What Budweiser’s Super Bowl Spot Says About Advertising in 2017
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At this year’s Super Bowl, Budweiser aired a commercial called “Born the Hard Way” that not only showcased its longstanding history of crafting beer in America, but also prompted discussion about cultural issues larger than the industry or brand itself. The short film highlighted co-founder Adolphus Busch’s journey to America and how he first received unwelcoming sentiments but, in time, worked to create one of America’s biggest beer companies. In essence, it’s the story of the ‘American dream’ that inspires people all over the world: no matter where you come from or what you look like, if you work hard and persevere you can achieve success. This message has particular relevance after the recent executive order on immigration, shedding light on advertising trends we can expect to see this year.
The most successful advertising campaigns of 2017 will look beyond self-interest and offer solutions for social change by embodying the principle that prosperity is the well-being of many, rather than the wealth of a privileged few. While purpose-driven storytelling demonstrates a brand’s role in social transformation and motivates changes in consumer thinking and behavior, it also reawakens the humanity behind the brand and carves out a distinct role in movements affecting the world. Budweiser wasn’t the only company to feature purpose in its Super Bowl commercials; Airbnb’s #WeAccept, Coca Cola’s #TogetherisBeautiful, 84 Lumber’s Journey 84, Kia’sHero’s Journey, Audi’s #DriveProgress, among others also presented messages with a mission during America’s most viewed annual television event.
Here are three essential takeaways that every brand should heed to create compelling advertisements in 2017:
1) Be a part of shaping cultural conversations – Companies are part of a larger global ecosystem and consumers are increasingly aware of the impact and influence brands have in society. Taking a stand on cultural issues bigger than your brand is a great way to show consumers your dedication to collective prosperity and build consumer goodwill, loyalty and trust. Aligning your brand with purpose will not only invoke an emotional response from viewers and distinguish your brand as a mission-driven leader, which will ultimately grow your bottom-line, but also illustrate your brand’s commitment to building a better world.
2) Take a stand even if some consumers don’t agree – Let’s face it, not everyone is going to agree with your brand’s mission especially when there are political undertones behind your messaging, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let consumers know where your brand stands on social issues impacting the planet. In fact, connecting with larger cultural issues will strengthen your brand and distinguish yourself from the competition. Some beer drinkers disapproved of Budweiser’s message, voiced through the hashtag #BoycottBudweiser which has been trending on social media platforms since the ad’s debut. While an ad of this nature may cost the company some sales in the short term, a strong statement on social challenges will build consumer goodwill and loyalty for those who believe in its mission over time.
3) Use purpose to scale marketing efforts – Research shows that the average internet user’s attention span is less than that of a goldfish so if you want to attract eyeballs, you need to create relevant, meaningful and shareable content within the online world. Purposeful messaging allows brands to engage in conversation across multiple channels to build reputation and drive earned media. Budweiser’s compelling short film depicted a relatable story with cultural relevance and, in turn, the advertisement was the most watched ad of the 2017 Super Bowl. What’s more is it’s been getting attention from consumers on social media as well as mainstream content hubs and has already been viewed over 21.5 million times on YouTube.
If you want to scale the impact and reach of your advertising campaigns, you must create content with purpose to not only carve out a competitive advantage by showing a leadership role in larger cultural conversations, but also gain word-of-mouth advertising and strengthen consumer engagement with your brand, which in turn will help your company grow.