Game day football party table with beer, chips and salsa.

By now every aspect of the 2015 Super Bowl has been analyzed from the controversy, to the play calling, to the half time show and of course the ads. I didn’t pay much attention to the commercials this year as Super Sunday has become a somber event for me. During the game I will usuallydust off my old copy of The Super Bowl Shuffle, curl up into a fetal position an weep thinking of the Chicago Bears Super Bowls that will never be. So by the end of the game I might have been able to give you one details from one of the ads aired. Fearing that I might have missed something and not wanting to be left out of this year’s conversation I decided to go back watch each marketers’ ads in order to make my own recommendations. My goal in watching was not for the pure entertainment value but to pass on what I saw to my fellow small business owners. The following are seven advertising lessons that you might have missed from the 2015 Super Bowl Ads.

Lesson 1: Marketers should be prepared to face more resistance. How is it that a marketing guy who has watched the Super Bowl for the ads alone for years completely tune out? Today viewers have more things competing for their attention. Mobile phones, real time social media, DVR, and host of other distractions look to pull us away. Going forward how can marketers get consumers to pay attention to the message, have it received as it was intended, and have the message retained until it is needed to make a purchase? Anyone looking to advertise going forward should be prepared to roll up their sleeves.

Lesson 2: Consumers are naturally drawn to messages that speak to their needs and wants. During my Super Bowl ad apathy there was one commercial that managed to cut through the clutter. @Nissan ran a spot called ‘With Dad’ that was everything I could have wanted in a 90 second commercial. As a car guy it had racetracks, race cars moving fast, intense car crashes, and a son wanting to grow up to be like his father. For me it was like watching my favorite movie trailer and I immediately declared it the greatest ad since Apple’s 1984. The reality is that I am a lifelong fan of the Nissan brand and also a loyal Maxima owner which debuted their next generation of the vehicle at the end of the commercial. As consumers we simply know what we like. – – – – ->http://ow.ly/IpImm

Lesson 3: Marketers should look to createbrand equityoraffective association. This year @CocaCola ran the commercial ‘Make It Happy’ pulling off one of the feel good moments of the Super Bowl. By turning what can at times be a negative environment (social media) into a positive one, the beverage giant managed to send out some much needed social love. But this is nothing new for Coke which aired their ground breaking Hilltop commercial back in 1971. The ad featured a sort of United Colors of Benetton group of Coke drinkers from all walks of life singing versus like, “I’d like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love.” How can anyone not feel good after hearing lyrics like that. As in the case of this year’s Make It Happy ad, Coke continues to tap into the good vibrations by getting consumers to feel good about the brand-something that is not easy to do. – – – – ->http://ow.ly/InMSq

Lesson 4: Marketers should look to promote brand recall. Brand recall is a company’s ability to have their brand name remembered easily. It has been done successfully in the past through repetition, crafty slogans, and/or catchy jingles. Two companies that have done it well from Super Bowls past include the Budweiser Frogs and the AFLAC Duck. This year Avacados from Mexico produced a creative spot called ‘First Draft Ever’ that I believe was a brand recall winner. In the ad NFL Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice and QB Doug Flutie are in suits sitting next to a cave man for the first draft in human history. What you are left with is very simple tagline, ‘Grown with love since the beginning of time’ followed by a simple jingle “Avacados from Mexico”. I won’t be forgetting that any time soon. – – – – – >http://ow.ly/Iq4lW

Lesson 5: Marketers should use competitive positioning in crowded, well established categories. With the dominant cellular carrier being Verizon all other competitors seem to be fighting for recognition as second or third options. The goal here is to use an explicit reference to an existing competitor to help define precisely what your brand can do for the consumer that the competition can’t. This year I think @Tmobile did a good job in their ad ‘Kim’s Data Stash’. In it @KimKardashian does well pulling off the commercial to the point that I almost thought that she was championing a real cause. In a very creative way, TMobile manages to deliver their unique message of salvaging expiring rollover data in a crowded segment that is dominated by bigger carriers. – – – – ->http://ow.ly/IqEgy

Lesson 6:Marketers should look to better serve their market niches. Niches are relatively small groups of consumers who have a very unique and specialized set of needs and are willing to pay a premium in order to have those needs met. Often the size or level of expertise needed to service a niche makes it unprofitable or unrealistic for many organizations to serve. When defense contractor @NorthropGrumman ran its ‘Hanger’ commercial at this year’s game my first thought was . . . what are they doing here. As a consumer I don’t have $600 million to buy a bomber but if I did I would gladly expand my garage to accomodate. Upon second review it became clear that the company did not participate for masses but instead as a way to reach out to the niches that they serve: Aerospace Systems, Electronic Systems, Information Systems, and Technical Services. – – – – ->http://ow.ly/IrIqq

Lesson 7:Marketers should clearly identify their advertising goals and objectives. I am all for entertainment but I would want my budget to do more than make the audience laugh. I would personally like to see my message communicated and received well and I would like to see some significants sales or return on my $4 million investment. In their ‘Made In America’ ad @WeatherTech delivers a brilliant message from start to finish. In the commercial you get a chance to see American industry at work. You get to visit WeatherTech’s facility, see their employees going about their day-to-day jobs, and you see the product being made. The best part of the commercial is that the company manages to tell you exactly what they do so that you walk away with a lasting message firmly tucked away, “All we do is create the highest quality automotive accessories.” I plan on purchasing a set of their floor mats for my car next week. – – – – ->http://ow.ly/Iqfjg

Cavanaugh L. Gray (cgray@ecafellc.com) is the Director of Business Development for The Entrepreneur Café, L.L.C (877) 511-4820. For more information on smal business planning or to read a chapter from his book The Entrepreneurial Spirit Lives: 25 Tales to Help Entrepreneurs Start, Grow, and Succeed in Small Business. For more information on how to start, grow and succeed in small business join The Entrepreneur Cafe, L.L.C. on Facebook, Twitter or on LinkedIn.


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