The Eagles did anything but take it easy on Sunday night, soaring to new heights by taking their first ever Super Bowl title, downing the New England Patriots 41 – 33.

It wasn’t just the 22 men on the pitch making headlines though.

For many viewers of America’s most eagerly anticipated sporting event, the break-time commercials are even more of an annual feast for the eyes than the game itself, and 2018’s fare certainly didn’t disappoint.

Doritos and Mountain Dew teamed up with one of the hottest actors from the small screen, Peter Dinklage, along with silver screen staple Morgan Freeman, for a lip sync rap battle to end all battles. If Freeman busting a rhyme to Missy Elliott’s ‘Get Ur Freak On’ fulfils any fantasies of yours, then this was the advert for you. It married together a popular modern concept in the form of Lip Sync Battle (originally a recurring segment on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, now a show in its own right presented by LL Cool J) together with seamless product placement.

Jeep, on the other hand, decided to play the nostalgia card by enlisting the help of Jurassic Park’s Jeff Goldblum for 60 seconds of car fan fiction.

“I’m thinking Jurassic Park.”
“Yep. Love it.”
“With Jeff Goldblum.”
“Jeff? Could we get Jeff? Anna, get Jeff on the phone!”
“And he’s in a jeep…”
“Sure. With you…”
“But this time, he’s chasing the T-Rex!”

You can almost hear the gleeful cries of the marketing team at Jeep when the idea came to fruition, with those memorable notes of John Williams’ score penetrating the psyche and entrancing the people of the United States.

Perhaps the biggest game changer of 2018 though, was the diversity of Keanu Reeves’ acting skills in Squarespace’s humorous offering. He cries, he eats marshmallows, he howls at the moon, all whilst sat around a campfire monologuing about the simple process of web design. Not since running for a bus in 1994 has Keanu captivated audiences to such an extent.

What sets all of these adverts apart though, is the reliance on social media to carry their message – long after the multi-million dollar pixels having faded from the screen.

Amazon’s ad for Alexa demonstrated how humour, clever scene-setting and some famous faces can really move the needle for customer engagement. Jeff Bezos himself makes another foray into the world of acting, asking of his staff whether “the replacements” are going to work after disaster strikes and Alexa loses “her” voice. By virtue of portraying celebrities Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson, Cardi B and Anthony Hopkins (feeding a peacock, no less) talking directly to device owners, the ad serves to further personify Alexa as the voice of knowledge in your home that you can no longer live without.

And guess what? The fans loved it! “It’s worth EVERY penny!!!’, “Well played Amazon”, “Oh man – @amazon takes the cake for best #superbowl commercial”. The audience have spoken and the critics agreed, with Amazon taking the top spot on USA Today’s Ad Meter.

More interesting than any of the adverts themselves is Amazon’s clever use of influencers in this campaign. Not only does it feature huge household names from a variety of backgrounds – actor, musician, chef – they also promoted the spot to their millions of followers on social media. The stars of the show have a combined following of 12m+ on Twitter, and all of them duly plugged the advert on their feeds to big engagement figures with likes and comments in the thousands. A short GIF on Cardi B’s Instagram feed has been viewed over 4m times, with over 4.5k comments. A video of Ramsay unboxing his headset has received 1.2m views and counting.

It just goes to show that adverts alone aren’t enough anymore. If you’re spending big bucks on prime time exposure, you need to adopt an all-round strategy embracing social media in all of its forms. Oh, and it helps if you have a few famous friends up your sleeve with whom you can roll-out an organic influencer campaign to ensure you meet that end goal – sales. That’s why we’re in the marketing game, after all.

We can check out of marketing any time we like, but we can never leave #GoEagles.

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