5 Lessons B2B Content Marketers Can Learn from Super Bowl Ads

February 5, 2016 Kelly O'Hara

5 Lessons B2B Content Marketers Can Learn from Super Bowl Ads

As someone who has zero interest in professional football, the Super Bowl is still a pretty exciting time of the year. Why? Crazy ads, snacks, and the halftime show, of course!

Food and halftime aside, it’s always interesting to see what the big brands come up with each year and what new companies are joining the Super Bowl ad rigmarole.

It’s pretty well known that buying a time slot during the game is incredibly expensive and the ROI on that investment is usually negligible (if there’s any at all). Despite the fact that these ads don’t convince consumers to jump out of their seats and go make a purchase, I think all marketers—especially content marketers—can take away some key strategies from the ads.

Lesson 1: Know your goal

Many brands that run ads during the game understand that their ad—no matter how great—may not drive any new sales, but they continue to create the ads because the Super Bowl gives their brand incredible awareness.

As content marketers, before we create any new piece of content, we have to decide what is our ultimate goal. Are we ok with just driving brand awareness? Or do we need the piece to bring in new leads?

Your answer to this question should effectively change the tone of your piece, how you distribute it, and whether or not you want to gate it.

Lesson 2: Repetition, repetition, repetition

The brands that people tend to remember from year to year are the ones that keep coming back. We keep an eye out for the Clydesdale Budweiser commercials, what Pepsi & Coke are going to do to top each other, and even what goofy premise Doritos will go with.

One brand that really knocked the repetition game out of the park is GoDaddy. While their racy and sometimes offensive ads might not be everyone’s cup of tea, they have done wonders for establishing GoDaddy as the domain registrar. GoDaddy currently owns 1/5th of the world’s domains and their customer base continues to grow each year.

So what does this mean for you? Take what works and expand upon it. If your infographics are doing incredibly well… keep making infographics! It’s not a revolutionary idea, but many marketers get stuck in the mindset that they need to create all types of content because that’s what everyone else is doing! Content genius, Joe Pulizzi, has even stated that when building a foundation for a great content strategy, marketers should focus in on one type of content. Do what works and do it well. Rather, rinse, repeat.

Lesson 3: Don’t be afraid to branch out

I know what you’re thinking: “you just told me to repeat what I’m doing, now you’re telling me to try something different!?” Yes, but stay with me…

From time to time, trying a new content form or new distribution tactic can help you really stir things up. Take Miller High Life, for example. In 2009, they decided that millions of dollars for a 30-second commercial was ridonkulous (not a direct quote). Instead, they decided to air a 1-second spot.

Although the clip was 97% shorter than the average ad, it really stuck with the audience. The new technique got the attention of viewers who would later find the clip online to watch again. Clever play, Miller!

This was a risk for Miller as it could have backfired completely. The brevity of the ad could have easily been missed. Luckily for them, it was a success (not saying it drove any more sales, but remember, we’re thinking about brand awareness here).

If everyone in your space is creating white papers, try making an eBook or a gifographic. If it doesn’t work, it’s ok. Now you know. If it’s a huge success, great! Take it and go back to lesson 2!

Lesson 4: Create catchy takeaways

If I said “waasssuuppp” to you, chances are, you would actually know what I was referring to. If you didn’t, well, I’m sorry I scared you.

The majority of us could probably recall right away the Bud Light commercial from the 2000 Super Bowl that sparked the (annoying) trend. “Wassup” went on to be parodied and reused in mainstream media, like Scary Movie and The Office.

Chances are, as a B2B marketer, you probably won’t create a tagline or word that people will go around screaming to each other (I actually think this is a very good thing…). But, you can create catchy snippets that will boost your content’s popularity.

Start with creating a catchy title for your content. Be creative (without being overly click-baity) and be sure to include relevant keywords for better searchability. In your content itself, call out quotes that you want people to share. You can do this visually by bolding a sentence or creating a callout within the text or sidebar. For extra shareability, add click-to-tweets to make it easier for your audience to post your quote to social media.

Lesson 5: Don’t underestimate the power of celebrity cameos

It can be kind of fun to see who will show up in a brand’s Super Bowl ad each year. I remember thinking that Britney Spears’ Pepsi commercial was so cool. Just last year, Squarespace made an unexpected impression on viewers with their commercials for Jeff Bridges’ website.

Celebrities can make ads more memorable, enabling better recall after the ad has aired. Unfortunately for many of us, we probably can’t get B.Spears to star in a corporate video or give a quote on what the best marketing software is for your company, but we all have our own celebrities within our industries.

At Uberflip, we love it when content pros share their thoughts with us. From webinars to podcasts to blog posts, we try to get as much collaboration as we can from industry experts. If you don’t have the connections yet, a great way to build relationships with your industry thought leaders is to connect with them on social. Start following them on Twitter and interact with their tweets. You can even tweet at them directly to see if they would be willing to give you a quote for a piece you’re working on.

When you publish your content, you may receive an extra boost in views just from including a popular thought leader (who might just share the post with their own audience).

So as you watch the game the year, pay special attention to the ads and see what else you can take away from their tactics for your own content. Share any other ideas with us in the comments below!

Want even more tips for creating awesome B2B content? Create compelling content with these 3 characteristics!

About the Author

Kelly O'Hara

Kelly is a Content Marketing Consultant at Uberflip, helping the team with content strategy and implementation. As a Massachusetts native living in Toronto, she spends her free time exploring the city, hanging out with her cat & dog, and watching Tom Hanks movies.

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