I start this post with a title that is a teaser. Of course it matters. As one of the few things in life that rivals my passion for advertising, I know it matters. It matters to fan engagement and excitement. It matters to sponsors. It matters to a lot of people. This year it is a battle of one of the NFL’s most gifted young quarterbacks, Russell Wilson, and a beloved season veteran, Peyton Manning– who just had the best season ever from a statistical perspective.
But, the question has a deeper meaning to it beyond the surface. Does who is playing matter for advertisers? It can, but I am not thinking in terms of market sizes or segments. A lot of people are going to be watching the Super Bowl by default. The question is whether any brand will take advantage of the climate around the game to use their advertising in clever and engaging ways.
One of the best examples of this in recent years occurred last year when Tide ran a spot entitled “Miracle Stain.” The premise of the spot was simple: guy spills on his 49ers jersey a stain that takes the form of Joe Montana. The stain is marveled at by onlookers and leads people to worship the jersey as a hyperbole of fandom begins. The story ends by the wife washing the stain away. It turns out she wasn’t just doing laundry; she was a Raven’s fan. My description does not do the spot justice, so it is worth seeing it here:
The advertisement won Kellogg’s Super Bowl Advertising Review outright for good reason. The spot was on brand; Tide is all about stains and Tide’s equity as the brand leader to effectively eliminate them. But, the spot did more than tell an engaging story, it was one of the few spots to take advantage of the fact that the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Raven’s were the actual teams playing in the Super Bowl. This gave the advertisement a layer of connectedness we didn’t see in other spots that helped it rise above the rest.
So, the answer to the question of this post is, yes, it matters. But, I find this builds another important question: Will anyone else figure out a creative way to be extremely relevant to the consumer this year?