This Sunday, millions of Americans will huddle around their televisions eager to see who will be named the champion of Super Bowl XLIX. The grand sporting event is consistently the most-watched television program in the United States. In 2014, 111.5 million people tuned in, the most in Super Bowl history. This year should also see record numbers as the Seahawks and Patriots compete.
But the winning team is not the only thing that will be immortalized; commercials during the event can be just as celebrated and remembered as whichever team claims the title. The best advertisements quickly go viral and many viewers watch just to see what interesting, funny, and creative commercials have been cooked up for this year.
The most impressive and famous advertisements from previous events showcase lessons for companies wanting to create organizations with a company culture just as enticing and anticipated as these viral ads. Take a look...
"The Force" – Volkswagen Passat
Lesson: Reward Ambition
In 2011, the entire Super Bowl audience was charmed with the adorably decked out young Darth Vader as he unwaveringly attempted to use "the force" without any luck. Even after half a dozen attempts and failures, his resolve remained. If companies could source and hire staff with this same mindset, no idea would seem too far-fetched and no failure would be too great an obstacle. Often organizations do find employees like mini Darth; however, bureaucracy and politics trample their optimism. An employee may keep dreaming of using the force, only to have their vision stifled. Instead of crushing passion, companies should encourage the wild ideas and creative dreams that can lead to innovation and success.
"Pug Attack" Crash the Super Bowl 2011 Winner – Frito-Lay
Lesson: Recognize Ideas
Since 2006, Frito-Lay has been challenging fans to "crash the Super Bowl" by creating their own Doritos advertisements where at least one fan-made commercial is guaranteed to run during the big event. The "Crash the Super Bowl" competition has become the largest online video contest in the world. Nearly every year, the Doritos ad quickly goes viral. Frito-Lay understands that their fans can generate more energy and creativity than a whole team of expert marketers.
Too often, companies forget that, like Doritos enthusiasts, their employees are reservoirs of knowledge and ideas that may never be used. By embracing ways to get employees involved and excited, companies will tap into the potential and talent from a previously unused source. Using this principle, Doritos has continually aired some of the most memorable Super Bowl ads, including "Pug Attack," a favorite over the years.
"Puppy Love" – Budweiser
Lesson: Make Connections
The Budweiser Clydesdales made their Super Bowl commercial debut almost 30 years ago at Super Bowl 20. Last year, Budweiser aired "Puppy Love," which features an unlikely friendship between the iconic Clydesdale and a feisty pup. Many Super Bowl commercials rely on slapstick or flash, but Budweiser was able to differentiate itself by telling a story that was simple, emotional, and universal. No one could withstand the charms of this animal duo.
People relate strongly to stories and experiences. If companies focus on telling narratives that convey real emotion and focus outward (you won't find a single mention of Budweiser's brand or beverage in the commercial until their logo at the end), then the company will grow beyond a product, into a legacy, much like Budweiser's recurring Clydesdales.
Readers, who will you be rooting for in the Super Bowl? Comment and let us know! Then, this Sunday, while you're watching the game, take note of the commercials and tell us which ones resonated with you.