SOCiETY takes on the 2017 Super Bowl

Here at SOCiETY Malaysia, we’re always innovating to ensure that we stay ahead of the game. While it’s great that we’re so committed to greatness, it can be tiring! Yes, you heard me right! Aspiring for greatness everyday can be tiring! Let’s move on.

If you work in the media industry and were unaware that the 51st edition of the Super Bowl concluded last week with the New England Patriots emerging as victors, we finally have concrete proof of a parallel universe. While we may not all be into American Football, we are into Super Bowl commercials. Word around the watercooler has it that the Super Bowl inspires brands to create some of the best commercials ever produced.

The Super Bowl attracts more than a 100 million viewers where more than 70% of US homes with televisions tune in. To put it in perspective, a 30 second commercial will set a brand back $5 million. Getting an ad slot is as much a win as airing a great commercial. A brand can easily spend upwards of $10 million around a moment, albeit the biggest of the year for American brands. And this moment matters!

So we decided to leverage off the epic advertising powerhouse that accompanies the American sporting pinnacle that is the Super Bowl. We did an internal assignment with our greatness go-getters to let loose. The brief was to identify one Super Bowl commercial that they absolutely loved and state what their key takeaway was. Everyone was encouraged to participate and boy oh boy did they participate!

We had a slew of unbridled ideas that were developed on-the-spot for some of the brands that we manage, just by participating in this assignment. We had a fervor of manic activity discussing the commercials and what inspired each of us as we listed our favourites. There was a lot of dialogue generated by what worked and what didn’t. Lots of lessons were learnt both collectively and individually. And you thought, I was kidding when I say we’re committed to greatness. We take assignments to the next level!

So here are some of our key takeaways from the commercials produced for the 51st Super Bowl.

Don’t be afraid to make a stand

One of the clear themes that came across was that brands weren’t afraid to make a stand on political issues. While brands have usually tended to be wary of making bold political positions in the past, they stepped out in unison to make a statement. While it makes sense for global brands like Airbnb and Coca-Cola to embrace diversity and promote inclusion, the all-American brand, 84 Lumber took the opportunity to get in on the action as well. And it clearly resonated with audiences, both offline and online, as all 3 brands made it into the most shared ads of Super Bowl 2017.

Winning on social media doesn’t necessarily mean crafting the best commercials

There were 2.3 million Super Bowl related social conversations generated this year. Coming in way ahead of the pack was PepsiCo’s Lifewtr promotion which garnered 47.4k social conversations. While the commercial looked great and communicated well, it wasn’t the most emotionally engaging or best crafted, according to our internal panel of social experts. The key lesson learnt was that a clearly defined and well-executed strategy is the primary weapon when going into a space that is this crowded. Well-developed strategic execution trumps purely creative storytelling.

Social issues resonate strongly amongst younger audiences

We saw brands using the biggest stage in American airtime to communicate their stand on both political and social issues. From the conversations generated we also saw that people absolutely loved it when some brands chose to make a stand rather than just produce a commercial. Many in the room felt that commercials like Audi’s ‘Daughter’ was a win in the right direction. A male dominated category brand took the opportunity to win the hearts of women the world over, and a whole bunch of guys too. Audi’s stand clearly reverberated with most of our team. Even earning applause at one point! The millennials are clearly passionate about social issues and brands have to digitally embrace that to be relevant.

And so the teams went back to bringing to life in their work from the inspirations of lessons learnt and ideas generated from the 51st edition of the Super Bowl. Greatness is coming. SOCiETY Malaysia is on the prowl. You best be ready!



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