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Ad Bowl 2024 in Review

April 09, 2024 9:00AM

Ad Bowl 2024
An Event Reflection

By: Noah Polipnick

This year, about 123 million people watched the Super Bowl on Saturday, February 11th making it the most watched event in the United States since the moon landing. This monumental event brings millions of people together every year for more than just football; it is one of the most spectacular shows of marketing across the globe. 

The week following the Super Bowl, the MN AMA hosted the annual Ad Bowl where creative professionals from the Twin Cities gathered to share about the big game's best and most unique ads.  The MN AMA and Colle McVoy had the pleasure of hosting over 100 attendees at the event. 

This year, the event featured five amazing panelists, each representing a unique subclass of marketers, and our wonderful host Meghan Figueroa.

  • Meghan Figueroa is the VP Group Creative Director at Colle McVoy.
  • Missy Young is the Associate Director of Social Strategy at Fallon.
  • Tess Nyberg is the Group Creative Director at BBDO MW.
  • Beth McGuire is the Vice President of Brand and Corporate Marketing at UnitedHealthcare.
  • Dave Fransen is the Senior Vice President at Exponent PR and Colle McVoy
  • Neil Goodspeed is the Chief Media Officer and Senior Partner at Carmichael Lynch.

Figueroa opened the evening with a round-robin discussion of each panelist's favorite ad of the game.  She spoke to the power of collaboration with each panelist bringing their own expertise to the table.  “You don’t always get this many great people together.”  She continued, “It is great to have so many different people sharing their ideas in a space like this.”

Goodspeed said his favorite ads were Reese’s and Dove.  He described the Reese’s as, “chaotic but recognizable.”  The ad showed a wild array of people reacting positively to the news of a new Reese's product. The ad was the perfect mixture of fun and informative making it a hit with broader audiences.  Goodspeed also commented on the Dove ad.  “It’s not marketing a product, but it’s building a brand.”  Dove’s ad was more of a brand-building piece, emphasizing the support for young girls in sports stating that 45% of girls quit sports by age 14.  This ad was designed to raise awareness while also building the company's overall brand image.  This dual purpose resonated strongly with younger generations, as data shows consumers are strongly motivated to engage with a company that practices both good business and philanthropic activities.

McGuire mentioned the Google Pixel ad.  This ad provides a spotlight on Google’s flagship phone, the Google Pixel, and its accessibility functions.  This ad shows an individual with vision impairment using one of the Pixel’s camera features which audibly tells how many people/objects are in the photo frame.  This ad provides an insight to the individual’s lifestyle and how the feature can improve quality of life.  It is simple, clean, and well-executed, and it positively portrays a group of individuals that don’t always get included or recognized in generic marketing efforts.

Fransen was able to provide insight into Colle McVoy’s work with Frank's Red Hot.  Fransen and his team partnered with Jason Kelce, a former player for the Philadelphia Eagles.  Fransen spoke positively of the experience, “23 days prior, they came up with the idea.  Jason Kelce signed several days later.”  He continued to speak on the intense nature of the work; 23 days is an ambitious turnaround time, especially for an ad campaign during the Super Bowl.  In the end, Fransen and his team were able to successfully execute their vision, and they couldn’t be happier with the results.

A couple of the panelists also talked about their most valuable insights of the evening.  Nyberg mentioned the importance and relevance of diversity: “It’s always something to work on; we have so much more to improve on.”  Making a clear effort to create inclusive marketing is continuing to be more and more important, and consumers are expecting this to be the standard, not the exception.  Young spoke about her specialty: social media, interactive media, and influencers.  “Social needs to be a part of everything - from concepts to design - it makes the product better!”  This was also seen in many companies’ strategies.  DoorDash committed to a strong social push during the game, and many watchers were able to participate in a live sweepstakes to win a variety of prizes. 

Finally, a few of the common themes during the panel discussion were…

  1. Celebrity vs Celery - many ads feature celebrities, but with so many different celebrities flashing across the screen, it is important to make it meaningful.  How does the celebrity add value to the message?  Do they provide humor, or perhaps a clever play on words?  A few such examples are State Farm’s ad with Arnold Schwarzenegger and CereVe’s ad with Michael Cera.  According to the panelists, these short videos left a memorable impression.
  2. Simple messaging is best!  When it comes to capturing an audience's attention, marketers only have a few seconds to make a lasting impression.  Keep your messaging short and sweet.  This can help ensure your message is clear and cost-efficient.
  3. Execution is key to authenticity.  Many panelists stressed the idea that a good advertisement is something that has a clear plan from beginning to end.  A holistic approach and excellent execution are what truly set a marketing piece apart.  Beginning with a creative concept that reflects your brand’s message and having a well-done execution is something that cannot be overstated.  Google had a fan favorite with the Google Pixel ad.  This ad utilized simple messaging and an authentic execution that made this arguably one of the best ads of the game.

In summary, the MN AMA's Ad Bowl event was a great success. Panelists were able to share their unique perspectives and opinions on the multitude of ads shown during the game. Insights emphasized diversity, social media integration, and the importance of simple, authentic messaging. Common themes included the significance of meaningful celebrity endorsements and the effectiveness of clear execution.  And most importantly, local marketers were able to connect, learn, and grow together.  This year's Super Bowl was the picture-perfect opportunity to turn ideas into action, and customers into fans.

To learn more about key strategies for successful advertising campaigns and to stay in the loop on new marketing trends, visit the MN AMA website and consider becoming a member.