WWTT? Super Bowl Ad Illustrates Snickers’ Plan to Fix the World

This year, Feb. 2 wasn’t just Groundhog Day — it was also Super Bowl LIV. With the cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad clocking in at $5.6 million, stakes were high, as usual, and ads ran the gamut from quirky to nostalgic, with some political and heart string-pulling ads debuted as well.

This year, Feb. 2 wasn’t just Groundhog Day — it was also Super Bowl LIV, and while we did get to see the furry critter and Bill Murray team up again in a Jeep ad, there was more than cute rodents and amusing gimmicks during the Big Game’s commercials. With the cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad clocking in at $5.6 million, stakes were high, as usual, and ads ran the gamut from quirky to nostalgic, with some political and heart string-pulling ads debuted as well.

One of the standout Super Bowl ads of the evening was Snickers’ and BBDO’s “#SnickersFixTheWorld” campaign, which illustrates how the candy maker plans to fix the world. The ad, which loosely spoofs Coca-Cola’s 1971 “Hilltop” commercial (you know the one, where you’d “like to buy the world a Coke, and keep it company.”) provided its own weird twist on a community coming together and singing.

https://youtu.be/SLAV4LYO-yU

“SnickersFixtheWorld,” which launched with a 30-second version as its Super Bowl ad, is the latest evolution of  Snickers’ award-winning “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign. And considering the number of challenges faced globally today, ranging from the Coronavirus to climate change, immigration issues and presidential impeachment, the idea of using chocolate to calm down the world does offer some comic relief. If only it was that easy.

Snickers Brand Director Josh Olken commented:

“Since the first Super Bowl spot 10 years ago, we’ve shown the power of Snickers to satisfy when you’re out of sorts. Our attempt to ‘fix the world’ is a new angle, and our biggest yet: When the world itself is out of sorts, maybe it just needs a Snickers.”

The Super Bowl ad , while maybe not as quirky as others (I’m looking at you, Bryan Cranston and Mountain Dew), definitely resonated with other advertising professionals, especially Super Clio jurors who selected the Snickers ad as the Super Clio winner for 2020.

Super Clio juror Jaime Robinson, Co-Founder & CCO of Joan Creative commented:

“It was a lively and engaging discussion and we talked at length about idea, execution, and the very specific media event that is the Super Bowl. In the end, we loved Snickers for being so in-tune with the world as it is right now, for being a fresh idea that re-frames a longstanding campaign, and for having a really, really good laugh at the overly earnest ads of recent Super Bowls past. It seems sadvertising’s reign might just be coming to an end.”

But for Snickers, its Super Bowl ad was just the beginning. Following the Kansas City Chief’s win, Snickers placed the following print ad in the Kansas City Star, cheekily taking credit for the team’s first Super Bowl win in 50 years:

Snickers ad in Kansas City Star
Credit: Snickers/BBDO

Shifting from #SnickersFixtheWorld” to #SnickersFixedtheWorld, the brand has created two 15-second spots showcasing how throwing a huge Snickers into a hole in the earth has begun to fix things. Titled “Chancellor” and “Online Date,” both shorts feature actor Luis Guzman giving credit to Snickers for the wins.

https://youtu.be/iSigOPo1v00

It will be interesting to see where else Snickers takes the #SnickersFixtheWorld” campaign — what other issues the candy maker will tackle, and what channels the campaign will spread to.

What do you think marketers? Did Snickers deserve the Super Clio, or was there a more worthy Super Bowl ad? Let me know in the comments below.

Eagles Beating Patriots in Super Bowl Social Media

Talkwalker has released its final social media trend numbers before the Super Bowl, and they say, “If hashtags were touchdowns, the Philadelphia Eagles look to win in a relative blowout.”

Talkwalker has released its final social media trend numbers before the Super Bowl, and they say, “If hashtags were touchdowns, the Philadelphia Eagles look to win in a relative blowout.”

