B2B Marketing Lessons From Super Bowl XLIX

February 6, 2015

Across the pond, Super Bowl is the biggest advertising day of the year. The going rate for a half-minute ad slot cost a record-breaking $4.5 million this year, according to AdWeek. Usually, I tend to dismiss it from a “work mode” point of view, thinking of it as a big stage for consumer brands, but not really relevant to the B2B industry. This year, however, I’ve realised that B2B marketers could learn the following from Super Bowl advertising:

Take risks

B2B marketers so often play it safe, but this year’s Super Bowl edgy commercials (think Doritos’ ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ campaign, which ran two customer-created ads during the game) showed that the potential can be well worth the risk. While it’s not unheard of in the B2B world (look at Volvo’s Live Test Campaign), I think an ambitious and risky concept can really pay off.

Spend budget wisely

Big budgets often see big returns (that’s why the brains behind those expensive Super Bowl commercials spend months developing the perfect tear-jerking/laugh-out-loud moment), but don’t forget to pay attention to things like social media too. A few years ago, Oreo created a storm with its ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ tweet, for example.

Have a light side

It’s great to take your B2B brand seriously, but it’s also important to lighten up sometimes. B2B brands should recognise the benefits of humour and take a leaf (get the pun?) out of paper producer Domtar’s book; its ‘Paper, because’ campaign – filming people’s reactions to paper – brought the (not so fascinating) product to life.

Or get emotional

While it’s common for B2B marketers to appeal to the emotion of fear, we shouldn’t shy away from touching on other emotions. After all, businesses are made up of people with feelings. Super Bowl consumer marketers embrace emotion; so should we.

What else do you think we can learn from big advertising events like Super Bowl?

Jessica Ellis - Business Development Director