Everyone loves the big splash Super Bowl ads make—before, during, and after the game these ads generate massive interest and provide a significant uplift for brands. But the $4.5 million price tag for a 30 second spot is out of the reach for most companies. And even if the cost isn’t an issue, advertising during a football game isn’t necessarily the best forum for all brands. In the end, you don’t need a Super Bowl sized marketing budget to have an impact.
Despite the excitement around ads during the game, when it comes to advertising bigger isn’t necessarily better. Luckily, there are many creative ways for companies to get attention and generate interest – even with a modest marketing budget. No matter when that happens—in January to leverage the hype leading up to the Super Bowl, in connection with another holiday or big event, or at any other time of the year.
As you consider how to generate buzz for your brand, first and foremost, consider what types of marketing and ad campaigns work best for your audience. Then consider some of the principles that make so many of those Super Bowl ads memorable.
Ideas to consider regardless of your marketing budget:
- Be thought provoking. People like marketing that gets them to think about things in a new and different way. For the most part, however, it’s probably best not to tread too far into the sad, depressing, or just plain scary.
- Present a clear message. Depending on your brand, it may be ok to be offbeat, funny, shocking, or yes even a little bit weird. Whatever your approach to communicating the message, the most important part is to make sure your customers don’t have to work too hard to figure it out.
- Tell a story. Customers in both B2C and B2B respond to stories, short and long. It’s a tried and true format, going back millennia. And stories work in whatever media works best for you and your audience.
- Help people to care. Genuine good deeds and connection with the community hit an emotional button for most people. Incorporating these good deeds into your marketing helps make your campaign memorable and encourages the audience to share.
- Be consistent. One-off ads can make a big splash. However, consistency and longer campaigns can make a real difference, in the long run.
- Help your customers promote your message. Let your customers and brand advocates do some of the heavy lifting for you.
- Take advantage of social media sharing—use hashtags and include URLs (for dedicated landing pages whenever possible so you can track the campaign) in all aspects of the campaign.
- Consider user-generated content (UGC) of the ad itself. It’s a great way to drive interest, engagement, and sharing.
Clever ideas that didn’t break the bank
Many brands have used these principles to create meaningful and memorable marketing campaigns, without breaking the bank.
The brewer created a campaign called Band of Brands leading up to the Super Bowl. The premise: Why pay $4.5 million for an ad, when you can share the cost with 20-30 other brands? The results: A priceless set of videos that poke fun at product placement and the now traditional heartwarming Super Bowl ad. And a viral campaign that was no doubt well worth whatever Newcastle spent on it.
The payment management and the e-invoicing company created the Take Control campaign. The premise: Use cheeky spoof videos to generate interest in their four key target audiences. The results: The videos in this campaign, along with other video content, helped influence over $125 million in their marketing pipeline.
Maersk shipping takes advantage of the love many people have for spotting ships at sea. The premise: Encourage people to use the hashtag #Maersk and post photos of the Maersk logo on trucks and ships on a variety of social media sites including Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter. The results: A heavy social media presence focused on engagement and conversation.
These brands are just three examples of companies who are taking a clever approach to getting attention and building engagement, without breaking the budget. And without spending $4.5 million to get it done. Of course, if you’ve got the budget, and it makes sense for your brand, I say, go for it!