By: Lucy Spratlin
If you’re like us, you really missed the watercooler conversation about the Super Bowl ads this year. We enjoyed taking ours virtual. One thing we agreed on was that we’d been eagerly anticipating how the ads might reflect a super-charged year for cause and social responsibility. Would advertisers go for it? Would they avoid it? Would they stumble or breakthrough? We were surprised at what we saw and invigorated by our different perspectives.
Take a look at what we discussed at the virtual watercooler and use it as a starting point for your own virtual get-together.
Did any of the ads stand out to you with clear, authentic, mission-aligned cause partnership?
The DoorDash ad introduced a cause partnership with Sesame Workshop, where DoorDash will donate one dollar for every order February 7 and 8, up to a $1 million donation. The shared values of the two organizations were presented as diversity, equity and inclusion. Does this common ground feel well-aligned to you?
Did any of the ads employ engagement techniques that inspired you?
Cointreau used its airtime to send a “love letter” to restaurants and encouraged viewers to do the same through their Website or social media. Search for #saverestaurants on your social media accounts to see what kind of engagement they got.
What ads conveyed a clear call to action?
The Chipotle ad was a standout for us because it got so much right. Who wouldn’t want to help that little future farmer change the world? But…did you get he was a Future Farmer…or that Chipotle was making a $1 donation to the National Young Farmers Coalition for every order on February 7? We would have liked the ad to make more of a cause connection.
Were you surprised by any of the advertisers you didn’t see this year?
Planters and Budweiser both sat it out but re-allocated their ad budgets to other channels.
Planters is activating a year-long social media cause marketing campaign that will recognize ordinary people who offer significant acts of charity to others. This “substance” is intended to align with Planters’ brand positioning of snacks with substance.
Budweiser is donating its big game ad dollars to the Ad Council and COVID Collaboration, partnering with them to raise awareness of COVID vaccination.
Do you think those who passed on the game were more prudent?
It was definitely a tough year to strike the right tone. We have to applaud the effort, even while noting some possible missed opportunities from a cause perspective. Did any of the ads strike you as less than effective? We can all look for learnings to add to our calibration of future cause marketing campaigns.
We hope your team enjoys the post-game discussion and brainstorming as much as ours did. We welcome your insights in the comments.
If you’d like to bounce around ideas with us, too, we’re always here as a resource.