Touchdown! Great Super Bowl campaigns you might have missed

It's time for Super Bowl LIV. Ahead of the big game, we've been back through our archive of past Cannes Lions winners in The Work to find five unusual campaigns that took marketing during the game in a new direction.  

1. It's a Tide Ad by Saatchi & Saatchi for P&G

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Multiple awards including a Film Lions Grand Prix in 2018

In this campaign, actor David Harbour set up the idea that whenever you see clean clothes in a Super Bowl ad, it’s actually a Tide ad. As a result he hijacks ads from other categories like car, beer, perfume, insurance, personal hygiene, cola and even a digital speaker, pointing out clean clothes in all of them. Then he invited the audience to keep their eyes open for the next #TideAd.

2. The Oreo Blackout Tweet by 360i for Mondelez International 

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Multiple awards including a Silver Direct Lion in 2013

The Super Bowl is the most watched television spectacle in the United States. In 2013, a power failure interrupted the big game, sending 100 million+ viewers racing to social media to discuss what had happened. Within minutes, Oreo tweeted a carefully crafted response. The brand’s audience was immediately engaged: 16,000 re-tweets, 18,000 Facebook Likes and 5,000 Facebook shares – all coming within the first hour. In total, this tiny tweet received weeks worth of press and more than 525 million earned impressions (5 times greater than the number of people tuning in to the game). All for zero media dollars.

3. If We Made It by Droga5 for Heineken

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Multiple awards including a Silver Creative Effectiveness Lion in 2013

Originally brewed in Newcastle-on-Tyne in England in 1927 to slake the thirsts of hardworking miners, Newcastle had managed to successfully invade the United States, buoyed by a great product and a ‘no bollocks’ attitude. However, in 2013 a decline in beer drinking and a vanishing marketing budget clouded its prospects. Overshadowed by deep-pocketed beer megabrands and a burgeoning craft beer sector, it had to figure out where to deploy its dwindling budget to make any kind of impact at all. Clever data analysis surfaced the fact that buzz drives sales, and that the best way of creating buzz is to barge into ongoing conversations. It just so happened that the biggest conversations held around a beer or two were about the Super Bowl. Sadly, this giant annual circus locked up by the big brewers, and in in any case is not affordable to a brand like Newcastle. In fact, they weren’t even allowed to use words S**** B***.

Newcastle defiantly decided to hijack the event by mercilessly parodying other brewers’ tired tactics. The ploy was simple: create maximum buzz to generate maximum awareness and consideration and hopefully giving sales a boost.

4. Exclusive the Rainbow by DDB Chicago for Mars

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Multiple awards including Golds in Brand Experience & Activation Lions and Social & Influencer Lions in 2018

DDB Chicago created a real, epic Super Bowl ad, but only showed it to one single person. Instead of yet another ad seeking the approval of millions, the commercial would be tailored to earn the love of only one – a real teenage Skittles fan from Canoga Park, CA named Marcos Menendez. The idea came to life in three phases, each timed and engineered to steal the attention of existing Super Bowl conversations. When compared to 2017 (when Skittles had an actual Super Bowl ad buy to drive the conversation…) the 2018 campaign exceeded earned media impressions in the lead-up to Game Day by over 10%. In Business Insider/ Amobee’s tracking of “the top 10 buzziest commercials of Super Bowl 2018”, the ad drove the sixth most engagement on digital content of any brand – beating out several actual big-spending, in-game Super Bowl advertisers.”

5. 1 Second Ad by Saatchi & Saatchi New York for Miller Brands

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Silver in the Film Lions in 2009

In order to avoid the $3 million cost of a 30 second spot on the Super Bowl, a 1 second ad was aired during the game. Additional 1 seconds spots were shown on a supporting Miller High Life website. The intended pre-game buzz created a greater media presence, free of charge.