With a viewership of over 100 million and a price tag of over $5 million for a 30-second spot, the Super Bowl is where advertisers pull out all the stops to show off their best work. And while TV ads tend to be a more B2C stomping ground, B2Bs also get in on the Super Bowl ad spend.
Whether your B2B aspires to have memorable television spots or you are content with high-ROI and less risky B2B digital marketing endeavors, we can learn a lot from the ads that aired during Super Bowl LVIII. So, buckle up, grab some snacks, and get ready to learn what B2B marketers can learn from the best of Super Bowl 2023 commercials.
Storytelling and emotional connections are powerful.
Let’s face it; the best Super Bowl ads are the ones that tell a compelling story and make an emotional connection with the audience. And B2B marketers can learn a thing or two from this approach.
While B2B marketing may not always be as glamorous as B2C, the power of storytelling and emotional connection should not be underestimated. After all, people still make purchasing decisions, and emotions play a significant role in that process.
B2B marketers can create a more engaging and memorable message that resonates with their target audience by making them feel something—tug those heartstrings, make them laugh, or be really, really weird. (Go Daddy’s 2013 Super Bowl commercial still haunts us.)
But this year had its fair share of rock star commercials, too—and we think Workday would approve of that use of the word. The B2B brand’s 2023 Super Bowl commercial called out “corporate types” for calling each other rock stars. Really, does Ted from accounting level up to Paul Stanley, Joan Jett, Gary Clark Jr., Billy Idol, and Ozzy? According to the real rock stars, they’ve got some rooms to trash, stages to tour, and bad things to do before they can be considered rock stars. But, good news, if you want to be a finance and HR rock star, Workday’s got you covered.
The ad made us laugh, and it was a relatable connection. We’ve all been in a meeting where someone calls another a rock star; we’ve probably been on the giving or receiving end at some point. Workday’s marketing team also played on our love of nostalgia with those throwback rock stars.
Back in the 90s, two marketing professors, Morris Holbrook and Robert Schindler, conducted several studies on nostalgia marketing. Their findings said that consumers strongly prefer aesthetic products (such as movies and music) associated with their youth, specifically products that existed in their early to mid-twenties.
Make the most of each opportunity.
Rihanna was famously not paid to perform at the Super Bowl, but the payoff for her performance is huge. Her total on-demand streams rose 211% from the day before the Super Bowl through the day after the game, and her digital album sales soared by 301%, with digital song sales exploding by 390%, according to Luminate (formerly known as Nielsen). Not only did the appearance get her massive visibility, giving her more eyes, attention, and buzz than she’s had in a long time, it also gave her the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the spotlight and put the focus on her brand.
Instead of just performing her hit songs, Rihanna took the opportunity to showcase her business, Fenty Beauty. She debuted a new Fenty lipstick and even used her blotting powder in between numbers. Her onstage Fenty Beauty look—alongside her actually using a Fenty product while performing live—was the tipping point of a campaign that started before the game, a Fenty Beauty TikTok that showed footballs being covered in foundation in a variety of skin tones.
The result? Fenty Beauty’s visibility has increased significantly, and search for the brand has skyrocketed, increasing by more than 800%.
Rhianna managed to amplify her personal brand—as a musician, a business woman, and as working mom, famously wearing an unzipped jumpsuit to show off her pregnancy, which hadn’t yet been announced. She effectively used the Super Bowl spotlight to market all elements of her brand.
What can B2Bs learn from this? Every part of your public persona reflects on your brand, so use every opportunity to make a good impression. And to that end, take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Even though RiRi hasn’t released new music in nearly seven years, when the Super Bowl offer came in, she took advantage of it and made the most of it.
B2B marketers can do the same by implementing a long-tail PR approach—focus on taking opportunities as they come and leveraging them rather than holding out for one really big hit.
Make your ad—or event or launch date—the tipping point.
Fenty Beauty created viral TikToks leading up to the big game and Rhianna’s tipping point performance—but they weren’t the only ones connecting the dots and building buzz.
Squarespace has done it again. Last year we praised the website-building company for using what we dubbed the Zendaya Method.
The Zendaya Method is all about creating a pre-Super Bowl (or event or launch) marketing plan that includes social media, influencer marketing, and other tactics to generate buzz and anticipation for the tipping point. In the past, marketers have thought of the ad release, the product launch, or the event as the beginning of the campaign, but B2B marketers can create a more comprehensive marketing plan that maximizes the impact of their efforts by switching their perspective. This can include leveraging social media platforms, partnering with influencers, and creating teaser campaigns that build excitement leading up to the event.
This year, Squarespace recruited Adam Driver to ponder the existential nature of Squarespace being a website that makes websites. The four-part series ended with “The Singularity” Super Bowl ad that tied it all together. Squarespace launched a microsite to house all this content, including the offer of a limited edition template inspired by Driver’s commercials to Squarespace users.
Certainly, the Super Bowl provides a unique opportunity for marketers to showcase their creativity and brand values to a massive audience. But through analyzing the best Super Bowl ads of 2023, B2B marketers can learn valuable lessons to implement in their everyday marketing: the power of storytelling and emotional connection, the importance of making the most of every opportunity, and the need to create a comprehensive marketing plan that maximizes the impact of their efforts.
By taking these lessons to heart, B2B marketers can improve their advertising efforts and gain recognition for their creativity and ingenuity. Ready to take the next step? Reach out.