In Super Bowls past, comedic and heartwarming commercials ruled off the field. Competing advertisers playfully told audiences to buy insurance from a baby and seek counsel from animals and celebrities for purchasing cars, drinking beer, buying homes and investing. This year’s advertising strategy was different. Rather than try to outdo one another with humor and luxury, many marketers depicted brands as more authentic and with message more universal message – equality.
This reverse direction parallels the rising trend of companies developing corporate social responsibility programs nationwide. Millennials in particular seek brands with a charitable mission. According to a 2015 study, 91 percent of millennials are likely to switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price and quality and that 87 percent of adults express greater brand loyalty to companies that support social or environmental issues. Even more encouraging, companies are using their platforms to engage with fans and followers on social media to address charitable and social missions that are important to their target customers.
Here is a deeper look at two of this year’s winning plays.
Budweiser focused on its players in the backfield, depicting the story of its co-founder, Adolphus Busch, a German immigrant, and his journey to achieve the American dream. “Born the Hard Way” pays tribute to the struggle of so many immigrants who leave their homelands to work hard and build a better life for themselves and their families. The one-minute commercial depicts the start of Budweiser and its rise to become the world’s largest producer of beer.
“When nothing stops your dream, this is the beer we drink,” the commercial concludes. Whether the company was using its ad to make a political statement or not, (A-B publicly denied doing so) the message was beautiful.
As a B Corp, Teak appreciates companies that use their power as a force for good.
Audi focused more on its rookie players – women – making a line drive to close the gender pay gap. What do I tell my daughter?” a father asks at the opening of the commercial as the young girl races in a box car against a handful of boys her age. “Do I tell her that despite her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued as less than any man she ever meets?” As she crosses the finishing line beating the boys, the father ponders. “Or maybe, I’ll be able to tell her something different?”
Using #DriveProgress, Audi of America is using the popularity of the NFL and its brand to express the company’s commitment to equal pay for equal work. “Progress is for everyone,” the commercial concludes. The one-minute message surely resonates with the more than one million women and men who rallied and joined forces to march for women’s rights across the country on Saturday, Jan. 21. The company didn’t try to oversell its products as all-terrain vehicles with a professional driver off-roading through the woods, nor did it use a sexy celebrity to distinguish the brand in an infiltrated luxury market. Rather, Audi of America took a stand for a mission the company believes in, which ultimately and more authentically sets this brand a part.
According to CNN, this year’s Super Bowl had an average audience of 111.3 million viewers. This number doesn’t even account for those who engaged in social media conversations during the game or will do so over the coming weeks. That’s a lot of eyes and ears to which these progressive companies can sell their brands, while raising awareness about important issues, making their Super Bowl ads a win-win.