An upside-down 50 Cent during the halftime show, Eminem taking a knee, and an at-best dubious holding call against the Bengals just before Cooper Kupp’s MVP-clinching touchdown grab were among many eyebrow-raising moments during the Rams’ 23-20 victory over Cincinnati in Super Bowl XLVI Sunday night in Los Angeles, but the one question likely on everyone’s mind: just how many Peacock promotions were there throughout the game?
To give you some idea of the level of saturation, with both the big game and the Olympics on its network and streaming service, NBCUniversal was proudly calling it “Super Gold Sunday.” With NBC charging up to a record $7 million for a 30-second advertisement during the Super Bowl, “gold” was certainly an apt description.
For companies that willingly paid the price to reach an estimated audience of 100 million viewers, nostalgia, pop culture and comedy – sometime all three at once – played starring roles in this year’s ads. Viewing the ads with an eye toward customer experience, brand trust, and data, a few stood out.
Trust Us with Your Complexities
Turbo Tax stood out prominently for a novel take on identity resolution, using Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”) to showcase its matching ability. In the ad, Turbo Tax associates are presented with a series of increasingly outlandish scenarios involving multi-dimensional customers before assuring the customers – and viewers – that, yes, Turbo Tax Live does indeed have the “perfect match” for any scenario. In Sudeikis’ case, he presents as “I work in London, live in New York, shot a super bowl commercial in LA.” Another customer, who peels off a mask Mission Impossible style, says she’s “a freelancer who just bought a home that’s also her office.”
The brand, Turbo Tax, promises that it will devote time and effort to get to know you, the individual customer, regardless of your complexities. It’s a $7 million bet (likely more, as a 45-second spot) that this level of personalization will matter to the customer – at least at it pertains to filing returns. We’ve written here and here about how a golden record is a key for providing a connected customer experience and delivering relevant engagements in the financial services industry. Turbo Tax, it appears, is well aware that 82 percent of customers (according to a Dynata Survey sponsored by Redpoint) expect their financial institution to personally understand them.
Want My Business? Protect My Data
On the data privacy side, Amazon touted the responsible use of customer data – rather than its product’s capabilities – as a main selling point in a 90-second spot for Alexa. In the ad called “Mind Reader” married couple Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost, playing themselves, interact at home while an Alexa device in the background overhears their conversations. The viewer is meant to understand that this particular Alexa reads minds, which is why during their interactions it makes truthful (if albeit inappropriate) comments that embarrass one or the other. In one gag, Jost asks Johansson if it’s “fun” to do love scenes with “hot guys.” Johansson replies, “it’s the worst” but Alexa – apparently wise to the truth – starts playing Fleetwood Mac’s “Tell Me Lies” (“tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies”) in the background. The lesson learned is that, as the closing voiceover says, “maybe it’s best Alexa doesn’t read minds.”
The ad plays on what had been – and apparently still is – the very real perception and concern of having an always-one, always-listening Alexa in the background. The entire premise of the ad is to assure viewers that they don’t have to worry about the device, or by extension Amazon, misusing their private data by showing the device doing exactly that.
Just as the Turbo Tax ad played on consumer expectations around personalization, Amazon played on the theme and the very real concern consumers have about misused data. We’ve written too about the data privacy value exchange, which notes an interesting finding from a Harris Poll survey that 74 percent of consumers say that it is absolutely essential/very important that a company is transparent about what information is being collected and how the information is being used. If a company holds up its end of the bargain to use it to provide a personalized experience, a majority of customers (54 percent) are willing to share personal data.
It’s All About a New Experience
On the customer experience front, several companies bet big on convenience, contact-less engagement, and even innovative business models. Vroom got into the game by touting how easy it is to sell a car exclusively online, without the anxiety of a private sale falling through. Uber Eats dusted off a cast of celebrities to highlight that its service is no longer exclusive to food delivery – showing the misguided celebs trying to eat items such as a sponge, paper towels, and a pencil. And Cue Health used its airtime to showcase the convenience its home Covid diagnostic testing device (the rare, if only, reference or mention of Covid during throughout the entire Super Bowl). The ad, though, was also a sneak peak at what’s to come from the company that claims is “designed to revolutionize the way we access healthcare at home, work or at the point of care. … to drive better outcomes.” (“just wait ‘til you see what else I can do,” the ad promises).
The ad plays into another growing trend in the customer experience space toward healthcare consumerism and the data-driven acceleration of the consumer healthcare journey. As a separate Dynata Survey makes clear, a personalized and consistently relevant healthcare experience is just as important as in other industries. In a 2021 survey commissioned by Redpoint, 60 percent of consumers say it is important for providers to show how well they understand the individual beyond patient data. And in a Consumerization of Healthcare Study by Econsultancy, 75 percent of consumers say they want the healthcare experience to be more like other industries, infused with highly personalized and connected experiences across physical and digital channels.
Tune In, Plug In
Lastly, I’d be remiss not to mention the sheer abundance of ads for electric vehicles (Kia, GM, BMW) and crypto currency (FTX, Coinbase, eToro). Featuring a who’s who of celebrities including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek as retired Greek gods Zeus and Hera (BMW), Larry David as …. Larry David (FTX), and actors Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler reprising their roles as Sopranos kids Meadow and AJ Soprano (GM). The proliferation of ads for these products made it seem at times as if the entire purpose of the game was to serve as a brief interlude for another chance to hawk a plug-in SUV or to convince me to put everything I own into cryptocurrency.
When the action did return to the field, the game delivered, with a one-score contest and the outcome in doubt until the final series, the final sack of Bengals QB Joe Burrow handing the Rams its first Super Bowl victory since 1999. Congratulations, LA. Now, is it too soon to start thinking about which team – and which CX trends – we will be celebrating come game time next year?