As we count down to Super Bowl 50, an early look at the most hotly anticipated commercials of the year shows Colgate is winning on impact and novelty while many other brands choose to play it safe.
Colgate’s “Save Water” campaign is the best performer so far on emotional impact among pre-released commercials, according to new analysis from global research consultancy TNS using consumer surveys, brand tracking and social listening.
The 30-second ad, which encourages people to turn off the tap when brushing their teeth, scored most highly on short-term impact, generating almost 75,000 YouTube views. A model of simplicity, the ad is sparking conversations which transcend the brand, category and campaign while also embedding Colgate into people’s everyday habits.
- 75,000 YouTube views for Colgate's "Save Water" ad
However, similar to Budweiser’s 2015 “Lost Puppy” commercial, many of the ones released so far this year are still lacking long-term relevance. The #MeetTheKetchups ad from Heinz, featuring a stampede of sausage dogs jumping into the arms of Heinz Ketchup bottles, has gone viral on social media with almost 3 million YouTube views in the last few days. As people plan to gather for the Super Bowl, this memorable piece is likely to drive people to buy their favorite Heinz product or try a new flavor.
While the ad looks as though it might win the “viral” Super Bowl, it is unlikely to create the genuine engagement from consumers which contributes to long-term brand-building success. This is due to a lack of long-term relevance to the brand in terms of taste, nutrition and quality.
Budweiser’s #ActLikeIt teaser has chosen a completely different strategy from its 2015 “Lost Puppy” campaign, replacing the puppies and tears with a much more conventional ad encouraging men to buy beer.
So far, the campaign has created only a fraction of the hype compared to last year (the #BestBuds puppy even had his own Twitter account) and is unlikely to drive up sales in the long term. Online conversations have also been limited with fewer than 2,000 tweets since the teaser ad was released last week, compared to 19,360 in the week leading up to the 2015 Super Bowl.
By contrast, the latest #GiveADamn ad, with Helen Mirren condemning drunk drivers, marks a highly novel approach for Budweiser and has attracted over 2 million YouTube views in no time at all.
Heinz and Colgate have created a splash this year with highly original content and we’re also seeing some strong cause-related campaigns. In all of these cases, we’re seeing brilliant engagement on social media but low scores when it comes to relevance and long-term impact.
If we reflect on some of the most successful moments in the Super Bowl’s 50-year history, the likes of Macintosh: "1984" have been most successful precisely because they resonate with consumers in a meaningful way while also showing a clear link to the brand’s values.
We also will be fascinated to see whether any brands take the risk with reactive campaigns on Super Bowl night. Oreo was the clear winner in 2013 when, following an unplanned power cut in New Orleans, it shared an ad reminding people “you can still dunk in the dark”. The ad was shared over 10,000 times within the hour. When advertisers are spending up to $5 million to run an ad during the Super Bowl, the ability to run a smart, quick and responsive ad on social media is undoubtedly the best way to cut through the noise.