Super Bowl Advertising

The Ad That Changed the Game

10 Jan , 2013  

Every once in a while an advertiser tries something new on the Super Bowl and fundamentally changes the marketing game. Apple’s Super Bowl spot “1984” falls into this group, as does the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl program.

It is becoming clear that Chrysler’s 2011 spot featuring Eminem should join this group.

Chrysler broke a lot of informal Super Bowl advertising rules with its 2011 ad. The spot was dark and gritty, not a funny, catchy piece of film like so many other Super Bowl ads. The ad didn’t prominently display a logo. And it went on and on, running for a remarkable two minutes. On the Super Bowl, when every second is worth more than $75,000, buying such a long  spot was almost unheard of.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKL254Y_jtc]

But Chrysler’s ad worked exceptionally well. The Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review panel gave it an A, presumably because the spot was exceptionally strong on three elements of our ADPLAN framework: awareness, distinction and linkage. It stood out in a very unique way and the story ultimately connected to the brand. The ad generated an extraordinary amount of buzz. Most important, the ad became the foundation of a marketing campaign that has helped revitalize the Chrysler brand. By breaking the rules, Chrysler built interest and transformed its brand image.

Now other advertisers are following Chrysler’s lead. This year we apparently will see many brands run sixty-second spots and at least three run spots lasting more than a minute.  This is a very big shift.

In 2011 Chrysler showed that telling a story and engaging people really works. It is tough to do this in thirty-seconds; you need time to tell a story, even when each second is worth a small fortune. Marketers clearly learned this lesson from Chrysler.


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