#FlyEaglesFly has over 96,000 mentions, while #Eagles itself is over 80,691.

Meanwhile, #GoPats has over 60,000 mentions, #Patriots just over 43,000, and Patriots rallying cry #NotDone has over 32,000.

All tolled, Eagles win: 176,767 to 135,846. (So, if you’re betting, take the WAY over.)

But the teams themselves aren’t the only hashtags getting love in the run up to the Super Bowl. In fact, Talkwalker counted more than 8 million social posts related to the Super Bowl over the past month, and 113,000 of them were talking about the ads, 51,000 in the last week alone.

If you ever wonder why so many advertisers now release their Super Bowl commercials ahead of the big game, that’s why. The pre-game hype can be a bigger social boost than the game itself.

Leading the league in trending social posts so far is this Instagram from Vanessa Hudgens about Stella Artois’s partnership with Matt Damon and water.org.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BeYNyRUjCrx/

The early ad wars are shaping up, too, with Amazon and Budweiser leading the way in social mentions:

  1. Amazon 10,692
  2. Budweiser 5,958
  3. Lexus 5,226
  4. M&Ms 4,275
  5. Bud Light 3,870

These aren’t idle numbers. While a social mention, share or like doesn’t lead directly to sales, it is a good indicator of brand mind share heading into and coming out of the Super Bowl. The real question is, who’ll be able to capitalize on the buzz Monday morning.

Pepsi Fumbles Context of NFL Playoffs

Context and relevancy are supposed to be the next big things. But even in the world of TV, where programming is known months in advance, brands still drop the ball — like Pepsi did in the NFL conference championship broadcasts last week.

Context and relevancy are supposed to be the next big things. But to actually serve contextually relevant content isn’t just a challenge for personalized, digital media. Even in the world of TV, where programming is known months in advance, brands still drop the ball — like Pepsi did in the NFL conference championship broadcasts last week.

For Sunday’s NFC Championship game in Philadelphia, played between the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles, Pepsi seemed to run just one commercial: A Dallas Cowboys spot that ran at least three times during the game in the Philadelphia area:

So, OK, somewhere the ad buyer said, “This is an NFL game, run our best performing NFL commercial.” What’s the big deal?

Well, that was silly for a bunch of reasons. Not least of which is that the Cowboys didn’t even make the playoffs this year. So, most of their fans aren’t tuning in.

What makes it even worse is this was a game that drew heavy Minnesota and Philadelphia audiences. Sure, fans from across the country watched too, but I bet Philly and Minnesota fans made up half of the audience.

And all of those viewers have one thing in common: They don’t like the Dallas Cowboys.

Minnesota fans have some history with Dallas.

And Eagles fans … well former Eagle Bennie Logan said it best:

Former Eagle Bennie Logan on the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry.
Former Eagle Bennie Logan on the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry.

Pepsi running this commercial over and over again to Eagles and Vikings fans isn’t just ineffective, it’s insulting. Pepsi might as well have run a Coke ad.

The thing is, in the past, this was OK. You may even think it’s OK today. But it’s not going to be OK tomorrow.

If we’re going to meet the challenges of relevance at the personal level, we need to get our heads out of the sand about marketing at the macro level. You’re never going to bring effective relevancy to your digital content if you can’t recognize that a Dallas commercial was a bad idea this playoff season.

Understand what’s going on with your audience when they’re engaging with your marketing. Why are they there? What do they need? What’s happening around them? That’s what’s going to make your marketing stand out in the years ahead.

Has the NFL Lost a Step for Marketers?

All my life, NFL football has been the most popular, most important sport in America — perhaps the most popular and important event of any kind! But that popularity dipped in 2016. And on the eve of the 2017 season, I don’t feel like the league’s recovered.

All my life, NFL football has been the most popular, most important sport in America — perhaps the most popular and important event of any kind! The league just seemed to get more important every year, and the marketing space around it only became bigger and more valuable over that time.

