Given that I’m a Panthers fan, the big game this year was a big bust. But regardless of the outcome of the game, there’s one thing at Super Bowl time that never disappoints: the commercials. Brands roll out their very best creative and go head to head during the priciest ad placement slot there is. All for a shot at being relived around the water cooler on Monday.
In my mind, in order for a TV spot to be successful it has to meet some key criteria. For one, it has to capture your attention. It also has to impart information that makes you want to buy the product or service being advertised. Most importantly, it has to be memorable. The latter is a tall order during the Super Bowl, when trash talk is flying, alcohol may be affecting recall, and there are plenty of dis-snack-tions competing with the TV.
My favorite memorable ad from Super Bowl 50 was T-Mobile’s “Drop The Balls” 30-second spot featuring Steve Harvey. I liked it because it used a celebrity doing something you don’t see enough of – poking fun at himself. The ad, which played off of Harvey’s recent faux pas at the Miss Universe Pageant, took direct aim at Verizon by pointing out the competitor had advertised incorrectly about T-Mobile’s lack of coverage. Harvey shows the ‘correct’ coverage information – right there on his card – and proclaims “Verizon got it wrong – Yes! Not me!”
T-Mobile’s ad was effective for another reason – it was simple and to the point. When you only have a few precious seconds to make an impression with a viewer, you better be quick and you better be clear. Choosing one message to get across – in this case, expanded cell coverage – is vital. It is often a challenge for advertisers to convince clients that focusing on a singular message is far more effective than trying to get across all the great things about their brand. No doubt there are plenty of great attributes, but relaying them all risks leaving the consumer remembering none. And, as in the case with T-Mobile’s Super Bowl ad, making a memorable point is what it’s all about.