What Would You Do With a Super Bowl Ad?

Jan 29, 2019

The Super Bowl is the ultimate stage for advertising. This year, brands will pay as much as $5.3 million for a 30-second spot. And that’s just for the airtime — that doesn’t include developing the ad or paying Kevin Hart.

It’s a far cry from the $37,500 it cost for an ad during Super Bowl I. But for a lot of brands, the investment pays off.

The NFL championship-turned advertising showcase is typically dominated by consumer brands. Pepsi, M&Ms, avocados and SimpliSafe are all poised to make a splash this year, and brands are creating elaborate lead-up campaigns to maximize buzz.

B2B brands and the Super Bowl

B2B Super Bowl marketing typically doesn’t focus on the ads.

For a vast majority of B2B brands, that’s the right call. But for their marketing teams and leaders, it raises a compelling what-if:

What if you had a Super Bowl commercial?

How would you spend a Super Bowl minute?

If you had one minute in front of millions of potential customers and prospects, how would you spend it? What would you say about your offering? What would you focus on?

Would you define your brand purpose? Or talk about your people and culture? Would you double down on your history and experience? Or offer a vision for the future? How would you talk about your competitors?
In reality, this isn’t a hypothetical question. All brands have Super Bowl moments — an opportunity to tell your story, set yourself apart, and make your audience feel something. Consumer brands spend years (and millions of dollars) honing their message for their big moment.

For brands like Budweiser, that moment is the Super Bowl. But for, say, portable restroom operators and suppliers, it’s the Portable Sanitation Association International Trade Show this March in Mobile, Alabama.

In other cases, that Super Bowl minute is nowhere near 60 seconds. Most people spend less than 15 seconds on a website before they move on. Most sales presentations come down to the first 30 seconds of the meeting.

If you spend those minutes (or seconds) talking about features and benefits, you’re already coming up short. Doritos isn’t using its Super Bowl minute to list flavors and ingredients or share testimonials from satisfied customers. It’s delighting its audience. It’s telling a story. B2B brands have the same duty.

Long story short: Every brand gets its Super Bowl minute. It takes a lot of practice and strategy to make sure you have a story that says something worthy of the moment when you get your shot.

This article also appeared in our weekly newsletter, Long Story Short. It was written by Alex Irwin.

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