Top 5 Marketing Lessons from Super Bowl 51

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The greatest lessons marketers can take away from the Patriots-Falcons showdown


Super Bowl

Super Bowl 51 is officially in the books.

Attracting about 111 million viewers based on Nielsen’s estimates, Super Bowl 51 wasn’t the highest-rated game of all time, but it might be the most memorable. From the on-field dramatics, to Lady Gaga’s halftime show, to innovative marketing approaches, the NFL’s big game delivered on all fronts. Here are the greatest lessons marketers can take away from the Patriots-Falcons showdown.

The classic call-to-action still works

One of the most memorable commercials of Super Bowl 51 was a spot by 84 Lumber showing a mother and daughter immigrating to the United States. The commercial showed only the beginning portion of the ad and asked viewers to visit the brand’s website to see the conclusion. The strategy proved to be so successful that the promoted website crashed from too many visits.

Find the sweet spot between humor and strange

There was something inherently awkward about watching a woman flirt with a cartoon Mr. Clean in this year’s P&G Super Bowl spot. And yet, there was something captivating about it. It’s this borderline between strange and humor that led Business Insider to deem this ad Super Bowl 51’s most memorable commercial.

Hashtag marketing is only getting stronger

Sports are always a social experience, and social media analytics provider Netbase estimates that this year’s big game hashtags — including #SB, #SB51, and #superbowl2017 — generated about 86 billion impressions.

And while the Patriots were the ones to take home the trophy, Airbnb was the big winner when it came to social media, receiving the most overall engagement with its hashtag #WeAccept. According to social analytics platform provider Socialbakers, Airbnb was mentioned 854 times by Twitter users during the big game, and #WeAccept received an average of 25,757 interactions per tweet.

Take relevant risks

It’s no secret that it’s a politically divisive time in the U.S., with people ardently for or against President Donald Trump, his new administration, and his policies. Many brands decided to use their Super Bowl 51 ad time as a podium to voice their opinions. The response was not always positive, but it did create impressions.

Take Budweiser, for example. The beer company released a commercial called “Born the Hard Way,” which depicted the immigrant beginning of the brand. According to marketing technology company Amobee, Budweiser’s digital content engagement increased 606% since the ad first appeared online.

Stay social

There were 27.6 million Super Bowl tweets and retweets across the globe between the hours of 3:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M., according to Netbase. And between 3:00 A.M. and 12:00 A.M., Facebook and Instagram engaged a combined 110 million people who generated 400 million interactions, including posts, comments, and reactions.

These social audiences provided brands and marketers with a wealth of opportunities to communicate and interact.

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