6 Spots That Won The 2018 Super Bowl

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Advertisers played it safe this year, opting for funny ads full of celebrities rather than politically-charged ones—and it paid off. Here are the best of the best and what they did right…

Plenty of brands got political last year, but this year, they stayed on the sidelines. One branding exec explained to the Wall Street Journal that, “The fear of a Twitter attack is fueling the play-it-safe approach.” And it’s no wonder; brands have learned that trying to tap into the political climate can blow up in their face at the fast pace of social (lest we forget Pepsi). Instead, three themes pervaded the Super Bowl ads of the night: humor, celebrities, and activism. A-listers and up-and-coming TV stars alike headlined the ads, with several spots switching from celeb to celeb at dizzying speeds. Tapping into TV fandoms propelled two ads in particular to the top, proving how “celebrity” is being redefined by young viewers. The top ads of the night also kept it light, opting for ridiculous over real. This didn’t work out for everyone (ahem, Diet Coke)—but for many, humor was an effective way to win over consumers seeking an escape from the everyday.

The other theme of the night was a hit-or-miss for brands, but there were more misses than hits. Many brands tried to show off their social good for young viewers; not a bad idea considering Ypulse data has found Millennials & Gen Z expect brands' beliefs to align with their own. Unfortunately, some missed the mark (like Ram Trucks) and others were just lost in the clutter of "cause fatigue."

Here are the ads that stood out, winning over viewers and generating the most post-game buzz:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketingDoritos & Mountain Dew

PepsiCo leveraged Next Level Fandoms to release a winning Super Bowl ad. The ad has accrued over 10 million views online and is the…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Time I could be sleeping is time I spend on social media. It's now part of my waking up and going to sleep routine and, for those reasons, I'm feeling done with social media."—Male, 24, CA

MasterCard created an audio-only logo for Generation Voice Activated. The finance brand has debuted a sound they’ll play when people check out using their MasterCard. YPulse data shows that 29% of 18-36-year-olds own a smart speaker device, and that number is only expected to grow along with the use of other audio-activated devices. MasterCard wants to make their brand memorable without visual cues to tap into the $40 billion in revenue voice shopping is expected to generate by 2022. (Fast Company)

Brands are acting uncannily human on Twitter—is it working? Many brands (mainly the food and beverage kind) are “behav[ing] like real people with idiosyncratic personalities” on social media to connect with young consumers. This allows them to “stand out it in a crowded marketplace," explains one marketing professor. And Twitter users are engaging: from Sunny D to Steak-umm, brands are going viral for nihilist, and even depressing, first-person posts. (Vice)

Millennials are buying more greeting cards this Valentine’s Day. The National Retail Federation estimates the industry made as much as $933 million yesterday, compared to $894 million last year. Experts say that Millennials are behind the boost as they buy more expensive, albeit fewer, cards that often have personalized flourishes and functions (like audio). They’re also opting for IRL cards over e-cards because, as one enthusiast explains, "I like giving cards because you can hold it, unlike a text or email.” (NPR)

Brands went beyond romantic messaging for Valentine’s Day this year. Some catered to Millennials’ Treat Yo’Self mentality with collaborations like Tinder and Homesick’s “Single, Not Sorry” candle, while others celebrated Galentine’s Day. Target stocked themed decorations for those hosting girls-only get-togethers and Kay Jewelers set aside a site category for Galentine’s Day gifts. Finally, the NRF estimates that pet owners spent $886 million on their furry friends on Valentine’s Day, and retailers like PetSmart advertised accordingly. (ContentStandard)

More college grads are taking on retail jobs as stores up the ante for new hires. Yes, the trend is fueled by student debt and other financial factors, but also because stores that focus on experience expect more than ever from their customer service reps. Workers at Sweaty Betty, Everlane, and Warby Parker are reportedly trained with workshops, tests, and homework. But while, as one expert explains, “Customers are also coming in with much higher expectations of what level of service they’re going to receive,” retail wages aren’t keeping pace. (Refinery29)

Quote of the Day: “The best thing about social media is to connect with people across geographical boundaries and cultures. I love interacting with people that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”—Female, 22, PA

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