is expanding into the coffee business. In a partnership with NBCUniversal, Tasty has begun selling Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee beans, and of course, they’re “offer[ing] a quiz to help with decision making.” Quiz-takers will be asked about their favorite fruit, how they feel about caffeine, what their ideal morning is like, and more, to which they can answer with emojis. Once the coffee choice is made, consumers can make it even more personal by creating their own labels. (Grub Street)  

Chinese Millennials are using digital devices for “connection, discovery and actualization,” more often than their American counterparts. A recent global survey from Labbrand found that 85% of Chinese Millennials are using their phones to make in-store payments on a weekly basis, compared to 44% of U.S. Millennials. They’re also more likely to broadcast their behavior online: Over seven in ten Chinese Millennials are posting movie, restaurant, travel, and other activity-related reviews weekly and over half say they share everything they do online, compared to 44% and 28% of U.S. Millennials respectively. (ReadITQuik

What cities are Millennial homebuyers flocking to? According to an analysis by LendingTree, the top three are Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and Des Moines, Iowa—based on mortgage requests by those 35 and under. The online loan company says that on average 36.1% of all their mortgage requests came from the age group, a slight increase from the year before, which they say is “thanks to a stronger jobs market and overall economy.” They expect to see more young buyers looking for homes as financial situations keep improving. (Yahoo FinanceCredit.com

YouTube is being criticized for filtering LGBTQ content. Recently, YouTube creators have discovered that some content featuring LGBTQ titles and themes are being filtered when users enable “Restricted Mode” to screen out “potentially objectionable content.” YouTuber Neon Fiona pointed to her own page as evidence, citing that videos with “girlfriend” in the title were filtered under the mode, but videos with “boyfriend” in the title were not. Not all LGBTQ content is filtered and one YouTuber observes, “This is something that no one’s really sure how it’s working.” (Tubefilter

Quote of the Day: “When I was watching the Super Bowl, I switched the channel or left the room when it was a commercial break.”—Male, 27, MN

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