If you’re lucky enough to be a fan of one of the teams going to the Super Bowl, you’re just a week away from cheering your boys to victory. If you’re like the rest of us, we can’t wait for the world’s biggest brands to roll out their best campaigns of the year.
But for these brands, the game doesn’t start and end on Sunday night. A great campaign can continue its success for months—even years—on social media. In fact, YouTube claims that in the first six weeks of 2015, its users watched more than 7 million hours of Super Bowl ads and teasers. So, which brands won the Super Bowl last year? Here are our top 5 picks, and how you can take a page out of their playbooks.
1 Budweiser “Puppy Love”
How could you resist a sweet, lost Labrador? Featuring a cute canine might not seem terribly strategic, but it actually proved highly successful among viewers of all demographics. This year, TiVo conducted a poll to determine the top Super Bowl commercials of the past 50 years. Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” (2015) and its prequel “Puppy Love” (2014) ranked the highest for both men and women, and across three different age groups. Outside of these top two, commercials that featured animals or children delivered the strongest likability across genders and age demographics. “Puppy Love” ended up being one of the most-watched Super Bowl ads on YouTube during the week of the game. YouTube isn’t the only act in town, however. During this same timeframe, more than half of the video’s 57 million online views came from Facebook. They say every dog has its day, and for Budweiser, that day was Super Bowl Sunday.
2 Always (Procter & Gamble) “Like A Girl”
For the 2015 Super Bowl, P&G brand Always released its renewed #LikeAGirl campaign, bringing awareness to the drop in self-confidence young women experience during their pre-teen years. Viewers watched the commercial nearly 3 million times on the Always YouTube channel. Brands often forget that a large percentage of Super Bowl viewers are women. Data from a Nielson report published in Adweek shows the Super Bowl viewing audience is largely female— comprising 46 percent of total viewership. In fact, the same report shows that more women tune in to the game than the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys combined. P&G not only takes special care to advertise a product for women during the Super Bowl, but to empower them with a strong message. It’s no wonder this campaign was one of the most widely tweeted-about commercials of the night
3 Supercell: “Clash of Clans: Revenge”
While Supercell’s “Clash of Clans” commercial wasn’t one of the more anticipated spots in the 2015 Super Bowl, it was the most successful by a landslide. It featured Liam Neeson spoofing the very popular “I will find you, and I will kill you” line from his 2008 movie “Taken”, but with his anger instead focused on a “Clash of Clans” adversary. Not only was the commercial the most-watched Super Bowl ad on YouTube with more than 30 million views, it also topped the charts as the second most-watched YouTube video of 2015. Supercell stands as a shining example that a smart Super Bowl campaign can continue to be successful long after the big game. It was also $9 million well spent.
4 Nissan “With Dad”
Big car brands never miss the opportunity to advertise during the Super Bowl. One of 2015’s most-viewed commercials was Nissan’s “With Dad” commercial, which tells the story of a hard-working family striving for togetherness over the years. The unifying factor? A Nissan, of course. At nearly 23 million views on YouTube, “With Dad” strikes an emotional chord in the hearts of the Super Bowl audience, which is largely comprised of families. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, 47 percent of Super Bowl viewers said that the actual game is the most important part of Super Bowl Sunday, while 41.3 percent of those surveyed said that commercials and spending time with family are the most important parts of the day. Nissan’s “With Dad” campaign tugs at the heartstrings, and smartly showcases the brand throughout. To compliment the familial theme of the campaign, Nissan donated $1 million to organizations that support other hard working families, like those featured in the commercial.
5 Doritos “Middle Seat”
Frito Lay brought back its popular “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, where Doritos lovers everywhere create their own commercial, and compete to win $1 million. The contest has been held since 2006, and is currently the largest online video contest in the world. Last year, the winning video, “Middle Seat” featured that guy you never want to get stuck sitting next to on the plane. He’s flossing, he’s cutting his toenails, he’s…just disgusting. When a beautiful blonde boards the plane, he changes his tune and tries to lure her to his aisle with a bag or Doritos. Not only did the video have more than 2 million views on YouTube, but strong interaction on Twitter from fans imitating the “middle seat” struggle. Best of all, other submissions for the “Crash the Super Bowl” commercials could also be viewed on YouTube. Doritos enjoyed all the perks of free advertising, while viewers were given the opportunity to interact with the brand. Win-win. The Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign reiterates the importance of actively engaging the Super Bowl’s 115 million viewers, and giving them a chance to take the field.
The Super Bowl is TV’s biggest night, but for these advertisers, the game didn’t end after the fourth quarter. Great advertising campaigns can be iconic and forever associated with a brand. No pressure. Approach your Super Bowl campaign on your A-game, whether your brand has a big TV-spot or is strictly on social. Who knows? Maybe you’ll make this year’s list.