Football Laces While Super Bowl XLIX may not have ended the way you hoped – at least the commercials were entertaining! This year, the cost of a 30 second ad spot was $4.5 million! With an estimated viewership of 115 million people (plus all the social media buzz), it was critical for advertisers to create commercials that would effectively communicate their message.

We asked a few of the Undercurrent bloggers to share some of their favorite ads and key takeaways from this year’s Super Bowl. What strategies can B2B businesses learn from B2C Super Bowl commercials?

Blogger Drew Jones’ Key Takeaways…
– It’s simple enough to carry a marketing theme and message out through your ad campaign and across your website, social channels and the like. A common visual look, a few consistent, snappy headlines, a common call to action … easy peasy. But what McDonalds did is where the real juice is. They’ve taken their “I’m Lovin’ It” theme and carried it right down to the most basic of customer experiences — how they pay for their meal. By allowing random customers to pay with love (by calling their mother, embracing their son or dancing a little dance, etc.) instead of money, they’ve taken a surface-level marketing message and made it tangible, emotional and memorable. Such a simple idea – yet one that would have been so easy to say “no” to (after all, it likely required reconfiguring their payment systems, etc.). Kudos, to the people under the arches. I’m lovin’ it.

Blogger John Krantz’s Key Takeaways…
– Be disruptive. The ad that stuck out the most to me was for the Chevy Colorado. It fooled me into thinking my cable went out, as I’m sure it did most viewers. The fact that we were in the middle of a blizzard here in Iowa made it entirely feasible. Everyone in my house stood up in total dismay, and in unison blurted out, “WHAAATT,” only to realize a few seconds later we had been fooled. Whether B2B or B2C, disruptive marketing is incredibly effective. Do something that disrupts the audience’s daily lives, and it will surely be memorable.

Blogger Kim Pfannenbecker’s Key Takeaways…
– The #LikeAGirl commercial is awesome. I’m pretty sure it’s an old one, but it is a great message for young women delivered in a powerful and visual way.
– I liked the Dodge “Born 1914” commercial with all the centenarians. It’s obviously promoting the heritage of the company, but the camera angles and the script made those elderly people look truly BA!
– “This beer is brewed for drinking – not dissecting.” Loved the Budweiser commercial – they have definitively claimed their target market and aren’t concerned about alienating everyone else. (And I like craft beer, too!)

Blogger Patrick McGill’s Key Takeaways…
– History is something brands like to lean on, citing humble beginnings in ages past and noting five-year milestones that have little meaning to customers. Budweiser did an interesting take on highlighting its history and poking fun at the craft beer competition, while celebrating its customers and its consistency in brewing for more than 125 years. Heritage doesn’t have to be stodgy, but can help you reaffirm what you stand for and whom you serve in a highly competitive market.
– Paying off a brand promise in new and different ways can be a challenge as a campaign sustains over the years. Many B2B marketers find a tagline or brand position and don’t do much to update it over time, because they think their work is done. You can take a lesson from brands like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, who have been mining the brand ideals of love and happiness for many, many years in new and creative ways.

Blogger Keesia Wirt’s Key Takeaways…
-A big part of content strategy is helping brands understand their audiences and what topics will connect with them. So I was looking for Super Bowl ads that told stories. Microsoft tops my list with two ads that made me look at their company differently – not just as a software company but as a technology leader. The first ad was Estella’s Brilliant Bus – a great story about one woman and her bus bringing technology to neighborhoods that need it – and the second was Braylon O’Neil – a heart-warming and cool example of Microsoft technology that’s helping a boy with his prosthetic legs. Both commercials also challenged the audience, “What can you do?” and carried on Microsoft’s empowering campaign. You can see more videos and get a better understanding of Microsoft’s role as a technology leader. Well done, Microsoft.

About Drew Jones

As the managing director of the Two Rivers Marketing creative team, Drew nurtures ideas into creative expressions that motivate. When he’s not at Two Rivers, you might find him along a trout stream in Siberian Russia. You can drop Drew a line at drewj@2rm.com.