Super Bowl is arguably among the top calendar dates for US marketers. From technology giants like Workday and Netflix to auto manufacturers like Jeep to emerging names like Tubi, a Super Bowl ad spot is THE place to be when it comes to Q1 of 2023.
Even if the formidable price tag of $5+ million per 30 seconds is not suitable for a company, marketers can use the lessons learned from the top Super Bowl ad spots across their campaigns around the year.
In 2023, the Super Bowl reached 113 million ad viewers, and nearly 1 in 5 members of the audience was excited about the commercials. The event isn’t just an opportunity to make an impression on a massive number of people. The best Super Bowl ads are frequently discussed, the marketers are lauded, and it has a very real effect on sales and revenues.
For instance, the vehicles advertised on Super Bowl 2023 immediately saw a 50% uptick in online traffic, as per cars.com!
So, what do the best ads from Super Bowl 2023 have to teach us? How can marketers use their MarTech stack intelligently to implement these insights and achieve similar outcomes? Read on to know:
Insight 1: Influencer marketing is serious business, but choose your influencer wisely (Dunkin’ Donuts)
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach an audience that is almost ready to convert. For example, an influencer on LinkedIn will have followers interested in the same products and services. When a brand partner with the influencer to discuss their products, they reach prospects who are already eager to know about what’s on offer.
But here’s the thing – influencers cannot start talking about your product out of the blue, and finding partners with the right expertise, influence, and reach is a tough ask.
Dunkin’ Donuts pulled this off masterfully with its 2023 Super Bowl ad. The company chose the actor Ben Affleck for its ad spot, someone who has a long association with the brand and is known to genuinely like the products they offer. B2B marketers can learn a lot from this latest Dunkin’ Donuts ad. They can use popular platforms like Mavrck, HyperAuditor, etc., to cultivate an influencer network and use the best ones for high-value campaigns in 2023.
Why? 86% of B2B brands find success with influencer marketing, making this a crucial takeaway from this year’s Super Bowl ads.
Insight 2: Value-driven marketing really works, but remember to do it with subtlety (Amazon)
In recent years, B2B marketers have worked closely with account managers and customer success teams to ensure they get the messaging just right.
What are your customers’ top use cases? What are the problems they want to solve? It is a good idea to create ad and marketing content that demonstrates – clearly – the value that customers stand to gain from your product, instead of the product itself.
Here’s how Amazon did it at Super Bowl 2023: the company showcased a one and a half minute long ad film about a pet dog who was left at home while its family members went about their daily lives. It appeared to the audience’s emotions, as the dog felt lonely, frustrated, and even angry at being left alone in a large and empty house. When the dog starts biting through the furniture in frustration, the family is shown to be browsing Amazon for an indoor kennel.
The kennel is delivered in an Amazon box. However, instead of confining the dog and keeping the family’s belongings safe, the kennel has another puppy inside it to keep the dog company.
Throughout the film, the actual product and its branding are shown only twice: the website and the shipping box. It is the outcome – i.e., seeing a beloved pet and your family members happy – that takes center stage. Similarly, B2B marketers need to put customer-centricity and the value proposition front and center when discussing their product across content marketing collaterals, if they are to make a genuine impact and not just compete against others.
Interestingly, Gartner calls this a shift to the customer success mindset instead of the usual customer acquisition mindset.
Insight 3: Make use of humor, and do not be afraid to go BIG (Workday)
B2C brands are regularly known to use humor as a marketing tool, especially on social media. At Super Bowl 2023, we saw B2B technology giant, Workday, bring tongue-in-cheek humor into its one-minute ad spot. And the company made sure to go big by hiring easy-to-recognize names for the job.
The ad showed regular business users relying on SaaS tools to complete different tasks (HR, finance, etc.) at a remarkable speed. In recognition of a job well done, they called each other a “rockstar.” Meanwhile, an actual rockstar – Ozzy Osbourne – performs at a concert on stage and talks about how everyone is a rockstar these days.
Eventually, the white-collar executive is transported to Osbourne’s stage, and two worlds collide, with Osbourne and several other musicians (Billy Idol, Joan Jett, Gary Clark, and Paul Stanley) explaining that Workday makes HR and finance laughably simple, but that doesn’t make every business user a rockstar.
The tongue-in-cheek humor, in this Super Bowl 2023 ad, is very effective. It not only shows Workday’s self-awareness, but it also subtly implies that the product’s incredible ease of use does not need anyone to be a rockstar at all. B2B marketers taking inspiration from this campaign should note that it is the juxtaposition of the two contrasting worlds that makes this ad so impactful.
Insight 4: Know your audience and speak to them directly (General Motors)
Given that a marquee event like the Super Bowl reaches a massive audience, it can be tempting to broad-base your messaging so you make an impression on the maximum number of people possible. But here’s the thing: the impact will be fleeting, because it does not tap into any traits, problems, or use cases unique to an audience segment.
That’s why B2B marketers should leverage customer intelligence and data analytics tools to understand the precise nature of the audience to whom they are speaking. Using this data, you can position ads on the right platform, at the right time, with the right partners, and so much more to finetune their impact.
The goal is to make a lasting impact on a select audience and not a broad but fleeting one.
To achieve this, General Motors partnered with Netflix for its Super Bowl 2023 ad. The company wanted to drive home the messaging around its electric vehicles (EV) line-up. It recognized that EV buyers are mostly young professionals and 75% of Netflix’s US subscriber base is between 18 and 34 years of age. General Motors intends to place its EV products in Netflix content wherever applicable – a decision that both resonates with the company’s target buyer and works toward societal good.
The company’s Super Bowl 2023 ad had actor and comedian Will Ferrel appear in multiple Netflix shows with an electric vehicle. While this was incongruous in some settings (driving up the humor factor), it made perfect sense in others.
Thanks to this well-informed partnership, General Motors’ stock increased by almost 5% following the announcement!
These were the top four insights for B2B marketers from this year’s Super Bowl ad spots. As MarTech evolves, companies may shift their focus (and investments) to their marketing technology stack – however, campaigns like these demonstrate the continued importance of a winning idea, powered by data and great tech, and – finally, executed superbly.