Well, the ruling on the field is confirmed: Advertisers took home the victory in Super Bowl LII. It doesn’t take a ref with a keen eye or a slo-mo replay to determine that there’s plenty to learn from the big-name brands that left it all on the field.

At its very core, when the glitz and glam are stripped away, quality advertising is quality advertising – no matter how large the stage it’s presented on. Even the biggest brands have gone (quarter)back to basics.

Here’s what we can learn from them:

1. Create a Play Book
Think Overall Strategy

Super Bowl ads seldom end after their 30 seconds is up. Their reach continues long after, often permeating the social media and digital spheres as part of a much larger campaign. Not to mention the buzz they usually create, with watchers all over the world chiming in. Devising a long-term strategy and thinking beyond a single ad is a wise idea for any brand, whether they’re run by a mom and pop duo or a multi-billion dollar corporation.

2. Score Big with Fans
Know Your Target Audience

Really knowing your audience means determining the best avenue to reach them. And even this avenue will vary depending on the content and its call to action. For instance, a TV spot can make a memorable impact, communicating what a brand represents. But the same brand might rely on social media ads to boost engagement or inform consumers of a special offer. Remember, one size doesn’t fit all.

3. Tackle “Real” Content
Tap into Viewers’ Emotions

Each year, there are at least a few tear-jerkers sandwiched between plays. The transition from 300-pound men clobbering each other to a sentimental spot about diapers can be jarring, but the power of marketers’ storytelling is undeniably effective. By tapping into consumers’ emotions, brands become relatable – and shoppers become much more likely to open their wallets. Real, raw content has its rightful place in the ad world, but it must be handled with care. Don’t shy away from emotional content, but be sure to leave the unnecessary roughness to the boys on the gridiron.

4. Get in the Digital Game
Reach Consumers Online

Air time during the Super Bowl has become increasingly expensive, with 30-second buys costing at least $5 million this year. To put it in perspective, that’s five times more than the Eagles’ starting QB earned all season. That’s right, $5 million for half a minute of viewers’ attention – and that’s if the spot is intriguing enough to postpone a trip to the kitchen for more chicken wings and another beer. Digital ads’ price tag isn’t so hefty, with a 30-second national spot costing about $700,000. Many brands have invested in a multi-platform approach that allows them to reach consumers where they are, even after the final whistle has blown.

5. Play for the Home Team
Stay True to Your Brand

Once they’ve shown their true colors, it’s imperative that brands stay on message. Consumers identify with brands that stand for the same things they do, and when this trust is undermined, it’ll take more than some time on the bench to atone for their sins. Thinking outside of the box and producing attention-grabbing content is one thing, but veering completely off message is another.

The Super Bowl brings out the most creative ads, to say the least, with some striking a chord and others flopping spectacularly. While we avoid the flops at M2, we believe creativity should never be benched. That’s how we play the game.

Want to borrow a page from our play book? Get in touch today.