All in all, this was a bad year of Super Bowl ads. The only one I liked was McDonald’s. Their ad campaign, “Give Lovin’, Get Lovin’” is a great idea.
Through February 14th, 2015, Customers at the restaurant will be randomly selected to owe a new form of payment. Instead of cash or credit, they want their Customers to pay with lovin’, a play obviously off McDonald’s tagline, “I’m Lovin’ it.” In the ad, we witness people asked to dance, to fist pump the cashier, for a son to call his mom and tell her he loves her, and a mom to tell her son something she loves about him, among other acts of love. Not only is this campaign a play on our emotions, but it is also setting up the idea that eating at their restaurant is a happy experience.
I like this idea, even if I don’t love the company that is doing it. In the past year, they have had some bad press that associates negative feelings with their brand.
With this ad, they are associating happy feelings with their brand name. By creating an experience that is fun for their Customers, they are creating happy memories of the experience for those Customers. As I have written before, the memory of the experience is what brings Customers back.
This ad does, however, set an expectation and to be effective branding, it needs to deliver on the expectations it sets. How many people will this happen with? It has to be enough that we hear of it personally, otherwise people will just call it a gimmick. For it to be effective in creating a happy brand association, it should fall in with the idea of 6 degrees of separation, a theory we are all connected in six steps or less. For me to believe this is genuine, I need to hear one of my friends, or one of their friends have experienced this.
Last week, I posted about what to look for in the Super Bowl Ads. McDonald’s did a great job at meeting Tjaco Walvis three laws of branding in the ad to stimulate the four Ps (Place, Price, Promotion, and Product). By showing us regular people, they made it relevant to us; McDonald’s is a commonplace restaurant to which most of us have access. It was also coherent, in that it played upon their tagline, “I’m Lovin’ It,” with which most of us are familiar. Finally, it had a richness because the emotional connection it made to us by the honest reactions we witnessed from the participants chosen for the ad. These candid, genuine reactions stimulated a lot of areas across the brain.
I know based on social media chatter that my next statement will be unpopular, but I didn’t like the Budweiser ad. I thought they built up a lot of expectation on what a great ad they would show, and this commercial didn’t live up to it. I felt it didn’t do a great job of connecting the three laws of branding either. Puppies are cute, and Clydesdales are iconic for the brand, but I don’t feel like it had relevance, richness or coherence that is needed to create a great Super Bowl ad.
When it comes to branding, it is important that you create a positive and deliberate emotional connection between your product or service and your potential Customers. Many of the Super Bowl ads strove to do that, a few succeeded while others fell flat. However, lauded and anticipated as the ads are, the real successful ads will be the ones that create a lasting positive memory for us. Time will tell who the real winners of the Super Bowl Ads will be this year.
All in all, the McDonald’s Ad set the stage for being a great ad. If they do a good job of delivering the expectation they created with it, then I guess when it comes to this Super Bowl ad, I’m lovin’ it.
Which Super Bowl ad do you think did a great job? I’d love to hear your favorites in the comments below.
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Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker.
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