Brands hit brakes on pre-game Super Bowl marketing in 2019, analysis finds
- Super Bowl advertisers are off to a slower start this year compared to years past, with 24 brands releasing teasers or campaigns as of Jan. 27, spending $2.9 million on TV and earning more than 146,300 social actions, 9.5 million earned views and 28.4 million online views, according to an iSpot analysis of Super Bowl campaigns from 2015 to 2019 shared with Marketing Dive.
- Looking at past years’ campaigns as of the Monday before the big game, 36 brands had announced campaigns by the Monday before the big game in 2018, with TV spend reaching $38.8 million (the highest in the analysis), 108,600 social impressions, 12.4 million earned views and 61.7 million online views. In 2016, 61 brands had released campaigns, the most over the past five years and had the highest social actions at 1.8 million.
- Budweiser, Kraft and Expensify have dominated digital activity. Kia has already aired its Super Bowl spot 25 times with a $2.5 million spend and earned more than 55 million ad impressions.
A week before Super Bowl Sunday, just 24 brands had released teasers or full campaigns, trailing the past few years when more brands debuted content before the game. In the past few years, brands have caught flak for releasing campaigns early, prompting many to wait until closer to game day to debut their commercials. This year, brands, besides Kia, are being more modest about spending on TV before the big game, according to the report, which also reveals how some brands are winning with their digital strategies. It is too soon to know whether the decreased activity is because brands are waiting for the big game to ramp up their spending or if overall Super Bowl related spending will be down overall this year despite the fact that NFL ratings have improved this year.
Budweiser has managed to come out a leader in digital heading into Super Bowl week with its campaign, “Wind Never Felt Better,” which shows the brand’s commitment to brewing its beer with 100% renewable electricity from wind power and has racked up 3.5 million earned views, 8.36 million total online views, more than 10,000 social actions, along with 1.3 million TV impressions, earned through media coverage of the ad. The campaign accounted for 19.4% of all social activity for pre-releases as of Jan. 27, according to iSpot.
Both Budweiser and Kia are embracing cause-focused messaging for their Super Bowl campaigns. The brands’ high engagement levels align with previous research showing that consumers are responsive to brands that take positions on social issues. However, a recent study by Morning Consult and The Wall Street Journal’s CMO Today, revealed that two-thirds of Americans say the Super Bowl is not the place for advertisers to make political statements, suggesting brands that do wade into issues-based campaigns are likely to play it safe with messaging that is broadly appealing. Kia is using its Super Bowl push to launch “The Great Unknowns Scholarship” to help young people in need access higher education.
Kraft Heinz brand Devour debuted an “uncensored” food porn spot on Jan. 23, which generated 18.3% of social activity from all the pre-releases. The ad garnered 7.84 total views on YouTube, with 3.27 million of those coming without targeting spend. The spot also had nearly 12,000 social interactions and had generated 4.1 million TV impressions. Devour also ran ads on the website Pornhub this week in a continuation of its “food porn” theme.
Expensify released its campaign, a humorous music video staring rapper 2 Chainz and actor Adam Scott last weekend, and in a short timeframe generated 979,000 earned views.