February 15, 2020

The power of storytelling: Lessons from the year’s best Super Bowl ads

Ahhh….Super Bowl. The hype. The food. The celebrations. The COMMERCIALS. It’s an Oscar-worthy moment for big brands and the creative geniuses leading the charge. For those of us who work in the advertising industry, the Super Bowl is an epic opportunity to inspire and be inspired by brands who are putting their best foot forward for the world to see.  In honor of this year’s big game, several members of the Curiosity team weighed in on some of our favorite moments. 

Which of the Super Bowl commercials was your favorite and why? 

“The Google ad for so many reasons. Technology is often portrayed as a villain when it comes to human connection and real-world interaction. This spot completely turned that myth on its head.” - Ashley Neel, Vice-President of Activation

“Amazon Alexa. The spot includes all the elements you want in a Super Bowl commercial: great storytelling, cultural relevance, and splash. It also included what you don’t often see in Super Bowl spots, and that is a product benefit message.” - Trey Harness, President and Chief Client Officer 

“Snickers. The Snickers spot is big, bold, with a huge cast, and a great concept. A candy bar like Snickers can save the world? Now that is bold.” - Greg Livingston, Chief Executive Officer

“Like several of us, I liked the Snickers spot for multiple reasons. It had a uniquely-written, funny song. It was pure entertainment. This is what a Super Bowl commercial should be: entertaining!” - Katie Gerdes, Creative Director 

What makes a great Super Bowl ad, in your opinion? 

“Super Bowl ads must appeal to a lot of people. Your target audience is everything, meaning it has to appeal to the lowest common dominating factor in us all, whether the tone is funny or sad.” - Ashley Neel, Vice-President of Activation 

“A truly memorable Super Bowl commercial includes great storytelling, cultural relevance, and splash. Which is why I love the Amazon Alexa commercial this year. The splash can be a celebrity, a highly anticipated product, or something truly shocking and unexpected.”  - Trey Harness, President and Chief Client Officer

“A Super Bowl ad needs to make me feel something really strong about the brand and do it in a way nobody before has accomplished. Being highly original and memorable go hand-in-hand for achieving greatness.”  - Jeff Warman, Chief Creative Officer

How has the way we watch Super Bowl commercials changed over the years and how does it impact brand strategy and budgets? 

“The way we consume media has changed….from the third screen to connected television to linear options. But what I believe has changed is consumer cynicism when it comes to Super Bowl spots. We want to hate them, talk about how outrageous and overpriced they are in some cases. As a viewing society, we are a much tougher crowd to please than we were 15 years ago.” - Ashley Neel, Vice-President of Activation

“Super Bowl ads today are more about being a part of the big show, and less about driving a business objective. It’s an opportunity to make a significant, bold, and memorable statement, and less about driving a big business result.” - Trey Harness, President and Chief Client Officer

As offices buzz about their favorite players or the late-night celebrations, Super Bowl commercials will likely remain a major piece of the water cooler conversation. The method by which viewers consume ads may include multiple real-time sources, but the traditional broadcast Super Bowl spot is not dead. The way we think about commercials has a higher value and risk factor than ever. These commercials are a single element of a larger story and experience. They are one piece of the media machine leading us to eat a Snickers, connect with Google, drink a Budweiser, or drive a Genesis.  

Until next year! 

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