This week is one of my favorites of the year. In the days following the Super Bowl, I engross myself in the newest ad campaigns from brands around the country that advertised during the big game. From picking apart the ads to trying to deduce the overall strategy of the campaign to reading critics’ response and controversies to the ads, it’s a great time to be alive.
This year’s Super Bowl ads presented an interesting mish-mash of brands that we’ve seen consistently year over year and new inductees in the primetime space. After reviewing the spots, few things stuck out to me:
- Politics (and political stances by brands) played a bigger-than-normal role in this year’s ads. Some were rather subtle, while others attempted to make the ad jump off the screen and hit you in the face with the message. My favorite ad of the game happened to fall into this category.
- Brands that you wouldn’t normally see advertising in this high-cost, prime time space, were very present this year. (Yellow Tail and LIFEWTR anyone?)
- Where were the financial ads this year?!
You read that right! Looking over the ads from this year, there was one sector of the economy that was notably absent from Super Bowl advertisements this year: Financials. Even when you throw insurance into the category and give H&R Block and Turbo Tax honorable mentions (plus, the Turbo Tax spot was hilarious), the grand total rises to three (3) ads.
Compare that to just last year, when seven (7) brands ran spots during the Super Bowl, including Intuit, Turbo Tax, PayPal, SunTrust, SoFi, Quicken Loans and Esurance.
This could mean any number of things for the financial/insurance sector, and it still might be a too early to analyze why there was such a poor showing of ads for the financial sector this year. From political changes to the Wells Fargo scandal to lack of results on previous year’s ads, 2017 could have presented more than a few challenges for financial advertising. However, I refuse to believe that we are all out of innovative consumer financial solutions that need to be communicated of that the start-up side of the industry (a la SoFi in 2016) is done and doesn’t need to be heard from.
One big thing that stuck out from this year’s Super Bowl ads were the stories that brands told through their spots. No matter the product, sector or actors, telling a story was clearly a top priority. Brands went with storytelling instead of knee-slapping hilarious spots or somber messaging.
With a wave of brand story-telling campaigns launching into the new year, I would hope that financials see the light and take part. Because our brand stories need to be told, too!
What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial? Do you want to share your brand story? Tell us!