Super Bowl LIV Ad Trends

Photo of Kat Kuda

BY Kat Kuda

January 10, 2020

Creative

The holidays are over and time is ticking toward the next holiday, Super Bowl LIV. The holiday in which we anticipate the annual tradition of great commercials. Super Bowl ads started in the late 60’s with a humorous and very masculine tone. In 1984, Apple debuted a groundbreaking commercial that could arguably be the very first viral ad.

Since then, consumer marketing has moved toward digital and there are arguments it isn’t worth investing $5 million for a 30-second timeslot on TV. But Super Bowl ads are their own species. With an audience of over 100 million people, this event gives marketers the opportunity to reach as many people as possible at once, on a day when advertising is its own event.

And don’t forget that there is a science to watching the bowl—shhh—be quiet during commercials. We need to be able to tweet, ‘gram and post about what we saw and discuss the next day at work.

As we anticipate this year’s ads, here are three ad trends likely to show up on Super Bowl Sunday.

Humor
Everyone needs a little laugh to start out 2020, and humor is almost the gold standard when it comes to great Super Bowl ads. People are watching the game together, having a good time, and it’s the perfect opportunity for brands to create buzz. Humor-based ads could include brand partnerships similar to the Bud Light/Game of Thrones ad last year. Pop Tarts will debut their first ever Super Bowl ad starring “Queer Eye’s” Jonathan Van Ness to appear in a 30-second spot, and reports show that Avocados from Mexico will be back for the 6th time with something whacky I’m sure. Bottom line, funny is always remembered.

Multiple Spots
A reflection of our binge-watching society, multiple spots will continue to be a trend this year. You can expect this with the popular car ads. Marketers love telling stories, and consumers love eating it up. Multiple related spots can catch the attention of the average American, who is now distracted by everything. If the story is successful, marketers open the door to continue this ad campaign in the digital world. In a TIME article about the most influential super bowl ad, Tim Calkins from Northwestern states that “Super Bowl advertising has changed fundamentally, it’s gone from being a one-time event to a months-long marketing campaign.”

Purpose Driven Ads
Uniting humans is needed in right now and soulful ads are impactful, especially in an election year with the current political landscape. There is an opportunity to create a powerful emotion to a wide audience, on whatever issue the brand is backing. Whether it’s equality, climate change, disaster relief, or simply a “feel good” emotion, it gives a brand the opportunity to be altruistic and the consumer a “why” to stand behind the brands they buy. Showing that a brand isn’t soulless wins in the eyes of consumers. We can’t deny that millennial and Gen Z consumers love cause culture shopping.

Oh, and if you thought you were going to have a couple hours of peace from barking politicians and identity breach reminders, you won’t. Facebook will make its first appearance and even though Super Bowl ads are rarely seen in presidential politics, the New York Times has confirmed that Trump and Bloomberg have bought ads for Super Bowl LIV.

Play ball.

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Photo of Kat Kuda

BY Kat Kuda

January 10, 2020

Creative