What makes the Super Bowl so Super for marketers?

Jan 17, 2019 • Aaron Goldman

I just started reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (yes, I know I’m late to the party) and it’s a fascinating take on what makes humans the most dominant species.

In a nutshell, it comes down to our ability to believe in and (re)tell fiction. From religion to politics to business, the underlying foundations are stories that critical masses of people agreed upon and used as premises for cooperation.

Against this backdrop, the power of marketing – and, in particular, Super Bowl advertising – becomes evident. Brands tell tales to establish norms that audiences agree upon and cooperate by buying products and telling others.

For example, at T-Mobile we believe everyone comes into the world with unlimited potential. Are you with us? If so, buy our phones. And tell your friends. Did we mention the unlimited plans?

Or, at E-Trade we believe that everyone should be able to retire. If you’re still working at age 85, don’t get mad. Get E-Trade.

It’s a very effective formula for marketing to sapiens. And the results are evident in the Super Bowl, which provides the biggest audience for brand storytelling and activation of the water cooler effect.

Of course, today the water cooler is social media and the impact is clear from looking at the TV Social Lift of Super Bowl LII advertisers. This is the only event of the year that draws 5-digit percentage increases in social engagement following the airing of TV ads.

As you can see, T-Mobile topped the pack last year with a 46,000% lift. That’s a lot of people with them! And E-Trade was next with 23,025%. Can’t be mad about that!

TV social lift during the Super Bowl LII

For more insights from last year’s Super Bowl and a look at what to expect this year, be sure to check out our Super Bowl LII Pre-Game Impact Report.

Now it’s time to spin a yard with the rest of 4C’s Insights.

Get the rest of 4C’s Insights Volume 142 here.