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Football Meets Philanthropy: What nonprofits can learn from Super Bowl ads

in Communications, Marketing by Lauryn Rosinski Leave a comment

By Lauryn Rosinski – Marketing and PR Account Coordinator 

You know the drill: You walk into your office the morning after the Super Bowl. Your coworkers are gathered around the water cooler, talking excitedly. After all, they still cannot believe what they saw on television last night.

No, they aren’t talking about the game. They aren’t even talking about the halftime show. (Sorry, Justin Timberlake.)

They are talking about the commercials.

For the past 52 years, Super Bowl commercials have become famous for being creative, quotable and memorable. They have also been known to make smaller brands household names in a matter of seconds. In fact, some companies’ websites have shut down overnight from the sheer impact their commercials had on Super Bowl viewers.

Sure, we have all had a good laugh from watching whacky Doritos commercials. We may have even felt patriotic after watching the famous commercial in which Coca Cola customers sing “America the Beautiful” in different languages.

However, as entertaining as Super Bowl advertisements can be, they can also teach for-profit and nonprofit organizations about marketing, branding and using their creative voices to deliver a message.

Check out some examples of this year’s Super Bowl commercials – and see the key takeaways that nonprofits can learn from them.

1: Budweiser – “Stand by you”

Budweiser made a pretty shocking move this year when they decided to not feature their infamous Clydesdales in this year’s Super Bowl commercial. Instead, they went for a different approach – they promoted Anheuser-Busch InBev’s philanthropic water giveaways after natural disasters.

This Budweiser ad is successful for several reasons. First of all, it gives current and potential customers an idea of what happens behind the scenes at Budweiser. Secondly, it effectively promotes the Budweiser brand by telling a story. Thirdly, it explains that AB InBev is a beverage and brewing company that is also committed to creating a cleaner, healthier world through different initiatives.

And, most importantly, it shows why Budweiser helps with AB InBev’s mission.

When marketing themselves, nonprofits should take a page from Budweiser’s book. They need to focus on three key aspects of their organization – who they are, what they do and why they do it. This will not only help potential donors and volunteers understand their mission more clearly, but it will also inspire them to get more involved.

2: Groupon – “Who wouldn’t”

Groupon’s message for this year’s commercial was obvious; in fact, the star of the commercial, Tiffany Haddish, states what that it is in the first seven seconds of the ad:

“When you use Groupon in your neighborhood, you’re not only saving money – you’re also supporting local business.”

If the commercial just ended here, it would be considered boring and on-the-nose. However, the 2018 “Who wouldn’t” ad takes a silly approach following this statement. Haddish goes on to ask what type of people wouldn’t support local business. The viewers are then shown a comedic scene in which a snobby man talks about how he cannot stand local business – and later gets hit by a football.

Again, the message is simple – don’t be like this guy and to support local businesses by using Groupon.

This Groupon commercial exemplifies certain aspects of strong marketing. For one, its key messages are clear throughout the ad and it conveys the tone of the brand by using humor.

Before nonprofits market themselves, they must always keep the image of their brand in mind. What do they want target audiences to know about their organization? Who do they serve? How do they want to be remembered by potential donors and volunteers? If nonprofits can answer these questions, they will be able to market themselves more effectively and successfully.

3: Stella Artois – “Taps”

Anheuser-Busch knocked it out of the park again – and this time, they did it with a Stella Artois ad.

In the 2018 “Taps” commercial, viewers can see people using water as a part of daily life – whether they are taking baths, washing their hands or cleaning lettuce for dinner, they all have access to clean water. The commercial then shows people in developing countries, walking with large water jugs on their heads.

As A-list actor Matt Damon goes on to explain that, while some can get water within seconds, others have to walk six hours to get water for themselves and their families. He then encourages viewers to purchase limited edition Stella Artois chalices, with the proceeds of the purchases going to Water.org, an organization that invests in clean water initiatives.

This commercial will make you want to immediately purchase a Stella Artois chalice – and that is the whole point.

When reaching out to donors or volunteers, nonprofits should appeal to the emotional side of their audiences. After all, the nonprofit sector is an emotional business. It is heartbreaking to see the struggles and challenges those whom nonprofits serve face; however, having the chance to help them is also incredibly rewarding.

If nonprofits market themselves in a way Stella Artois marketed Water.org, they will be unforgettable and unstoppable.

4: Kraft – “Calling all families”

Although there are millions of nonprofits with different missions and goals, one theme throughout the sector remains the same – nonprofits thrive because real people get involved.

Although Kraft is not a nonprofit, the marketing saw the importance of real families and decided to promote them.

In the first installment of the “Calling all families” advertisements, Kraft encourages families to submit family photos via social media. During the second half of the Super Bowl, Kraft showed several pictures of beaming families, all of whom were hoping to be featured.

Kraft’s commercial is successful because it acknowledges its consumers and gives them an activity to get more involved in their brand. Nonprofits should take similar steps when marketing to volunteers, donors, staff members and other audiences. Whether it is a contest or simply saying “thank you,” nonprofits should show those dedicated to their mission that they are appreciated and needed.

 

Ultimately, nonprofits just need to stay true to themselves, the people they serve and their audiences.

At the end of the day, successful marketing will mean a touchdown for a nonprofit.