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What do Super Bowl Ads do for a sponsor brand?

What do Super Bowl Ads do for a sponsor brand? What do Super Bowl Ads do for a sponsor brand? What do Super Bowl Ads do for a sponsor brand?
02/6/17
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by Bing Shao
A 30-second Super Bowl ad costs as much as$4.5 million in 2015 and a staggering $5 million in 2016. Such high cost does not make the list for ads lining up for Super Bowl any shorter. Why? Probably because it is one of the best opportunities for a brand to show their brand personality and reach more than 100 million viewers in 30 seconds. But how does it really affect brand equity? Does it always positively influence brand asset?

It has been one year since Super Bowl 50. Many people may still remember Doritos’ Super Bowl commercial “Ultrasound”. It featured a grumpy pregnant wife who had to put up with her insensitive husband munching on Doritos during an ultrasound. “Ultrasound” was considered one of Best Super Bowl Commercials in 2016, or maybe one of the best Super Bowl commercials ever. According to Adweek, it was the most shared Super Bowl ad in 2016. Due to its Super Bowl ad’s incredible success, Doritos improved its brand equity.

Even before Super Bowl 50, Doritos is a strong and established brand in BAV brandscape, which includes more than 3,000 brands across 200 categories in United States.  Doritos is a Leadership brand on BAV PowerGrid with four strong and balanced pillars: Differentiation, Relevance, Esteem and Knowledge.

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The sensational “Ultrasound” commercial during Super Bowl boosted Doritos’ Differentiation from 91 before the game (Second Half of 2015) to 96 after the game (First Half of 2016). Other brand equity metrics, such as Relevance, Esteem, and Knowledge, increased marginally. The Super Bowl commercial helped Doritos further establish its Leadership position in 2016.

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Differentiation measures the uniqueness of a brand. It is associated with profit margin and customer loyalty. It is a leading indicator of brand development. A highly differentiated brand has potential and momentum to become a leadership brand. In BAV studies, 21 out of the 35 Super Bowl sponsor brands measured in BAV study showed increases on Differentiation in 2016. Hyundai increased from 48 to 78 on Differentiation, as a possible result of their “First Date” commercial featuring Kevin Hart as an overprotective father. Snickers increased Differentiation from 65 to 84. T-mobile increased from 34 to 42. Overall, Super Bowl ads helped increase Differentiation for advertiser brands on an average score of 1.66 in the first half of 2016.

On the other hand, some brands did not successfully leverage the big moment to improve their brand equity.

Budweiser has been a long-standing Super Bowl sponsor. It is a well-known , and has a typical commodity brand pillar pattern: low Differentiation and high Knowledge, suggesting broad brand awareness but lacking distinctiveness. During Super Bowl 50, Budweiser featured Helen Mirren, the “notoriously frank and uncensored British lady”, in a PSA against drunk driving with a hashtag #GiveADamn. In another 30-seocnd spot, Budweiser hammered the message that Budweiser was proud to be a Marcrobrewery, while craft beer was penetrating the mass market. Unfortunately, these two spots did not increase Differentiation for Budweiser. As shown below, Budweiser’s Differentiation went down from 30 to 9 in the first two quarters of 2016. Relevance, Esteem and Knowledge also decreased during that period. Declines on all pillars led to a softened brand position for Budweiser; the decreased Brand Strength compromised the potential for future growth.

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Super Bowl ads by nature have positive influence on brand value, especially on the perception of Differentiation. With a unique brand positon and distinctive communication message, a brand can leverage this great opportunity to improve its brand value by increasing Differentiation.

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