What brands can learn from Super Bowl ads

The Super Bowl is one of the most watched events of the year in the United States but it is also airs globally, and as such, many brands use the platform to highlight their products to the enormous audience. Marketers/advertisers note that as a result, the commercials aired during the Super Bowl often reflect the latest consumer trends and marketing strategies. And although only those brands with ‘mega’ advertising budgets can afford to air even just one commercial during the game let alone multiple spots (ads for the 2023 game cost an average of USD $6.5 million per 30-second spot), Anderson Partners, a food ingredient marketing company, analyzed commercials during this year’s Super Bowl and outlined advice all brands – coffee and tea included – can use in their overall marketing efforts.

The top trend seems to be ‘marketing to millennials with nostalgia’. Anderson Partners noted that adults ages 44 and under are driving the year-over-year increase in expected viewership for the Super Bowl. “This means that the millennial generation is increasingly becoming the target audience for its commercials. For a good reason, many brands are picking up on this generational shift and targeting their advertising to this key demographic.”

T&CTJ extensively covers demographic patterns and trends as well as consumer behaviour (as they relate to coffee and tea consumption and buying habits). As we have seen, millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – strongly relate to nostalgia. Anderson Partners says that growing up in a time of rapid technological advancements and cultural changes has affected their desire for the simpler times of their childhood. This nostalgia significantly impacts how millennials consume media and engage with brands, including during events like the Super Bowl, notes the company.

Nostalgia plays a crucial role in how brands try to connect with millennial audiences — not just during the Super Bowl, overall. By tapping into the shared cultural memories of millennials, Anderson explains that brands can create commercials that resonate with viewers on an emotional level, making their messages more impactful and memorable.

Another advertising/branding trend Anderson noted is authenticity. Of course, this is nothing new to coffee and brands, these consumers have long been interested in the authenticity of a brand. Companies, therefore, can use commercials and other advertising to communicate sincere messages that will connect with their audience. Anderson says that to create authenticity in advertising, it’s important for brands to consider the following elements:

  • Representation: reflecting your audience in images and videos.
  • Language: messaging that clearly reflects your brand and connects to your audience.
  • Human connection: show genuine emotion and avoid over-scripted situations.

The ‘top rated’ Super Bowl ad (by viewers and marketers) was the spot for The Farmer’s Dog, which hit authenticity and tugged at dog lover’s heartstrings. No celebrity was needed to convey that a dog is an integral part of a person’s life and is there during many of life’s milestones.

Dunkin’s brand messaging has been highlighted again (I referenced its branding just a few weeks ago in another blog, The gap between consumer expectations and brand delivery widens – Tea & Coffee Trade Journal (teaandcoffee.net) as Anderson touted its first Super Bowl ad as also touching on authenticity. “They utilized Ben Affleck’s well-known link to the brand to capture authentic experiences with customers and deliver a memorable commercial.” Affleck was promoting one of Dunkin’s newest offers, the Dunkin’ Run, where guests can purchase a USD $1 classic donut with any medium or larger coffee. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt that his wife, global superstar Jennifer Lopez, also pops up in the spot…)

While the Super Bowl commercials target consumers, Anderson shares that there are several takeaways that food ingredient brands can use in their marketing strategies:

  • Understand your target audience: know who your ideal buyer is and what they respond to.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new: there’s a shift in the buyer demographic. What may have worked in the past might no longer land the same anymore.
  • Be authentic: set yourself apart from the competition. Ensure that your marketing aligns with your company’s mission, vision and values.
  • Be strategic: understand how all the pieces of a campaign support each other.

For brands, knowing your audience is essential to the success of your marketing. Hence, whether advertising in the Super Bowl, the World Cup, the Grand Slams, the Oscars, BAFTAs, TV, print or online, borrowing Anderson Partners’ advice, the most effective brands know their target audience and how to communicate their message in a way that will resonate with consumers.

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