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Super Bowl 2019 / The insights behind the ads

Key consumer trends and insights behind 8 of the 2019 Super Bowl campaigns.

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Super Bowl 2019 / The insights behind the ads

  1. 1. SUPER BOWL 2019 / The insights behind the ads
  2. 2. The insights behind the ads The Super Bowl’s big-budget ad showcase often gets more coverage than the game itself. And with millions of dollars spent on the top spots, it’s easy to see why they spur such interest. But what can we learn from America’s biggest campaigns? At Canvas8, we always want to know why. Why does self-reflexive humor boost brand perception? Why is spotlighting underrepresented voices the key to authenticity? And why are robots sub-par drinking partners? Canvas8 unpicks the behavioral themes present in nine notable campaigns from 2019 Super Bowl.
  3. 3. SELF-CONSCIOUS COMEDY / People like brands that can laugh at their own quirks
  4. 4. Pepsi has long been sparring with Coke in its campaigns and its spot for the 2019 Super Bowl confronted the rivalry head-on, highlighting the fact that most people will often order Coke at a restaurant. When a diner asks for a Coke and the waiter responds with ‘Is Pepsi OK?’, an indignant Steve Carell interjects with “Is Pepsi ok?! Are puppies OK? Is a shooting star OK?,” listing all life’s greatest warm and fuzzies to show why diners should own their decision to order the drink. Featuring cameos from Cardi B and Lil Jon, it’s far from positioning itself as the underdog, instead solidifying its brand identity and demonstrating bold self-awareness. Steve Carell’s hilarious delivery is likely to stick in viewers’ minds too – 53% of Americans are most likely to remember an advert if it’s funny. Brand / Pepsi Agency / Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
  5. 5. While #PepsiMoreThanOK pokes fun at the moments it loses out to its competitor, PepsiCo’s ad for new fizzy water Bubly lampoons singer Michael Bublé as he argues over how the brand is pronounced compared to his own surname. The Bubly/Bublé jape is a clever lesson in repetition and finishes with the despondent crooner taking a Magic Marker to every last can in the shop. Brand / PepsiCo Agency / Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
  6. 6. Mispronunciation is also a source of humor in Stella Artois’ ‘Change Up the Usual’ sketch, in which Sarah Jessica Parker reprises her role as Sex and the City’s Carrie and Jeff Bridges gets back on the horse as The Dude in The Big Lebowski. While SJP orders her Stella Artois like a pro, Bridges fudges it, saying ‘Stella Artoes’ instead. The significance of this is that there’s no real fallout. It’s a tiny acknowledgment that the French pronunciation doesn’t always come off in a grander push for trying something new (all hell breaks loose in the restaurant when SJP orders the beer instead of her usual Cosmo). By using self-deprecating humor, brands are making light of not only their adversaries, but consumer interpretations of their product names. This sort of self-reflexive ribbing goes a long way in boosting brand perceptions and people’s ‘top- of-mind’ awareness. Brand / Stella Artois Agency / Mother NY
  7. 7. INCLUSIVE STORYTELLING / People want to see underrepresented minorities on screen
  8. 8. From releasing a watch that quells Parkinson’s tremors to adding an Accessibility Checker to its Office products, Microsoft is both recognizing and catering to people with disabilities. Its 2019 Super Bowl ad pushes tech inclusivity even further. Under the slogan ‘When everybody plays, we all win’, the spot shows children with limited mobility discussing their love of gaming and then testing the new Xbox One Adaptive Controller. Moving and memorable, the simply executed docu- style segment engages audiences with both the power of the product and the people who benefit – in this case, the children and their delighted parents. With 15% of the world’s population living with a disability and over half feeling excluded from society, Microsoft’s decision to broadcast physical impairment – in the words of those who live with it – will no doubt dispel the visual stigma and effect practical, positive change within society. Brand / Microsoft Agency / United/McCann New York
