Super Bowl debutants have a big job to do. They have to hold their own against some of the biggest brands on the planet, and they have to introduce themselves to a super-size audience for the first time.
In recent years, a pillar of Super Bowl advertising has been the sentimental ad. Usually – but not always – built around telling a moving story, sentimental ads work by tapping different types of happiness – awe, joy and particularly uplifting emotion. They also often toy with negative emotions, and if they resolve those feelings of sadness into happiness, such ads can be highly emotionally dynamic (which tends to mean better sharing and interaction rates).
Emotional advertising isn’t all about emotion – while Feeling is the thing advertising does best to build brands, advertising is also a great opportunity to build Fluency. What is Fluency? It’s making your brand easier to recognise, easier to process mentally, and easier to choose quickly. You build Fluency by creating and using what Professor Byron Sharp calls “distinctive assets” – anything that brings your brand quickly to mind. Logos, slogans, songs, shapes, even colors can be distinctive assets.
Humor has always had a big part to play in Super Bowl advertising, and the last few years have seen the most emotional ads shift between commercials to make you laugh, and commercials that bring a happy tear to your eye.
Adorable snowmen, woolly hats and scarves, and a heart-warming story of togetherness… this ad from China could be a typical Western Christmas-themed ad. But the fireworks might give you a clue that this Coca-Cola commercial is something a little different.