The Super Bowl has never been a competition that exists only on the field; participating advertisers are tasked with putting their brand—and budgets—on the line, risking an absolute PR disaster if something goes wrong. We live in an era where real-time reactions quickly go viral thanks to social media, specifically Twitter, where there is an enormous volume of opinions under the hashtags #adbowl, #brandbowl, and more.
We also live in an era where consumers dictate trends in the marketplace, which in turn spurs brands to constantly evolve to the next level; faster, better, and more accessible than their competition. The coveted Super Bowl spots function as a big reveal for these trends, along with the brands that are stepping up to meet consumers' demands. Here is a rundown of the trends to rule 2019 and our pick for MVP, a first-time indie advertiser at the brink of changing the way you workout.
MVP: Most Valuable Product Goes to…
This year's MVP (Most Valuable Product) is one that will completely revolutionize workouts: a mirror. Yes, a mirror, and it is part of the fitness-as-furniture trend we’re sitting on. The majority of consumers cite lack of space as the reason they don’t own at-home fitness equipment—not price. Enter the AI-powered Mirror that transforms into a virtual trainer at your command. It will save consumers a trip to the gym and won’t disrupt their interior design. This is AI at its finest, and a rising star.
Never Fear, Robots are Here! Actually, the Verdict is Still Out—but AI is Here to Stay
Mercedes Benz, Michelob Ultra, Turbo Tax, SimpliSafe, Amazon, Google, Mirror, and more. Countless brands also touched on the idea of robots and AI, in the form of fear (SimpliSafe) or “accessibility” with a large, hidden receipt attached (Mercedes Benz), but the ones that hit home really tugged at heart strings and made us laugh. It’s probably not surprising that Google and Amazon had two of the strongest spots, but interestingly, they each used their time to communicate a different message. Google showcased the power of AI machines using translation to bring everyone together—definitely a tear jerker. Amazon also had some of the audience crying tears of laughter for their self-deprecating ads that put the spotlight on Alexa fails, a very real thing. The most refreshing part of this spot was the fact that Amazon can make fun of themselves… while probably still convincing viewers to buy something. Either way, we say bring on the robots.
Increase the Inclusivity
This "trend" should be a no-brainer, but unfortunately, brands (and society) have only caught up with it in true-form within the last few years. Toyota used one if it’s coveted spots to showcase Antoinette “Toni” Harris, a young woman on her way to becoming one of the few female non-kickers on a college roster. She also wants to be the first female player in the NFL. We’re all about female empowerment, even if it’s one step at a time. It might be a shame that the idea of letting girls play is still a debate in 2019, but what isn’t shameful is a brand recognizing that women will not be silenced or shut out and encouraging her in the process, and airing that message during the biggest TV event of the year.
Gaming is a massive part of what the idea of "playing" means for kids today. Microsoft stepped up to the plate by introducing an adaptive controller for gamers with disabilities, putting everyone at the same starting line. Owen, the 9-year-old star of the spot, probably captured the hearts of every viewer who has even an ounce of humanity. And the tagline? “When everyone plays, we all win.” BRB, crying.
New Generations, New Concerns
Millions of Americans were probably confused by the WeatherTech ad that focused on safe ways to feed your pets. OK… new dog bowls? While the product may have been taken out of context for the ad, its backstory is legit; WeatherTech’s founder is convinced that toxic chemicals were to blame for the death of his dogs. That's why he introduced a new, safer way to feed your pets. Still not convinced? You’re probably not a millennial, who on average as a generation spent an upwards of $200 on their pets over the holidays. Loving animals is nothing new, but marketing to the generation that treats pets like kids, and is willing to fork over a pretty significant amount of their budget if you say the right words, is a new way to look at things.
What’s in My Beer? NOT Corn Syrup
It officially goes without saying now that Bud Light doesn’t use corn syrup. “We brew Coors Light with corn syrup” was one of the many lines that Bud Light used to showcase its new formula while directly attacking the brand’s competitors. Michelob Ultra also had a spot speaking to its organic ingredients that likely fell on deaf ears because the ad involved a lot of whispering, while Bud Light was quite literally screaming. The moral of the story here is that the better-for-you trend has officially entered the beer category. Bud Light takes the win for also highlighting that its beer is “brewed by wind power” in another ad. Sounds sustainable and on-trend with consumer demand. Touchdown.
What did you think about the ads? Share your thoughts in the comments!