February 08, 2016

Addison Whitney Brand Fanatics Recap and Analyze Brand Impacts from Super Bowl Ads

The Super Bowl. Not only the biggest football game of the year, it’s also the biggest game in the advertising world. Many millions of dollars are spent on the annual event, which puts even more pressure on the created ads to push the needle for their brands.

And with a night full of high-profile brand decisions, we knew that time needed to be spent analyzing the commercials and the brands behind them – so on the Monday following the big game, our Addison Whitney brand fanatics gathered to do just that.

Right off the bat, our brand fanatics examined what their pre-conceived notions are for the various brands – what do we feel about the brand prior to seeing the commercials? This brand conception exercise served as the foundation for discussions post-commercial, where we identified four areas of each brand’s perception – target audience, emotional benefits, functional benefits, brand elements and tone.IMG_9908

Once the commercials for the highlighted brands were watched one more time, the discussion switched to how they lined up with the aforementioned brand perspectives. Did they align with how our audience previously saw the brand? Or did they feature a departure, whether intentional or unintentional, that signals a change of how we see and think of the brand?

One of the themes that came out of this year’s Super Bowl advertising was the trend of brands to focus on specific sub-brand within their portfolio instead of the overarching brand story. The Honda commercials for the Ridgeline trucks were cited as a perfect of this, where the Ridgeline brand characteristics were highlighted, overriding previous Honda perceptions.

Those brands who stayed more on-target with their overall brand connotation seemed to show a strong sense of brand awareness and a strategy that has stood the test of time. Bud Light’s brand image has largely gone unchanged in past years, and their advertisements this time around looked to continue and strengthen these perceptions.

IMG_9906They are the brands with a certain comfort level to what their brand perception is, and are using the Super Bowl platform to continue this brand instead of trying to break new ground with their strategy. Especially when their target audience is very well-defined and fits within what their brand represents, these organizations are more likely to use their ads to reinforce their traditional messaging for their audience.

Self-awareness is another desired characteristic when it comes to advertisement strategy and Super Bowl messaging – brands who are comfortable with where they stand in the market. With many advertisements focusing on brands taking a “new direction” with their strategy, those brands who stuck with who they are stood out among the crowd.

These brands were banking on their already established brand equity to carry some of the load in messaging, using their ad time to push a specific narrative that is buoyed by their brand equity that is assumed to be present.

Overall, it was another successful AW Super Bowl Ad recap – now we want to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment or reply to us on our social channels and let us know what your favorite ad was, and how you think the brands involved impacted their branding efforts!

Addison Whitney is a global branding firm with a passion for building strong brands.
To learn more about Addison Whitney, visit our website at AddisonWhitney.com, or contact us here.

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