Customer Connection: Loved
With Valentine's Day and the Ad Bowl, we see a lot of money spent to create love and connection. How can brands capture that love?
As Valentine's Day approaches, love permeates not only personal relationships but also the realm of brand-consumer connections. Brands tirelessly endeavor to foster a profound sense of affection and loyalty from their audience, reminiscent of the bonds shared between individuals. A pivotal avenue for achieving this emotional resonance is through the highly anticipated Super Bowl Sunday ads (lovingly referred to as the ad bowl), where brands vie for attention and affection on one of the grandest advertising stages of the year.
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Super Bowl ads occupy a revered place in the hearts of marketers and consumers alike. For most marketers and agencies, the commercials are the main event. These commercials transcend mere commercial breaks, hopefully joining the cultural zeitgeist and becoming catalysts for conversations.
But what is it about Super Bowl ads that captivates audiences and fosters enduring positive brand sentiment?
Emotional Appeal: Super Bowl ads possess a unique ability to tug at the heartstrings, eliciting powerful emotions that resonate deeply with viewers. Whether through poignant storytelling, nostalgia-inducing flashbacks, or heartwarming moments, emotional appeal plays a pivotal role in leaving a lasting impression and forging an intimate emotional connection with the audience. The vulnerability and authenticity conveyed in these ads evoke empathy and empathy, strengthening the bond between the brand and its consumers.
The NFL International “Born to Play” ad perfectly encapsulates this. Human, sentimental, and focused on improving experiences for children, means this spot captures attention and all the warm and fuzzies at the same time.
Celebrity Endorsements: Many Super Bowl ads leverage the allure of A-list celebrities and influencers to enhance brand visibility and credibility. Celebrities infuse ads with a sense of familiarity, relatability, and aspirational qualities, making them more memorable and shareable among viewers. The association with beloved figures elevates the brand's image, enhancing its appeal and fostering positive brand sentiment through the halo effect.
Like most years, celebrities were practically in every single ad. There was definitely not a shortage. While celebrity endorsement can create an immediate sense of recognition, it isn’t an immediate win.
However, Verizon and Beyoncé nailed it by “breaking Verizon” and releasing new music. Fun, aligned with the brand, and speaking directly to a music-obsessed audience. A strong ad that leans into Verizon and the BOTUS herself.
Humor and Entertainment: Laughter is a universal language, and humor serves as a potent tool for winning over audiences. Super Bowl ads often feature witty scripts, clever punchlines, and comedic elements designed to entertain viewers and leave a lasting impression. By eliciting laughter and joy, humorous ads create a positive association with the brand, fostering a sense of goodwill and affinity among consumers.
Paramount+ had me at Patrick Stewart yelling at Drew Barrymore.
Innovative Storytelling: Brands push the boundaries of creativity during Super Bowl commercials, exploring unconventional narratives, striking visual effects, and captivating storytelling techniques. Compelling storytelling captivates audiences, holding their attention and imprinting the brand's message in their minds. Through innovative storytelling, brands create immersive experiences that resonate with viewers on a profound level, leaving an indelible mark on their hearts and minds.
Pfizer’s “Here’s to Science” spot captured this with the inclusion of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” immediately getting your attention and then having sweeping animations about science and scientists. It was a celebration of all things science and the song choice could not have been more perfect.
Building Brand Love Beyond Super Bowl Ads
While Super Bowl ads serve as catalysts for building brand love, fostering enduring loyalty necessitates a sustained effort beyond the 30-second spotlight. Here are strategies for brands to continue nurturing connections and driving loyalty:
Consistent Brand Voice: Maintaining a consistent brand voice across all touchpoints reinforces the brand's identity and values, fostering trust and familiarity among consumers.
Love Duolingo or hate them, I’ll give them this. They are going to ride that unhinged road until the bitter end. The five second “buttception” spot proves that they will consistently show up to do the most and it’s expected. They even created a pair of Duo Butt Briefs for those who want to share their love of the brand. If you check out the hashtag, you can even see they use camel case to have it read as Superb Owl instead of Super Bowl.
Authentic Engagement: Engaging with consumers authentically by actively listening to their feedback and providing personalized experiences demonstrates a genuine commitment to their needs and preferences.
Meaningful Experiences: Creating meaningful brand experiences, whether through community events, philanthropic initiatives, or immersive activations, fosters emotional connections and deepens consumer engagement.
Dunkin jumped in with a hilarious spot featuring Dunkin fanboy Ben Affleck and his friends Matt Damon and Tom Brady. If the addition of his wife, Jennifer Lopez wasn’t enough, the brand is continuing the ad exposure by launching a DunKing line of merch to go along with the spot.
Social Customer Care: Prioritizing social customer care by promptly addressing inquiries, resolving issues, and acknowledging feedback on social media platforms reinforces the brand's dedication to customer satisfaction and advocacy.
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Overall, the commercials from the ad bowl felt a bit safe and many won’t be remembered this same time next year (or let’s be real, next week). Here’s hoping these brands continue to take steps to touch their customer bases beyond the big game.
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