Super Bowl – The Power of Brand Awareness

In the lead up to the Super Bowl, the championship game of the NFL, the topic of brand awareness becomes more popular. The reason it’s largely discussed? Companies spend over $7 million for a 30 second ad shown during the big game. It is one of the most watched sporting events in the USA, with 113.06 million people tuning in to watch the game in 2023, with an ever increasing international viewership.

An advertisement aired during the Super Bowl not only attracts a vast viewership but also connects with a broad spectrum of demographics. This underscores the undeniable value of running a brand awareness campaign during this highly sought-after time slot.

Coca-Cola's Super Bowl advertisement in 1980.

But how are these results measured? How can you tell the impact a TV advertisement is making? Not only during the Super Bowl, but during normal TV air time.

Attributing results from TV advertisements

Marketers have long been able to measure the results they receive from their digital campaigns, however, attributing results to TV can be a little more difficult. To measure the results effectively, you would need to assess certain analytics data based on your company goals. For example:

  • Google search queries
  • Visits to your website
  • App downloads
  • Conversions completed on your website or app
  • Call tracking

The results of the above can be attributed to your TV advertisements if you have the ability to track these in real time. This can be done using online tools such as Realytics or Google Analytics 360.

Brand awareness in everyday life

Think about how many times a day you’re exposed to brand awareness campaigns without even realising it. It could be an airport billboard or even an advertisement on a bus shelter. Now think about how this is applied to your everyday purchasing decisions. Pretend you’re at an airport and you want a cup of coffee. How do you choose? Being in an unfamiliar location, you will generally want to go with a cafe or food store where you know what to expect. There’s a high chance you’ve chosen a well known franchise such as Starbucks or McDonalds. The reasoning for this? Brand awareness – the act of recognising or recalling a brand, essential for decision-making when purchasing.

An interesting statistic in Griffith University’s findings has found the number of franchise brands has decreased from 1,160 in 2014 to 1,120 in 2016. However, even though the number of brands has declined, the number of franchise units operating has increased within these brands. Could this be due to the success of their brand awareness campaigns?

Top of mind awareness

Top of mind awareness acts in a similar way to the purchasing decision you’ve just made at the airport. It’s referred to as the first brand you’ve thought of when you’re thinking about a particular product, category or industry. What’s the first brand you think of when someone mentions a phone or laptop? If Interbrands Top 10 Global Brands chart is anything to go by, it’s most likely going to be Apple.

Memorable Super Bowl commercials

  1. Apple’s “1984” Ad (Super Bowl XVIII, 1984):
    Apple’s iconic commercial, directed by Ridley Scott, introduced the Macintosh personal computer with a dystopian theme inspired by George Orwell’s novel, “1984.” The ad showcased Apple as a revolutionary brand challenging the status quo, leaving a lasting impression on viewers and solidifying Apple’s image as an innovative company.
  2. Budweiser’s “Whassup?” Campaign (Super Bowl XXXIV, 2000):
    Budweiser’s humorous “Whassup?” campaign became a cultural phenomenon in the early 2000s. The series of ads featured friends greeting each other with the catchphrase “Whassup?” in various scenarios. The campaign not only boosted Budweiser’s brand awareness but also ingrained the phrase into popular culture.
  3. Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” Contest (Various Years):
    Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” contest invited consumers to create their own Doritos commercials for a chance to have them aired during the Super Bowl. This user-generated content campaign not only engaged consumers but also significantly increased brand awareness for Doritos. Some winning entries, such as “Doritos Dogs” and “Ultrasound,” became instant classics.
  4. Volkswagen’s “The Force” Ad (Super Bowl XLV, 2011):
    Volkswagen’s “The Force” ad featured a young boy dressed as Darth Vader attempting to use “the Force” on various objects, including the Volkswagen Passat. The heartwarming commercial resonated with audiences, generating widespread acclaim and significantly boosting Volkswagen’s brand awareness.

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Brand awareness for small businesses

Brand awareness campaigns aren’t just effective for larger businesses. They can be just as powerful for small businesses with the right strategy.

  1. Choose a relevant platform
    Selecting the most suitable platform involves a thorough understanding of your target audience’s content consumption habits. Whether it’s Facebook, Google, or traditional television, align your choice with where your audience spends their time.
  2. Messaging
    Crafting personalised and creative messaging is paramount for campaign success. Take inspiration from iconic campaigns like “Share a Coke” which leveraged personalisation to drive engagement and brand recall.
  3. Identifiable visuals
    Utilise identifiable visuals that instantly associate with your brand. Whether through images or videos, ensure that your content carries distinct brand elements. Even specific colours, as exemplified by Coca-Cola’s timeless association with red, can solidify your brand’s presence in the industry.
  4. Location targeting
    Technology has progressed in such a way that you can now target your brand awareness campaigns to specific geographical locations. Whether this is a digital advertisement on social media or an advertisement on TV. If your small business is based in rural NSW, you will want to target people within a radius of your location.

Regardless of the scale or nature of your business, the power of brand awareness can be essential to your success. Whether you’re investing in high-profile advertising slots like the Super Bowl or initiating modest campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Google or TikTok the key lies in taking action and beginning the process of generating creative ideas without delay.

Side note:
If you want to watch the Super Bowl in Australia it will be streamed live on ESPN for Foxtel customers, or Channel 7 for free-to-air TV this February 12th 2024 at 10.30am AEDT. The game will also be streamed live on Kayo Sports, 7Plus and NFL Game Pass.

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