How To Have A Great Super Bowl Debut

Super Bowl debutants have a big job to do. They have to hold their own against some of the biggest brands on the planet, and they have to introduce themselves to a super-size audience for the first time.And just like new athletes, some of them choke under the big game spotlight.

The mistake many of them make is to cram too much information in about their brand, desperate to get all their features and benefits out there. But the Super Bowl audience doesn’t want facts, it wants to be entertained. It’s a brilliant opportunity for brands to grab a bit of Fame, Feeling and Fluency. Since surplus Feeling (positive emotion higher than would be expected given a brand’s size) is the predictor of future growth, aiming for Feeling is more important than ever if you’re a small brand.

Two debutants particularly impressed us this year. One of them was bread brand Kings’ Hawaiian, which managed a 5-Star ad on its very first outing. It got this spectacular result by taking a leaf from the much-admired Doritos playbook, using comedy to communicate the fact that the brand exists, is delicious and highly desirable.

The other was Australia’s Yellow Tail Wines. We had a particular eye on this ad. One of our exciting bits of news last year was the opening of our Australian office, and Ed Harrison and his team there were keen to see how an Australian brand would do. The ad made the morning news down under, though reactions on Twitter were rather mixed – was a midly lecherous roo really the cultural ambassador America deserved?

They needn’t have worried. “Pet The Roo” got a strong 4-Star rating – excellent for a first-time advertiser. And the roo was very much the star, if our consumer verbatims were anything to go by. “The kangaroo was so amusing!” “I wanna kiss the roo!” “I loved the kangaroo he was funny”. (Though one sharp-eyed participant was less sure: “I feel the kangaroo was fake.”).

Some of the roo’s fellow countrymen may cringe,  but it looks like Yellow Tail have a great distinctive asset on their hands (or paws). And for brands wanting to make a splash, the message is clear. First impressions count, and if you’re introducing your brand to a big audience, make ’em laugh. In a Super Bowl dominated by humorous ads, there was probably no better time for debutants to shine.

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