6 Lessons for Marketers from Super Bowl 2020 Ads - TribeTalk EP 30

Last Updated April 27, 2021


Super Bowl commercials are always the main reason to watch the Super Bowl, am I right? Well, especially for us marketers. 

There are valuable insights to learn from other companies’ advertisements, specifically larger brands that have the resources to spend $5.6 million on a 30 second ad. Not to mention the millions that go into creating the ad and testing how audiences will respond. 

So here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to Super Bowl 2020 commercials and what you can take away to implement for your marketing efforts.  

The GOOD: 

Jeep’s Bill Murray Groundhog Day 





Everyone just loves Bill Murray. The amazing tagline “No day is the same in a Jeep Gladiator” is an obvious pun, but it features our favorite Bill ripping across town in the snow and going on adventures with his groundhog buddy. It’s got a lovable actor, nostalgia for fans of the movie, a clean video showing the product in use, and a wonderful tagline. Makes it a perfect Super Bowl commercial. 

Takeaway: You may not be able to afford Bill Murray or that production level, but you can always show a product in use and come up with great headlines for what your product helps you do. Great headlines are simple but clever. Don’t use the first one you think of. Try to come up with at least 30 until you get one that “clicks”. You’ll know it when you hear it. 

Snickers’ “Fix The World”





This ad essentially complains about Millennial culture (selfies, kale, Alexa (eavesdropping)) and saying the world just needs a Snickers… interestingly hilarious, even for Millenials. Why does this work? Each of these things is questionable: I ride scooters, but I’ve been almost knocked down by others. I have two Alexas, but who’s to say my data isn’t being stored somewhere, even if not used? I eat kale, but if a friend of mine named their baby Kale they’d never hear the end of it. I take selfies, but I don’t do it obnoxiously or with a selfie stick (typically ha). 

Takeaway: Making fun of groups can be a great tool in your ad arsenal, but you have to do it in a tactful way so that even the group being made fun of will laugh. Don’t be mean. Try to have the copy written (or at least reviewed) by someone in that group so it’s self-deprecating. 

Hyundai’s Smaht Pahk





Everyone knows the khakis joke: How do Bostonians use the word khakis? “Honey, where are my khakis, I gotta pahk the cah!”  They’re making fun of the Boston accent, but not making fun of Bostonian culture, just the accent. Also, Bostonians are not easily offended, especially about their accent (we should know, one of our co-founders is from Boston). This is another great commercial for a large brand because one can gather that they’re talking about Smart Park, a feature in a major car. 

Takeaway: If you’re a small brand introducing yourself, you may want to get down to brass tacks, but this could be great inspiration for a retargeting ad of someone who’s viewed some of your products. High in the funnel you need to answer what problem you solve. Low in the funnel you show who you are as a brand. Professional? Funny? Self-deprecating? I’m about to buy, so why should I buy from you? 

The BAD: 

Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold 6 for 6-Pack





This ad is on the bad list because it’s dishonest, or at least misleading. They technically didn’t say “this would be enough to convert every square foot of farmland in America to organic”, but something like “this could change all of America”. If 100 million people bought a 6-pack, that would be enough to convert 14,000 acres. There are 915 million acres of farmland. That means 6 trillion people would need to buy a 6-pack. 

Takeaway: Be honest. Make sure your ads aren’t promising something that isn’t true. 

Verizon’s The Amazing Things 5G Won't Do





This Verizon ad was an amazing shout out to the great heroism of Firefighters. The problem is that Verizon was called out for throttling firefighters’ internet in 2018 in Santa Clara. Looks like Verizon was trying to do some PR recovery, but the internet did not take well to it. It seems Verizon hasn’t done much to own up to the issue, but instead is just saying “actually we support firefighters”. Bad PR. 

Takeaway: Prepare to be called out by the internet. It may not be as large scale as Verizon received but you may receive negative comments on your ads. We advise our clients to handle them head-on. Respond to the comments with honesty and authenticity (and ban the trolls). 

The UGLY: 






Olay’s mega tone-deaf “Make space for women” was not received well, ironically by women. Women have been going to space for decades, and it wasn’t clear what the commercial was trying to “fix” in its microverse. It was just a couple of space puns and made women seem kinda ditzy in the end. 

Takeaway: Make sure your message is clear and especially doesn’t upset your main target audience. 

What were your favorite Super Bowl Ads? Leave us a comment below. 

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