Hollywood Sunday: A Brand’s Guide to Super Bowl Ad Success

Boelter Lincoln, Blog, Super Bowl, Advertising

For 364 days of the year, a majority of audiences have their finger on the mute button the moment “The Bachelor” or “This is Us” goes to commercial. Super Bowl Sunday is a different story.

It’s simple: brands flock to attention. Attention is measured in eyeballs. 189 million pairs of eyeballs are expected to watch the game this year. Let’s face it though, many brands will pay the $5 million for their 30 seconds of glory just to skimp on production. That won’t cut it anymore.In order to engage the audience, brands must first entertain the audience. A recent survey showed that 78% (78%!) of Super Bowl viewers see ads primarily as entertainment. As the competition for lasting engagement and brand loyalty snowballs, the key to Super Bowl Sunday success is simple: Go “Full Hollywood.”

The combination of A-list celebrities and Hollywood-sized production budgets in this year’s spots means viewers have a virtual ticket to a football game and 30+ bite-sized, box-office hits this Sunday.Lucky for consumers, we don’t have to wait until Monday to digest this year’s ads. Here are my favorites, so far:

First off, Wix.com is not messing around. Just watch their commercial-turned-action-blockbuster:

Tapping into the skills of Louis Leterrier (director of Transporter and The Incredible Hulk), this teaser is, “only the beginning” of Wix’s game day execution according to their blog.

Hollywood influence doesn’t stop there either. Hyundai has recruited Peter Berd (director of Deepwater Horizon) to lead their spot, which will be filmed in real-time during the game and aired before the trophy presentation. Adding to the list of acclaimed directors, The Coen Brothers, famed Hollywood creators, directed Mercedes Benz’s mini-biker movie:


Even classic cinema themes will find their way into ads, as Skittles recreates a familiar rom-com scene with their own comedic twist:

Snickers will air the first live spot since Schlitz’s 1981 live taste test. The brand is not waiting until game day, though. A 36-hour live stream from the set will capitalize on the recent live video frenzy, featuring Betty White, AJ Green and WWE superstars. Check out the short, shareable casting call spots leading up to the weekend’s live content:




Budweiser is back at it. Shedding comedy and coordinated animals, they might just take home the trophy on Sunday with this inspired, cinema-style storytelling piece:

These movie-commercials (mommercials? comovies?) will have audiences reaching for the popcorn. However, similar to a summer blockbuster, the real execution takes place outside of the on screen time. As 36% of Super Bowl viewers engage with branded video online outside of the broadcast, brands are scheduling content like trailer releases. In the last week, we’ve seen creative ad concepts teased on Facebook and short campaign clips debuted through social video platforms. In a digital space where success is determined by virality, creating social buzz (before, during and after Sunday) is the key to engagement.

You know, now that I think of it, I don’t love commercials. I love big production, 30-second movies based in storytelling with Hollywood-like buzz marketing execution. February 5th is opening night. So, take your finger off the mute button, grab another handful of popcorn (or jalapeno poppers preferably) and watch as 30+ brands compete for your attention.