By Patrick Comer, Founder and CEO, Lucid
While the nation battles COVID-19, and vaccination rollouts seemingly remain disjointed and chaotic, it is likely that more eyes than ever will be watching the Super Bowl from their homes this year.
In recent weeks, due to pandemic-related restrictions and lack of in-person experiential opportunities, many marketers pivoted their approach and prioritized Q1 campaign dollars. The Super Bowl is shaping up to be the first major event to test out these newly shifted strategies. So, how can marketers be sure to avoid a fumble?
It is clear that we are still dealing with the aftereffects of a tumultuous year and many marketers were skeptical about allocating funds to this year’s game. Research Technology (ResTech) – which enables market research, brand lift, and media measurement – can identify shifting sentiments and help marketers accurately capture how their target demographics are feeling at any given moment.
For instance, Budweiser, a major game day advertiser for nearly 37 years, seemingly tapped into consumer sentiment and shifted its budget to support a more purpose-driven effort; planning to focus on awareness and education, the brand will use its usual Big Game media spend to invest in COVID-19 vaccine efforts throughout the year.
However, there are brands that still see the value in creating an engaging experience for this year’s Big Game. For many Super Bowl viewers, the ads are something to look forward to and the best part of the game. In fact, according to recent survey data from Lucid, 52% of respondents mainly watch the Super Bowl for the commercials*.
As different brand activations continue to unfold, it’s clear that smart marketers are focusing on three key strategies to resonate and extend their reach. And here’s the good news: every marketer can use these strategies for their own next “big idea” campaigns in the months ahead.
Score by Keeping the Focus on the Consumer
Listening to the consumer is paramount. Lucid data shows that an overwhelming 69% of respondents expect this year’s Big Game commercials to include themes that focus on major issues that have been dominating the news*. This specifically includes commercials that depict examples of social distancing, wearing a mask, and advocating for social justice. The campaigns that resonate the most will be those that are in tune with the consumer; marketers must take the time to check the pulse of their target demographic.
ResTech can be used to understand what makes them tick, and what matters to them most. At a time when opinions seem unpredictable and are changing rapidly, the ability to know what people are thinking is invaluable. The Super Bowl is just the first of many big celebratory events that we usually hold as a nation. Consumers bond in the weeks leading up to it through fantasy drafts. Many come together to watch the Big Game at elaborate house parties, and some even hit the stadiums in-person to cheer on their favorite players.
In a year in which so much of those typicalities have shifted, not only can ResTech help to provide an accurate depiction of how Super Bowl viewers are feeling and what matters most to them during this year’s Big Game, but most importantly, it helps us understand why. And it has the scale to reach people from all different demographics and backgrounds to ensure the most accurate representation of shifting sentiments.
Agility is a Key Player
These days, agility is a necessity if you’re going to be a successful marketer. If we learned anything from 2020, it was to be ready to quickly pivot and adapt their strategies. Marketers establish a clear roadmap to success when they are able to remain on the pulse of their customers’ changing sentiments. This requires being able to move fast and change plans to deliver real-time experiences that resonate with viewers.
In fact, the same Lucid survey shows that 21% of Super Bowl viewers are likely to direct a friend or family member to watch their favorite Super Bowl commercial online or on social media*. Further, 19% of viewers are likely to look up their favorite Super Bowl commercial post-game, and watch it again*. The Big Game is more than just an important marketing moment; it’s a movement. It’s the very first step in what will, ideally, become a seamless customer journey. Therefore, marketers’ ability to stay agile and quickly adapt to changing consumer sentiments is a key factor in the success of a campaign – both during the Big Game and beyond.
Brands That Show Authenticity Are the Big Winners
Consumers are at the center of every marketing strategy – or at least they should be. Marketers must create authentic messaging that will clearly resonate with their targets. By tapping into customer sentiments, marketers can hone in on the interest of consumers and align their messaging so it will connect and engage. Content should be delivered in a manner that appeals to customers and meets them where they are.
For instance, Lucid finds that 66% of respondents consider humor to be the most appealing part of Super Bowl commercials. Brands that tap into such sentiments can plan to resonate well with their audiences. As an example, M&M’s released an early teaser in which viewers get a glimpse of a seemingly funny and lighthearted commercial featuring Schitt’s Creek’s beloved Dan Levy. The commercial is ripe with undertones of nostalgia and hopefulness, sure to resonate with viewers during such an uncertain time.
The Big Game has taught us that the most successful marketers in the months ahead will be those who prepare for and embrace change, create and deliver authentic messaging, and focus on the wants and needs of the consumer. The Super Bowl is just the beginning; make it count.
*Lucid surveyed a census-represented demographic audience of 300 U.S. respondents, sourced from Lucid Marketplace. Lucid Marketplace is the widest pool of survey respondents in the world and one that offers access to millions of audiences ready to provide their opinions.