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

“I eat [Pizza Hut] least two times per month; it's one of my favorite places to go to eat pizza.”—Male, 35, VA

More Millennials are asking for cash wedding registries, and it’s bad news for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma. Increasingly, young couples are asking guests to contribute towards their nest egg, travel, or anything they feel like buying themselves. Companies like Zola and Honeypot have boomed in popularity, offering a personalized platform for their cash registries. However, their success with wedding registries is taking “a key customer acquisition tool” away from home décor stores. (Insider)

The beauty industry is catering to Customization Nation, as more companies crop up to blend unique beauty products for each customer. But can the trend scale? Truly personalized products, like the ones offered by hair care start-up Function of Beauty and makeup company Bite Beauty, take time and resources. But companies that offer base products with just a personalized element or two could be the future of the industry. And big-name brands are getting their feet wet too: Lancôme and CoverGirl have both offered custom-made foundations. (Glossy)

Nordstrom is taking risks to survive retail’s big shifts. Instead of shuttering stores, they’re opening experimental retail locations, revamping their department stores, and making their mark in Manhattan with their first store openings. The long-standing brand also bought ecommerce site HauteLook and the subscription service Trunk Club. So far, their risk-taking hasn’t proved to be a boon to their bottom line—but only time will tell. (WSJ)

Hollister is teaming up with AwesomenessTV to reach Gen Z with a YouTube series. “The Carpe Life” will be a part of a broader campaign, which includes influencer marketingand appeals to young consumers’ love for active, adventurous lifestyles. "The Carpe Life" follows Hollister's first YouTube series, “This is Summer” which “boosted key brand metrics by double digits,” adding on to their overall positive impact on Abercrombie & Fitch’s rising bottom line. (Marketing Dive)

Netflix is switching its strategy, putting less money into “prestige films” for the Post-TV Gen. Instead, they’re churning out more direct-to-video releases. Last year, they bought ten titles at Sundance while this year they had none. While they continue to create original content like the recent The Cloverfield Paradox, they’re betting on less-than-award-worthy films to maintain their hold on Millennial viewers. (The Atlantic)

“Basically if I found out any brand was supporting causes I do not support and actively oppose, I will avoid buying their products.”—Female, 27, CA

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