The Super Bowl has always been a main event for advertisers and consumers. Sometimes there’s a love match, sometimes there’s not. This year we surveyed a group of consumers to understand what people really thought of the ads.
While some recognize that other things happen during this time (apparently a sport is involved), the majority of us are in it for the party, halftime show, and commercials. A whopping 63 percent to be exact, compared to only 37 percent of people who say the best part is the game.1 And with 114 million Americans tuning in for the event, that means most are participating for reasons outside of rooting for their “favorite” team.
What does this all mean? For advertisers it means eyeballs – tons and tons of eyeballs. And not just any eyeballs, eyeballs that are interested in seeing what brands are going to do for those four hours.
We were interested in what 18-34 year olds specifically had to say. That’s right, millennials. The group that is shifting how marketers speak to consumers, flipping the job market on its head, and who seem to be a mystery to those who didn’t grow up surrounded by evolving and complex technology. And what we heard, while not completely surprising, did raise some interesting questions about Super Bowl marketing and millennials.
Generally most people expected to see the usual big players the night of the Big Game. Budweiser, Doritos, Coke and auto brands were expected to have a big presence. Our respondents were even excited to see Budweiser, Doritos, and Snickers bring their best creative to the stage, and a lot of people even watched the ads ahead of time.
The most liked ads were Snickers (31 percent) and Budweiser’s “Lost Puppy” (41 percent), and the least liked was the really depressing dead kid Nationwide commercial (37 percent) (what the heck, Nationwide?!).2
But here’s really what’s interesting. Of the people who said Budweiser was their favorite TV spot of the night, the majority (70 percent)2 said they wouldn’t buy the product.
“The ads were great this year, but I will never buy Budweiser.”
– Survey Respondent
So they like the TV commercial but they wouldn’t touch the product with a 10-foot pole? It’s obvious that brands need to find a new way to create an ad that will truly drive sales.
What is a marketer to do? And is it worth it? Like 4.5 million dollars worth it? Or are cute puppies just another easy tactic brands are using to get people talking about them?
While #bestbuds from the “Lost Puppy” spot may have been the second most used branded hashtag on Facebook of the evening, and while most people will say they love a cute puppy, I would argue, that no, it is not 4.5 million dollars worth.
The problem, while puppies are the coolest, is that they aren’t the ones selling beer at the grocery store, music venue, or bar. Puppies actually have zero to do with who Budweiser is as a brand and what product they’re selling. That really cute puppy didn’t provide one reason why I should choose Budweiser over the 1000s of other beer brands screaming for my attention. And let’s not forget – No puppy has ever written a blog post on how great your beer is (I cannot confirm this, so apologies to any puppy beer bloggers out there).
So Budweiser puppy, while you are adorable and I am so happy that you found your way home, please stay there. Live happily ever after with your Clydesdale buddies in that barn. And please, do not try to sell me beer.
And Budweiser, millennials are on to you and your cute puppy. Instead of throwing a multi-million dollar puppy at the situation, consider rethinking your strategy and figuring out why milliennials would want to spend their hard earned money on your brand.