Let’s face it, the Super Bowl is bigger than just football. Over the last 40 years it has become synonymous with chicken wings, half time shows, and most importantly - the commercials. It’s an advertiser’s dream to have that many eyeballs watching your brand at one time. That being said, not all brands seem to rise to the occasion. With only 30-60 seconds to make a mark, companies feel as though they have to make the biggest impact to get their money’s worth. Although most of them tend to try and use either humour or shock, this doesn’t always leave a positive impact. I want to spend a couple minutes right now and look back at some companies that created a great commercial and left a lasting impression because they stayed true to who their brand was.
When you think of E-trade, you think about how simple it is to buy, invest, and trade. Back in the early 00’s, E-trade itself knew their platform was straightforward, but they had to make sure the public did as well. Their campaign to show people the simplicity of their platform through a talking baby was either going to be dumb or genius. Fortunately, it was a huge success and became a focal point in their advertising for years. The day their ad dropped saw the largest spike in sign ups in the company history to date. The simplicity of the ad reflected the simplicity of the product. Talk about staying on brand.
Amazon is arguably the biggest company in the world right now. What started as an online bookstore went on to be the gold standard in online commerce in every other industry as well. Amazon offers services that have become so engrained with our culture that they’ve become the expectation for all other companies to keep up with. Obviously, one of the hottest industries going right now is smart home voice technology and Amazon’s Alexa is leading the charge. Their Super Bowl commercial in 2018 was a perfect way of showing us what a world without Alexa would be like. While our favourite celebrities added the laughs, where Amazon really succeeded was in driving home the point that Alexa is an integral part of our everyday life.
When Budweiser was birthed almost 150 years ago, it had a simple slogan “The King of Beers.” Fast forward to the 90’s and Budweiser is one of the most popular beers in North America. The beer for the everyman. No one would have associated Budweiser as a beer for royalty. The brand didn’t take itself that seriously either. They understood that their identity was rooted in being accessible, affordable, and enjoyed with others. That’s why their 90’s “Wussup” commercial was such a massive success. It showed who they were while also creating one of the most popular catch phrases of the next decade.
This may not be a very popular choice compared to other lists but it resonated a lot with us. This is what we’re talking about when we say a company stays on brand in their advertising. Google knows who it is and, at its core, what it does. Google uses their most well known service - their iconic search engine - to connect with the universal human search for love. There’s no need to use humour or gimmicks to entertain; they simply stay true to who they are and show the power of their product and their keen understanding of their users to tell a great story.
Bridgestone’s reputation has always been excellent. Everything from their products to their corporate notoriety sets a great example. Their motto is “Serving society with superior quality;” and in this commercial we’re getting just that: a quality tire that can handle any situation, and a driver with the confidence in a great product. They also get bonus points for having screaming animals.
There is no recipe to building a winning advertisement, which is why all of the above commercials feel quite different. The common thread among them is that they reinforce the brand’s core mission and values. A good piece of marketing starts from a clear understanding of your brand identity.