Storytelling at the Superbowl

04 Feb 2013 3:24 PM | Deleted user

Storytelling at the Superbowl.
Entertainment is one thing, but what’s the moral of each brand story?

By Jeff Freedman, Founder and CEO, Small Army

Last night, we were entertained with stories from more than 30 brands trying to win the hearts and minds of game-watching consumers.    But, entertainment value alone doesn’t necessarily do that.  The most effective stories also convey a moral that enables the audience to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the brand.   Based on this criteria, here are the true winners and losers from the game.

The Winners:


Moral:  When things are built right, there’s no need to worry.

Although this ad has received some (IMO, unwarranted) criticism for being racist, this ad was not only entertaining, but also clearly conveyed a moral that caused the audience to make relevant assumptions about the brand – safe, reliable, well-built, etc.


Moral:  Stains are never wanted.

In this clever ad (also impeccably timed in the 4th quarter) Tide told an entertaining story that appealed to fans of both team.  They did not tell use how they got rid of stains or claim why they were better than their competitors.  Instead, they confidently expressed that no stain is sacred.  As a result, we will assume they do a great job of getting rid of them.


Moral:  Appreciate the things that are best in life. 

With one of the few ads that pulled at heart strings instead of funny bones, Jeep demonstrated that they appreciate the best things in life – in this case, the troops who are fighting for our country.  By associating themselves with the troops and honoring them in the ad, they elevated their message far above gas mileage and style.  And we all walked away with a slightly greater appreciation for the brand.

The Losers:


Moral:  If the truth is touch to tell, make something up.

While many found this ad entertaining, it would be surprising to see people running to Kia dealers to buy their next car.  Who wants to buy a car from a company that believes you should avoid the truth.  Seems a bit fishy to me.


Moral:  We can all reduce waste

SodaStream had the opportunity to stand for something big, and get people excited about making their own carbonated drinks at home.  While the landfill/less plastic moral may be noble, it seems off the mark and not broad enough to make a real market impact (especially among the broad Superbowl audience.)

Go Daddy

Moral:  It’s fun to kiss a nerd?

Go Daddy clearly goes for shock value.  While SuperBowl fans are all aware of Go Daddy by this point, how comfortable are they with having Go Daddy manage their domain name for them?  Fortunately for Go Daddy, the competitors are relatively unknown, so consumers are often left without a choice – so, perhaps they got their value.  But, imagine if they actually told a story that made them look good?

Although many of this year’s stories were entertaining, it’s the moral of the story that will determine their ultimate effectiveness. That’s the moral to this story.


© The Ad Club 2014
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