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Think Nothing Big Happened at the Super Bowl? Think Again.

Sunday night proved to be a bit of a bore with the Seahawks dominating the entirety of the game. So what kept us watching at DGC? The marketing showdown of course! Here are a few trends that emerged from the biggest night in advertising:

  • Nostalgia trumped glitz: A lot of brands like Anheuser-Busch, Chevrolet and Maserati took the sentimental route, opting for feel-good over splashy spots. For example, Microsoft inspired us with a :60 spot narrated by Steve Gleason, a former NFL player with ALS, through the use of eye tracking technology on a tablet. Steve speaks about how technology has the power to “take us places we’ve only dreamed of” as we see images of technology helping a woman hear for the first time, a child run with prosthetic legs and an elderly man losing his eyesight paint.
  • Brands ambush the Super Bowl: Brands that didn’t have TV spots during the big game got creative in how to reach large audiences. Newcastle was a winner, enlisting Anna Kendrick to star in its video “Behind the Scenes of the Mega Huge Football Game Ad Newcastle Brown Ale Almost Made.” While on the other end of the spectrum, jcpenney was sending out tweets filled with typos, calling it a stunt to promote its “Go USA” mittens. Other brands certainly had fun in the social conversation – Coors Light chimed in to suggest the department store drink responsibly and Kia offered a designated driver.
  • Light humor reigned: There was far less over the top, slapstick humor during this year’s big game. Outside of the expected Go Daddy ad, brands and advertisers went with lighter humor. Take Volkswagen’s “Wings” spot created by Project: Worldwide agency ARGONAUT where every 100,000 miles, a German engineer received a pair of wings. And in TurboTax’s “Love Hurts,” the brand compared watching the game between two teams that aren’t your own to watching your crush dance the night away at prom with a cool dude that isn’t you. And, on another nostalgic note, DGC client David&Goliath brought us back to The Matrix in its newest spot for Kia.
  • Double spots: Brands like Pistachio and Chevy doubled up on spots during the game. For instance, we got to see Stephen Colbert try to rely on his fame alone to carry the pistachio commercial but unfortunately fell short. In the second spot, the branding is amplified to the point where Colbert cracks his head open to reveal a pistachio inside.

And it didn’t stop there. Denver-based DGC client and Project: Worldwide agency Motive, along with Mekanism, created the Super Bowl Halftime Show for Pepsi. And DGC client Pandora hosted a “Pandora Presents” Event at the Bud Light Hotel in NYC on January 31. The show was headlined by Imagine Dragons, who just came off its well-received Grammy performance and Grammy award win the previous weekend.

We hope you enjoyed game day as much as we did. What was your favorite part?

SXSW 2013: Day 2 — Brand Fans, Yammer + Matthew McConaughey

DGC reporting live from day 2 at SXSWi 2013! The festival is in full gear, with early to mid-morning panels so packed lines were snaked around buildings and one-in, one-out policies were being enforced. We did manage to make a few sessions that boosted big names and big brands. Among them:

Brand Fans, the New Brand MarketersModerated by Mashable’s Todd Wasserman and featuring Facebook Creative Strategist Kevin Knight, PepsiCo’s Global Head of Digital Shiv Singh, and Frito-Lay’s Sr. Director of Brand Marketing Jen Saenz, this panel covered the rise of crowdsourcing, its merits, and how it’s disrupting traditional marketer/agency relationships.

PepsiCo has crowdsourced a number of brand initiatives, including Do Us A Flavor, a flavor naming and defining contest for Lay’s, and Crash the Super Bowl, a contest for user-generated commercials for Doritos.

Why crowdsource?  It’s a way to engage consumers with a brand in a personal matter on their own terms, Saenz said. What’s more, at a time when consumers have their own media channels in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, it’s a natural way to extend reach and drive the all-powerful personal stamp of approval for a brand, Singh said. Wasserman asked if crowdsourcing – with its focus on the wisdom of crowds — lessens the need for ad agencies and marketing skills. Knight replied that great creative agencies makes strong emotional connections between consumers and brands, so the best ones will be able to use crowsourcing as a tool to make even better marketing.

Insights about InnovationA “Fireside chat” featuring Mahalo.com CEO and Founder Jason Calacanis interviewing Yammer Founder and CEO David Sacks (also the former Chief Operating Officer of PayPal).  This wide-ranging discussion covered Sacks’ views on the four big players in tech and what he looks for when funding a startup.

Sacks said he only wants to invest in companies that will overhaul an industry – his latest investment, Houzz, is an app for remodeling homes – and that the first question he asks of new products is: does it promote a behavior I can see consumers engaging in?  When asked about copycat products and services in the tech world, he quoted the famous Picasso saying “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal,” and said that one of the greatest flaws in a product managers is excessive pride.

And lastly, a little Page Six-style gossip: SXSWi is teeming with celebrities.  So far, our team has spotted New Girl’s Jake Johannsen, Two and a Half Men’s Chuck Lorre, Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley, Matthew Just Keep Livin’ McConaughey and one of this DGC’ers personal heroes: David Carr of the New York Times. Signing off for now …

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