Super Bowl ads target reality, technology trends

|| February 4, 2019

By Jordan McDonald

55 comms social media coordinator

Another year, another Super Bowl for the New England Patriots. While you’ve seen that story before – that’s six Super Bowls for Patriots star Tom Brady – the 2019 Super Bowl commercials were new, exciting but still expensive. 

With a starting price of $US5 million for a 30-second spot and only so many spaces to fill, Super Bowl commercials are a hot item for advertisers. With well over 110 million people were expected to tune in this year, so it was a massive opportunity to send a compelling message or plug a new product. This year saw a lot of the usual contenders like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Verizon (to name a few) as well as featured a few debutants like Washington Post, Olay and Expensify. Overall there were a few trends that stood out:

  1. Appealing to the real: A number of commercials this year were emotionally evocative and tried to appeal to human empathy. The Washington Post did this well referencing ‘fake news’ and linking it the real dangers reporters face to deliver the facts. It all came together with the commercial highlighting some of the recent journalist deaths. Whilst the theme was dark the message was impactful. Still, it’s not easy to get the public to feel sympathy for journalists. The impact of this ad will be worth watching.
  2. Technology dominated: The majority of commercials this year revolved around technology providing a solution or benefit. Serena Williams partnered with the dating app Bumble which focused on empowering women to take control of their future and specifically love life. Expensify app Partnered with 2Chainz and featured a world-first reimbursable receipt music video. Yes, the ad ran as if it were a music video before being interrupted by someone on-set who explains they need to keep their receipts to be reimbursed for all the props. The point of difference here is that the ad shows a receipt on-screen and users were able to download the app and scan the receipt and were entered into a prize to be reimbursed (win) an amount of money – a really innovative concept.
  3. Nostalgia, again: Nostalgia is enjoyable but also predictable with Super Bowl and 2019 is no different. Dorito’s took the crown this year featuring an ad with Chance The Rapper and 90’s boy-band heartthrobs The Backstreet Boys. The ad features the well-loved song “I Want It That Way” as Dorito’s unveil that their original Nacho’s flavour is now ‘Flaming Hot’, so a new flavour essentially. Hungry Jack’s also took the nostalgic route but took the crown for probably the most basic ad where they had Andy Warhol opening a burger and eating it. The ad was concluded with the hashtag #EatLikeAndy in an attempt to ignite a social media campaign.

Yet again, the Super Bowl commercials did not disappoint, in fact, they were probably more interesting than the game (according to social media commentary). Now we wait until next year!

Which ad was your favourite?