But that popularity dipped in 2016. And on the eve of the 2017 season, I don’t feel like the league’s recovered.

NFL 2016: A Titan Stumbles

Coming into the 2016 NFL season, ad prices hit record levels. According to Kurt Badenhausen at Forbes and Standard Media Index, NFL ad revenue in 2016 hit $3.5 billion, a 3 percent increase over the prior year.

At the same time, over the course of 2016, NFL regular season TV ratings were down roughly 9 percent.

This did not pass without notice. Salon and ESPN were just two of many media outlets who openly asked, “What’s wrong with the NFL?”

AHas the NFL lost a step for maketers?nswers ranged from ratings competition with a contentious election season to cord cutters to the political and disciplinary controversies that seemed to envelop the league. Tom Brady, one of the league’s biggest stars, was suspended for several games, and some thought that alone accounted for the ratings dip.

But then the playoffs arrived, Tom Brady was back on top, and the Super Bowl was one of the five highest rated games in history (although it still had the lowest ratings for a Super Bowl in three years).

Dip traversed! The NFL was back … wasn’t it?

NFL 2017: Is Football Still Cool?

As a fan of the NFL, I have to say, this offseason was one of the least engaging I’ve ever seen. Around the office in Philadelphia — possibly the most intense football city in America — the sports talk seems quieter. Fewer younger colleagues are football fans … the sport has started to feel like, just maybe, it’s uncool.

Even around old sports fan friends, when I do talk about the NFL, there’s a 50/50 chance the talk will turn to  political aspects. We wind up talking about Colin Kaepernick, player discipline, Tom Brady and “Deflategate,” or other controversies around the game instead of the game itself.

With casual fans, concussions and CTE immediately come up.

But OK, those are just my circles; football isn’t really cooling off, is it?

Well, according to the league upfronts, where they actually sell those fabulously expensive ad,  it’s not just me. AdAge reported in June that interest in NFL advertising for the 2017 season was the softest it’s been since 2008 — the heart of The Great Recession. Ad prices are still rising somewhat — one source in the article says 2 percent to 4 percent this year — but there’s not a lot of excitement in the traditional media space.

The NFL is no longer entirely reliant on old media and the upfronts, though. Several social media networks have acquired rites to stream games themselves in recent years.

This year, Amazon is reportedly pricing ad packages around games at $2.8 million. In fact, Amazon’s packages would include a 30-second spot during the game, digital ads before and after the game, and a promise of unprecedented transparency into the ads’ performance and sales impact.

But is that enough to offset tepid TV advertiser interest?

This year is going to tell us a lot about the state of the NFL as a cultural institution, and as a marketing vehicle. Was last year’s dip just due to circumstance? Or is this marketing superstar finally past its prime?

Can Brands Really Make Us Happy?

Can brands really make us happy? If you ask any brand marketer, the answer is clearly “yes.” And even more so if you ask marketing staff from Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Dove and now LuLuLemon, all of which have spent substantial marketing resources on associating their brands with “happy.”

Can brands really make us happy? If you ask any brand marketer, the answer is clearly “yes.” And even more so if you ask marketing staff from Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Dove and now LuLuLemon, all of which have spent substantial marketing resources on associating their brands with “happy.”

But do consumers consciously purchase products with the sole purpose of achieving happiness? And if so, it is a conscious drive or among the 90 percent of our thoughts that drive our behavior from our unconscious mind?

According to Steve Quartz, professor at California Institute of Technology, we do, but mostly unwittingly, as emotional purchases are often unconscious. Quartz, a one-time believer that consumerism or the drive to buy stuff did not generate happiness, changed his tune after creating a consumer neuroscience project to further explore the psychological impact of buying. As stated in his article, which appeared on PBS.org, here’s what he learned:

We found that asking people to merely look at products they considered “cool” sparked a pattern of activation in a part of the brain known as the medial prefrontal cortex.

