Super Bowl 50. Everyone is watching. And some are even watching the game. But everyone is definitely watching the commercials. (At least, that’s what we think in the advertising business.) So what did we see this year? And what can you learn from Super Bowl 50 for your own advertising?

“Simply put,” to quote Budweiser’s spot with Helen Mirren, we’ve compiled some creative insights to think about for your company’s Super Bowl 51 commercial… or as you develop commercials and content for those more mundane days of the year. And for your entertainment pleasure, we’ve even set each to an appropriate musical theme—so go ahead and dig deep into your playlist as you read and listen along to each section.

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” – Cyndi Lauper

It is the Super Bowl after all. It’s about getting together. Watching grown men play a ball game. Eating a lot of food. Perhaps having a drink or two. And, for some, anxiously awaiting the commercial breaks.

Last year’s advertisers took on a bit more somber tone to inform, educate, and draw consumers into their deep message. But some would say that backfired. Super Bowl advertising should be fun, just like the activities you embark on that day. People are gathered to have fun and hope to see advertising in line with that.

And sometimes when people attend this annual festival of advertising and sports, they look for something familiar. Something they are used to seeing. Even something they look forward to seeing. And when they don’t see it (aka The Clydesdales), the brand may even disappoint them.

It’s about understanding the consumer mindset and using it to your advantage instead of fighting against it. How much can you ask from a :30 spot anyways?

“My Hero” – Foo Fighters

So how do you make the most of that :30 beyond just joining the fun? After all, your brand is only one of a number of brands vying for consumer attention. And whether you’re paying $5 million or $5,000 for your :30, it’s still a lot of money and you need to make it work as hard as you can.

That doesn’t mean cramming tons of meaningless (I mean hugely important) attributes in the copy. You, of course, are a smart marketer and know the importance of standing for a single, differentiating benefit that will attract consumers to your brand, product, or service.

But sometimes what happens in the fury to generate amazing creative is that we assume too much and the product itself gets lost. We strike an emotional chord, only to have people forget what brand, product, or service that ad was promoting.

By making your brand the solution to the creative problem—the “hero”—and keeping it front and center stage, you put attention on the very thing you hope people will remember to help more people connect the emotional dots directly back to you and your brand.

“Heat of the Moment” – Asia

If you, like many people, were at a Super Bowl party or crammed into a local watering hole to eat wings and watch commercials, you may have noticed that no one seemed to care about the volume control.

How were you supposed to hear the important copy that was being read or voiced over with all that noise and chatter going on around you? The best you could do was try to catch a few words or infer the content based on what unfolded on the screen.

The point here is not that copy isn’t important. It’s that you need to consider the moment or the environment in which your message is delivered. The Super Bowl presents a unique challenge, but what a wasted opportunity when the spot that revolves around your brilliantly biting copy falls flat because people can’t hear it.

That doesn’t mean the commercial is bad. But it may mean that the commercial might not be appropriate for that environment. And that’s as true for a Super Bowl commercial as it is for a web, or even trade show, video.


The Super Bowl is one of the biggest advertising events of the year—and probably one of the only occasions in which people are excited to watch ads. Healthcare marketers can learn a lot by keeping an eye on the brands that make a splash every year at this practically international event.

To learn more about how SPM can help your marketing make a Super-Bowl-sized impact, contact us.

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Bill Tourlas

SVP, Innovation & Engagement at SPM Marketing & Communications
With 30 years of experience, Bill is a recent addition to SPM’s ever-growing firepower. As a member of the leadership team, he drives the agency’s efforts to consistently reach new levels of innovation and engagement and to bring the full power of our ideas to life across traditional and new media channels. In his role, Bill collaborates with strategy, creative, and media teams for existing clients and is an active participant in new business efforts.
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