Super Bowl on Social

If you’re anything like me, you’ll know of the Super Bowl, but never actually knew what it was for specifically. I may or may not have had to google what sport it was related to yesterday morning…

Regardless, I’ve never watched the sporting event for the Super Bowl. But I HAVE watched the half-time show, and love the ads that come out of it every year!

Surreal – known for their tongue in cheek, funny campaigns – posted the below ad to their socials, playing on the lack of true awareness we have for the Super Bowl in the UK. Glad it’s not just me that had no clue.

Aside from the sport (who knew?), typically, the Super Bowl is where brands (mainly US) pull out all the stops, squeeze the last drops of creativity, and exhaust a heavy portion of their marketing budget on Hollywood celebrity appearances, and crazy campaigns.

Yes, marketing as a brand is often about selling products or services – especially in the land of capitalism. But many brands use the Super Bowl as a way to target specific audiences, improve/change their brand perceptions/audience sentiment, and make their brand personality shine through.

Funniest Ad of Super Bowl 2024 (IMO)

Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts created a cross-generational ad-campaign starring Ben Affleck, following his journey to becoming a pop-star, as lead-member of the ‘The DunKings 👑’. In my opinion, this campaign was about reinforcing Dunkin’s brand personality, and appealing to a wide audience with the all-star cast spanning multiple generations of Dunkin’ consumers.

On the Friday of Super Bowl weekend, Dunkin’ seeded the first part of their campaign on social to start setting the scene. In addition to Ben Affleck, Dunkin’ roped in gen-z favourite, Jack Harlow to try and make Ben see sense, and to discourage him from making the bad decision to embark on the journey to ‘finding his voice’.

The campaign then takes us to Ben’s choreography class with TikTok sensation and Dancing With The Stars celeb, Charli D-Amelio.

Why does this scene work? Because Ben plays the typical, cringe-dad with his dance moves, and Charli’s appearance makes sense with her dancing background, whilst she looks on with second-hand embarrassment.

Then on Super Bowl Sunday, they premiered the full campaign video during the half-time show ad-break. Considering the divide between American and British humour sometimes, I thought this ad was pretty funny. From Jennifer Lopez’s facial expressions (we’ve all been there), to Fat Joe’s cameo in the studio, Tom Brady’s little role on the keyboard, and Matt Damon’s dry one-liners in the background!

In my opinion, this ad was perfect because it appealed to so many different aged audiences. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are not only popular with those born in the 80’s and grew up in the 90’s and 2000’s, but also Gen-z, who have kept up with the couple’s rekindled romance over the last couple of years. Fat Joe hits the nail on the head for the audience who might not be as invested in pop-culture right now, but like old-school hip-hop and will appreciate his cameo. Tom Brady for those who are sports-heads through and through. Matt Damon appeals to everyone, but especially Millennials, Gen-x and Boomers, and even more so with his witty and grumpy lines. Then for Gen-z, we have both Charli D-Amelio and Jack Harlow.

Most Creative Ad (IMO)

Also a special mention to CeraVe who teamed up with Michael Cera on their latest (and only ad-campaign I’ve seen of theirs). But this campaign has been so cleverly executed on social, and the build-up has been going on for over a month now – some things I saw online, I didn’t even realise were part of the ad!

As a brand, CeraVe feel quite clinical, but this campaign has helped steer them into the ‘funny’ category, appealing to audiences like myself, and giving them an actual personality rather than just a faceless brand.

Back in January 2024, Michael Cera was ‘spotted’ with two clear bags full of CeraVe in Brooklyn. I genuinely thought, like most people, “Wow, he must really love CeraVe to stockpile it like that”. But nope, it was the first seed of the campaign.

Then a week or so later, a TikTok influencer posted a video about how she went to pharmacy and spotted Michael Cera signing bottles of CeraVe.

There was a little debate on the internet about whether Michael Cera was infact, a co-founder of the brand. Then TikTok influencers began receiving PR packs for Michael CeraVe, with merch and product. And we all finally caught on to the campaign.

It was all an elaborate prank. Perfectly executed across social and multiple marketing channels. Including the TV-ad during the Super Bowl, which features Michael massaging himself (creeeepy) and him communicating with a Narwal!

Why did I like these ads so much?

As someone who works in marketing, you’ll know how important it is for the channels in your marketing mix to align and work together to tell your brand’s story, which is exactly what both of these brands did.

The creativity of these campaigns, from the story-telling build-up on social, to the almost seamless cross-over to TV-ad, all-star Hollywood casts and hilarious story-lines were what made these so great for me, and definitely ones I’ll remember for a while. I also love doughnuts and (Michael) CeraVe, so maybe I’m bias.

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