Quartz continues to explain that the brain activity resulting from seeing something deemed to be cool, and contemplating owning that coolness, is similar to how the brain responds when we receive a compliment, or feel that someone else values the brands or they have gone up in social status or peer approval. These are the same feelings we get when we anticipate love or rewards, or feel connectedness as we actually experience hormonal rushes of dopamine and oxytocin.

If the above is true, then it makes sense that adding visual and social coolness to your product packaging will increase attention and sales to even failing products as the cool score can actually trump other decision influencers. A case in point is that this very approach made big dollars for Proctor and Gamble when it redesigned the packages for Clairol Herbal Essences, a failing brand it bought in 2001 and decided to reinvent, per its packaging appeal in 2006.

P&G added a total happy appeal to its product, replacing the clunky dull pink rectangle bottle with vibrant-colored, shaped bottles that actually nestled together, making the purchase of the shampoo and conditioner pair more attractive – visually and emotionally. In addition to creating a more energetic shape, they added fun, happy language and changed the names of each product to reflect that new, inviting energy. P&G also uses fun language that reflects the persona of its target consumers and added riddles to the bottles. If you wanted the answer to the riddle on the shampoo bottle, you needed the conditioner, too. Post-repackaging, with a more vibrant, fun, shaped bottle and adding elements of happiness through language and interaction, sales soared. Products like Color Me Happy and Hello Hydration rose to the Top 10 products for shampoo sales in 2014, according to research from Statista.

In recent years, McDonald’s jumped on the happiness bandwagon with its 2014 Super Bowl advertisement, “Pay With Lovin.”Instead of focusing on its products or building appeal for new products, the entire 60-second TV spot showed cashiers surprising customers by telling them to pay for their purchase with gestures of love toward another instead of money. The impact of happy customers doing happy dances and calling home to say “I love you, Mom” produced some happy results for McDonald’s, as well as happy customers. In just two weeks of running the ad, the McDonald’s brand perception rating went from 30 percent positive or neutral to 85 percent positive or neutral, per a March 2015 article on adweek.com.

Aligning with happiness seems to be working well for Coca-Cola, too. It has a website dedicated to happiness quotes, music and tips. Its corporate social responsibility program is built all around giving people free gifts out of Coke vending machines at shopping malls, the Happiness Truck in underprivileged communities worldwide, and so much more. I’m pretty sure the marketing team and shareholders alike are happy with the brand’s 96 million likes on Facebook and sales of more than 1.7 billion servings of its product daily.

How you can add happiness to your brand’s marketing:

1. Learn What Moves Your Customers: Every personality has style, color, energy, art and more preferences. What are those associated with your target consumer? I was working with an agency that creates ads for auto dealers. We did a psychology-based marketing audit of its customers for a specific car and learned the creative was spot-off in its ads. The psychology profile for potential buyers was bright colors, high-energy visuals, and action/adventure-oriented themes. Its ad featuring a white car, sitting still in a parking lot, was doing nothing. We changed it up and changed response.

2. Know Your Data: Skip the transactional data and focus on behavioral data that is aligned with emotions. As mentioned earlier, we learned from neuromarketers that 90 percent of our thoughts and subsequent actions are driven by emotions, not conscious thought processes upon which our past transactions are based. Invest in programs that help you understand patterns, attitudes, emotional needs based upon behavior science, generational and cultural influences.

3. Share the Love: Remember, customers are people with strong emotional needs that go far beyond the products they purchase. And they are more than a name on a data field with a dollar value assigned to it. Create customer journeys that provide joy, relief and comfort along the way with your brand, and put in place return policies and customer service protocols that make them “Happy” when working with you vs. frustrated or anxious.

Most importantly, have fun creating opportunities for your customers and speaking with them on their terms, and from their own persona. When you have fun and create happiness on the job, it is simply contagious. And that’s a good thing to spread.