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: “I follow movie critics/sites on Twitter - this is the best way to find out latest news and upcoming films.”—Male, 23, AL

McDonald’s new ad is brand-free and interactive. In the TV spot starring Mindy Kaling, she never says the brand’s name and no logo appears—though she is wearing a yellow dress in front of a red background. Instead, Kaling asks viewers to go to Google and search "that place where Coke tastes so good" to find out for themselves. Requesting the viewer to take action “play[s] on how teens and twentysomethings use their phones while watching TV, while also acknowledging "how they're discovering information" they trust. The ad has been viewed almost 4 million times since being posted earlier this week. (Inc.MediaPost

Nintendo might have plans to dominate the holidays (again). Last week, the brand announced the discontinuation of the wildly popular NES Classic Edition after very limited availability—news that was not received well by gamers worldwide. But now rumor has it that the brand is working on a SNES Classic Edition that could come in time for Christmas 2017, according to Eurogamer's sources. If their response is any indication, Millennial nostalgia will guarantee a success for the relaunch of the classic console. (Let’s just hope Nintendo makes enough this time.) (WWG)  

“Satisfying videos” are trending, and brands are taking notice. Clips that feature “repetitive tasks, perfect patterns in motion or machinery processes being completed in slow motion, with relaxing music” are providing Millennials and Gen Z an escape from stress—as we explored in our In Their Heads trend. These videos—which include things like paint mixing, slime squeezing, and cake icing—are only getting more popular online: over 265,000 posts on Instagram currently live under the hashtag #satisfyingvideos. Prism TV is one brand capitalizing on the trend, with a promotional video series that shows painters mixing colors together in slow motion. (DIGIDAY

Teens are ushering in a new era of “webrooming.” According to a new Dealspotr survey, 47% of 20-year-olds and younger are using their phones as their primary source for online apparel shopping, compared to 39% of Millennials and 37% of Gen X and Boomers. However, since they are less likely to have digital payment options, they were also the most likely age group to shop in-store, signifying they are using mobile to “reverse showroom” or “webroom.” The survey also found that H&M leads as the most popular retailer for the group, followed by Forever 21. (Yahoo FinanceDealspotr

Beauty brands regularly market to Millennials by speaking to their too-busy, “chicly rushed lifestyles,” but is it the right approach? Newcomers Milk Makeup and Allies of Skin are just a few examples of brands growing their beauty empires by offering simple products that are easy to apply, have multiple uses, and can shorten routines for the busy consumer. But when it comes to beauty, quality may come before convenience, especially for young consumers who enjoy spending time on makeup routines: a Ypulse survey found that 55% of 13-33-year-olds like experimenting with different looks. (Racked

Quote of the Day: “I am passionate about beauty, and I look to Ulta, Sephora, and Bluemercury to learn what news products are out on the market and how to use them.”

—Female, 24, FL

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