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Super Bowl 50 Commercials Play By Different Rules

Written by Martin Buchanan, Executive Creative Director

Brands spend millions of dollars per spot to have their message appear on the biggest stage for TV advertising—The Super Bowl broadcast.

The pressure is immense for CMOs and their brands because each spot will be judged—literally evaluated—by USA Today in their Ad Meter and by countless online venues that rate things like popularity and likeability. It’s instant feedback, and the results can be either validating or devastating.

With that much on the line, it’s a human reaction to want to have something like a guarantee that your commercial will get the attention it deserves. So, Mr. or Ms. CMO, here are my three rules that virtually guarantee an effective Super Bowl commercial.

Rule 1) Make it funny. 

The Super Bowl is entertainment. And people have been taught to expect the commercials to be entertaining. Don’t disappoint them.

Rule 2) Make it work even with the sound off.  

Sure, you can design a soundtrack, cool music to embellish the emotion of the spot. But don’t pack a lot of announcer copy over the picture or have crucial dialog that you have to hear to understand the spot. Because it’s The Super Bowl, and that means parties, crowds, distracting conversation and background noise. The sound will likely not be heard.

Rule 3) Use either animals, babies or a celebrity. 

OK, I know that the third rule should be about linking your brand to the amusing story being told or making sure the message you deliver in your spot leaves you recalling the brand that paid to deliver it. But, actually, most successful Super Bowl commercials feature an animal, a baby or a celebrity, and they’re usually doing something funny that works with the sound off.

Don’t believe me? Watch the Doritos Crash The Party finalists.

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