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Feb 13, 2023

Super Bowl Ad Playbook: First-Party Data Creates Opportunity to Score

A phantom holding penalty, a slip-and-slide field and a high ankle sprain are the big on-field trending topics after Kansas City’s 38-35 come-from-behind victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday. Off-the-field, social media is buzzing with Rhianna’s baby bump, Eagles Coach Nick Sirianni’s tears during Chris Stapleton’s National Anthem performance, and Rob Gronkowski’s missed field goal (or was it?) during a Fan Duel ad.

As for the full field of commercials, which cost a record $7 million for a 30-second spot, advertisers went deep on nostalgia and star power – and sometimes both at once. Michelob ULTRA and Netflix teamed up to produce a spoof of Caddyshack with Serena Williams, Tony Romo and Alex Morgan playing starring roles, while clothing retailer Rakuten had Alicia Silverstone reprise her role as Cher Horowitz in Clueless to promote a new shopping experience.

Streaming service Tubi went all-in with a “rabbit hole” analogy in its first Super Bowl campaign, using anthropomorphic bunnies to sell viewers on the idea of a more “personal content journey.” (Fox, which aired Super Bowl LVII, bought Tubi in 2020 for $440 million.)

Shared Data, Shared Audience

Elsewhere in personalization and an enhanced customer experience, a reliance on first-party data as a cornerstone of relevant marketing was evident with a few marque co-branding ads. The Caddyshack spin-off was one, where Michelob ULTRA (an AB InBev product) and Netflix joined forces to promote the upcoming golf documentary Full Swing. Michelob ULTRA has long positioned itself as a lifestyle brand for health-conscious, active consumers, and in partnering with Netflix to promote a golf documentary it is leveraging its first-party data to expand its reach on new channels.

The partnership is similar to the growing trend of brands partnering with media organizations in a retail media network data clean room. Astute viewers may recognize the Bud Light and Game of Thrones partnership in a Super Bowl LIII campaign as a previous partnership between AB InBev and a media organization, in this case HBO.

Molson Coors and DraftKings teamed up for an interactive co-branding spot where the brewer’s marque brands Coors Light and Miller Lite battle it out for supremacy only to have Blue Moon – another Molson Coors brand – steal the spotlight in a surprise ending. The ad confused more than a few viewers who wondered why Blue Moon wouldn’t appear until the final seconds, but if you’re Molson Coors and your target audience is beer drinkers, you’re looking at it as a three-for-one special. As for DraftKings, the online daily fantasy sports site contributed by having customers enter a free contest in which they guess the answer to 12 questions for a chance to win $500,000. Questions included an over/under on the number of people in the ad with facial hair (2.5), and the type of flooring in the bar used in the ad (wood/checkered/shag carpet).

At least one reviewer included the partnership in its list of the top five best Super Bowl LVII commercials, along with Ben Affleck working the drive-thru at Dunkin’ and Amy Schumer deleting images of her exes on Google Pixel 7.

Beyond the exposure of the 30-second spot, think about the first-party data that DraftKings generates from customers entering the contest, and what that data might be worth to Molson Coors, who might then better optimize its ad spend not just on DraftKings digital channels, but for televised sporting events that draw viewers who participate in daily fantasy contests.

A Finger on the Pulse of the Customer

Another ad that brought customer experience to mind was a Bud Light spot featuring Miles and Keleigh Teller dancing to ubiquitous hold music and making the most of a universally frustrating customer experience. When an entire Super Bowl ad is reserved for calling out a poor experience, you know there’s room for improvement.

Experience and first-party data underscored the T-Mobile broadband ad featuring John Travolta, Zach Braff and Donald Faison. Travolta reprised his “Summer Nights” star turn in Grease, with the guys belting out re-worked lyrics touting the service’s speeds. The ad focused on upselling existing T-mobile customers, a good practice in an uncertain economy. Left unsaid, of course, is the opportunity for T-mobile to vastly increase the amount of first-party data it has on mobile and broadband customers.

One ad that stood out for its refreshing humility was the 100 years of Disney 90-second clip that quietly celebrated the iconic brand’s first century. In an age where companies come and go every day, it’s impressive to see one with staying power, which reflects not only the brand’s history of innovation, but also an uncanny ability to truly know its customers and deliver on market demand.

As much as Super Bowl ads are known for their attempts to be funny or memorable, what has stood out the past few years, this Super Bowl among them, are the attempts by brands to develop lasting partnerships by leveraging a first-party understanding of the customer. At $7 million a pop, advertisers want real value. Having a deeper understanding of your customers through strategic partnerships helps deliver that value.

Related Redpoint Orchard Blogs

Super Bowl Ads Bet Big on Understanding the Customer

A New Playbook: Super Bowl Ads Go Deep on Empathy

Personalization Scores a Big Hit in Super Bowl LIV Commercials

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