  9. 9. Celebrating difference also runs through Toyota’s Toni RAV4 Hybrid commercial, in which Antoinette ‘Toni’ Harris, who aims to be the first female player in the NFL, is seen using mascara as eye black after a group of boys said she was too small to play, lifting weights when she was told that she wasn’t strong enough, and screaming with joy after being offered a football scholarship. Leaning into the groundbreaking achievements of women in sport, Toyota’s inspiring narrative fits with the NFL’s growing female viewership (now 45%, up from 23% in 2009). Against a wider cultural movement, with more women getting stuck into demanding, adventurous pursuits, big brands are pushing for greater inclusion in sport. Brand / Toyota Agency / Burrell Communications
  10. 10. Google’s down-to-earth Super Bowl spot promotes a new civilian job search engine just for army veterans and gives them the secret salute at the same time. By using code numbers only vets will recognize, it speaks to a subset of the population in their unique language – while engaging the overwhelming majority of Americans who support military veterans. With 63% of global consumers preferring to buy from companies that stand for a shared purpose that reflects their personal values and beliefs, Google’s decision to play on the American psychology is a clever one. With Microsoft, Google, and Toyota giving a voice to underrepresented groups – with some featuring products that will ultimately improve their quality of life – it is in a brand’s best interest to seek authentic, inclusive stories to tap the financial power of diverse consumers. Brand / Google Agency / Creative Lab, PHD, Essence
  11. 11. ROBOT RIDICULE / People want reassurances they won’t be replaced by AI
  12. 12. A 2017 Pegasystems study found that 70% of people fear AI, so it’s easy to see why brands came out in force to throw shade on everything AI can’t do in this year’s Super Bowl campaigns. Pringles took a swipe at Amazon’s Alexa, showing that while the device might be able to calculate 318,000 possible flavor combinations, it doesn’t have the taste buds to actually savor them. The melancholy smart device muses on her robotic existence: “Sadly, I’ll never know the joy of tasting any, for I have no hands to stack with, no mouth to taste with, no soul to feel with.” This confronts the ethics of ‘humanizing’ AI voices, but also underscores what it means to be a human – and devouring a stack of Pringles is certainly part of that privilege. Brand / Pringles Agency / Grey
  13. 13. More carnal, strictly human pleasures are showcased in the Michelob ULTRA commercial, which depicts an ultra-fit robot outperforming its homo sapien counterparts on a run, at a golf course, and in a spin class. But while peering through the window of a bar, the robot seems sad that it can’t sip an ice-cold pint with the gang. The ‘Only worth it if you can enjoy it’ strap reassures consumers that although their lives may be altered by advancing automation, they will be the only ones to enjoy such earthly delights. Brand / Michelob ULTRA Agency / FCB
  14. 14. Presenting the prestige of a real-life human voice is TurboTax’s commercial, which features an eerie ‘RoboChild’ who tells its owner it wants to be a TurboTax CPA when it grows up. The response is telling. “All TurboTax Live CPAs are human beings with real emotions. I’m sorry you’re never going to be emotionally complex enough for that job.” A snide put-down like that underscores the brand’s awareness of consumer attitudes – 42% of Americans don’t trust AI – while also turning people toward the brand at the expense of the rest of the category. It seems 2019 is the year brands took a stab at tech and celebrated human-ness – from tasting, to feeling, to having an ice-cold beer after a run. Brand / TurboTax Agency / Wieden + Kennedy
  15. 15. Canvas8 Inc. WeWork Dumbo Heights 81 Prospect St Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA Discover more on the Canvas8 Library Contact us James Cunningham Head of New Business (+44) (0)20 7377 8585 Samantha Amoroso Head of Business Development (+1) 347 991 8882 Find us Canvas8 1st floor 142 Central Street London, EC1V 8AR UK

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  • jamesherrera

    May. 4, 2019
  • ThufeilIzharruddin

    Mar. 13, 2020

Key consumer trends and insights behind 8 of the 2019 Super Bowl campaigns.


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