Advocacy Ads in Super Bowl 50
Studies have determined as many as 70 percent of you are as excited about the ads during the Super Bowl, as you are about the actual game. So it makes sense that the issue watchers among us will be pleased to hear there are some advocacy campaigns in that hedonistic mix this year.
For Super Bowl’s big 50th birthday, 30-second advertisement slots are going for $5 million, an 11 percent increase from last year. Spending that kind of money is justified, because it will increase sales, right? Not always it seems, and some studies have indicated that up to 80 percent of Super Bowl ads don’t increase purchases, and people have a hard time recalling the brand associated with the ad they watched.
Of course brands have all sorts of reasons for wanting to be part of the Super Bowl, but if consumers’ purchasing habits are relatively unaffected, it’s worth opening your eyes and ears when two companies take on a minimum $5 million slot to promote an issue or cause, rather than just their product.
Among the pre-released advertisements I have seen, two companies’ advocacy campaigns stand out. Among all that comedy and sex appeal, there are heartstrings to be pulled. And they do an effective job.
Colgate Brushes on the Thought-Provoking
A rookie to the Super Bowl ad game, Colgate started their advocacy campaign, #EveryDropCounts last week, to be aired during the Super Bowl. In this 30-second slot, we see a man turn a faucet on and leave it running while he brushes his teeth.
During the 26 seconds he runs the water, we see a different hand reach under and wash a pear, another set of hands, weathered and trembling, fill a bowl, with a message appearing: “Brushing with the faucet running wastes up to 4 gallons of water.”
We then see a little girl putting her hands under the faucet for drinking water. Cutting back to the man brushing his teeth, the message says: “That’s more water than many people around the world have in a week. Please turn off the faucet.”
It is not until the last three seconds of the commercial that Colgate reveals their brand. Instead of focusing on their product, they shed light on a very simple habit that affects many people. By appealing to the right-brain, Colgate effectively reaches the consumers’ emotional involvement. The brand stuck with simplicity in this ad, and I think it will serve their campaign well.
Mini Plays a Big Game and Owns What It Is
The second campaign to catch my eye was car manufacturer Mini Cooper’s #DefyLabels. The campaign features five celebrities and athletes, including Serena Williams, Abby Wambach, Tony Hawk, T-Pain and Harvey Keitel, who are all current or previous Mini owners.
In 2011 Mini released a larger crossover vehicle. The larger Countryman came off to me as trying to compete with other small SUV’s, and compensate for what the classic Mini is not.
This year, with their #DefyLabels campaign, there is a very different vibe. Mini is embracing their reputation and image, and encouraging consumers to take back the power to define themselves.
For that they made no small investment with this campaign. All five of their ads will air during the Super Bowl. That’s a total running time of 6 minutes and 25 seconds, coming in at a whopping $65 million.
Highlighting one ad in particular, Serena Williams discusses the various labels that people have tried to define her by:
“‘Too strong.’ No, it just means I’m stronger than you,” Serena tells the camera.
It’s a clever, emotional campaign, with each of the five public figures used to reach many types of viewer, compounding the positive message of embracing your identity, and not allowing others to define you.
Sarah Weinstein-Bacal is an account manager for Goddard Gunster.