Marketing Lessons from Super Bowl 56

I love football, marketing, and music.  So you could say that the Super Bowl is like my, well, Super Bowl.  To me, it’s one of the best American holidays…and yes, I want to be able to sleep in the day after.  And since it is the most-watched television spectacles each year, companies from all over spend millions to advertise on it.  So from my perspective, there is a lot to learn from the best ads.  But more than that, there are marketing lessons all over the event.  So here are the marketing lessons from Super Bowl 56.

Guerilla Marketing Still Works

Ryan Reynolds is not just a bankable Hollywood star.  While some of you were not paying attention, he has also become a genius marketer.  He has done some amazing work to promote his own brands including Aviation Gin and Mint Mobile, and he was at it again.  While this is not one of his best ads, Reynolds and his team shot the ad upside down to grab our attention.  This is an old-school Guerilla Marketing tactic, and it still works.  When things are different, they stand out and make you take notice.  This was an ad that made me pay attention.

It Pays To Give First

Every year it blows my mind that the NFL gets some of the biggest acts to perform for the Halftime show…for free.  Why would Prince, Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, and now Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem do that?  Because this is the biggest act of exposure you can get…and it will pay off in the form of selling music and merchandise.  In essence, they are giving first.  When you provide value upfront (in the right setting and to the right audience) wonderful things can happen.  In that spirit of giving first, you can get my book on the subject for FREE here.

Using Short-Form to Drive to Long-Form Content

When you spend the kind of money that BMW spent to have Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek in their ads, they want to get some bang for their buck.  So leading up to the Super Bowl I kept seeing short-form content that teased the spots on the Super Bowl.  In addition, they encouraged you to head to their website to see the full story.  Using that short content to build interest and drive traffic to your site is a cool way to increase the value of your marketing.

A Call To Action Still Works

The best commercial on Super Bowl 56 was the Coinbase ad.  Was it cool and fun?  Nope.  Did it have amazing celebrities and a funny storyline?  Not at all.  It was just a QR code that looked like a 90’s screensaver on the screen for 60 seconds.  So what did people do?  They scanned the QR code!  More than 20 million people hit the landing page and took Coinbase from 186th place on Apple’s App Store to 2nd.  So many people did it that it crashed their website!  While crashing the site is not ideal, it shows you the power of giving people a call to action.

Many marketers and advertisers work so hard on “the creative” that they lose sight of the goal of the ad.  What do we want customers to do?  What do we want them to remember?  Let’s make sure we focus on that.

Oh…and as a side note, sometimes NOT having a crazy creative message is really creative.  And yes…I downloaded the app.

There are plenty of lessons to learn from the best of the best in marketing.  And the Super Bowl certainly showcases the best of the best.  What was your big takeaway?

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Written by: Kirby Hasseman

Kirby Hasseman is the CEO of Hasseman Marketing & Communications. Kirby hosts a weekly Web show called Delivering Marketing Joy where he interviews business leaders from around the country. Kirby has published four books. His most recent is “Fan of Happy.” His book, called "Delivering Marketing Joy" is about doing “promo right” and is perfect for people in the industry and customers. He also wrote “Think Big For Small Business” and “Give Your Way to Success. All are available on Amazon.