Marketing Agency

What’s it like creating a Super Bowl ad?

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In 2000, a now defunct IT company called Electronic Data Systems bought an ad for the Super Bowl. The spot, imagined by the creative agency Fallon, imagined what the life of a cat-patron could look like.

Bill Clinton, who was president at the time, called the site (which was a former rival company in the presidential campaign) as his favorite ad for the game that year. “This was before celebrities, or even presidents, would comment on things like that,” Greg Hahn, co-founder and chief creative officer at Mischief USA, told Marketing Brew.

This was Hahn’s first Super Bowl ad, so seeing the president comment on something he was working on was “surreal.” But also a stark reminder that tens of millions of else It’s possible that people who saw it had an opinion, too.

“We get that a lot with advertising, but usually it’s just the people in charge of the ads that count. Now he’s your third grade teacher,” said Han, who also worked on Super Bowl ads for brands like Snickers and Mountain Dew.

Of course, that’s what makes the Super Bowl unique – historically, football’s biggest game has also become known as the only time of year where Wants To view ads. Or at least, they’re not so quick to set themselves up. And every year, brands are spending more and more money (and hiring more and more celebrities) in hopes of making a hit that day.

For these reasons, working on a Super Bowl campaign can be a very unique experience for creators compared to the work they normally do.

“Expectations are very different. Stephen Kubis, creative director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, who worked at the location of the Cheetos Super Bowl last year, told us everything turns 11 every step of the way.

eye on the ball

For some, the stress starts even before it even starts working.

“It’s a great opportunity for a client to likely see something on the bigger stage, and so they’ll look at the options of agencies and teams to see what their favorite is,” explained Gut senior writer Sophia Russell, who worked on the Super Bowl. Advertisements for “Kraft Heinz” and “Budweiser”. “You really hope you’ll be the one being chosen.”

Hahn said talks typically begin in late summer, giving clients and agencies enough time to plan and execute once the ball has rolled. But he said that could be a double-edged sword. “Don’t waste the lead at first, because it’s a long battle. So you have to have a lot of ideas and be prepared for a long match.”

Or, as Russell puts it, “creative endurance” is critical. “I cannot stress this enough. You need creative stamina to do the Super Bowl campaign, because you will face obstacles along the way.” “You have to be able to pivot when they say, ‘We need more products,’ or ‘We can’t say this. “

It doesn’t help that Super Bowl ads don’t really stand alone anymore. Commercials are often ‘stirred up’ in the weeks leading up to a game, and agencies must now craft elaborate social or ‘second screen’ strategies to boost prestige within the game. They can all be a little stressful.

Matthew Woodhams Roberts, chief creative officer of Special Group US, the agency that worked to advertise the Uber Eats Super Bowl last year, described it as putting together pieces of a giant puzzle.

“It’s a very intense and overwhelming experience to try to put together a year’s worth of content into one event,” he said.

Kobes agreed. “Today, there are a lot of pieces surrounding the site itself. The narrative and narrative of the integrated campaign has become very sophisticated. And you need to make more progress than ever before to get noticed.”

🎶 I always feel like someone is watching me

Because the stakes are so high — $6.5 million for just 30 seconds of broadcasting is no joke — “there are a lot of people in the Super Bowl who might not be in your daily campaigns you’re working on,” Russell said.

This can often mean more endorsements, more opinions, more layers, and more second guesses.

“Sending callbacks is checked more thoroughly than usual. Seeing the first cut makes us feel pins and needles. The mix has probably been revisited 10 times. It is inevitable to ask ourselves if we’ve gone past every bit of humor,” Kubis explained.

Woodhams-Roberts said there are more hoops to jump through, which makes the process “more painful” compared to your regular campaigns. But it (hopefully) pays off.

“It’s one of those things that you know it’s going to hurt, but then you also know that it’s very rewarding. And the creativity that you get out of it is usually big and fun,” he said.

Once the game is said and done, companies have different ways to measure the success of their advertising. Sales is the obvious end goal, but marketers can also look at things like brand metrics, consumer surveys, and the USA Today Ad Meter.

Of course, the creators usually want to know if people, you know, liked the commercial they worked on. Han cautioned that trying to figure this out isn’t always the best idea. “You have to have thick skin to do the Super Bowl because everyone is going to be a critic the next morning,” Han said. “I would recommend to anyone doing the Super Bowl: DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS.”

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