Commercial Ads Are About the Audience, Not the Product

Commercial Ads

I’ll keep this short and sweet.

Each year I look forward to the Superbowl. Not just because it is the most highly anticipated game of the year, but because it is a hotbed for experimenting with new innovative approaches to product marketing.

Fear not!!! I’m not going to post yet another ranking of the best and worst ads for the night, but rather point out what I believe to be an ‘unusual shift’ in how companies look to engage with their core audience.

This year marked a transformational shift in marketing-as-usual where the product is no longer front and center, but rather a byproduct of something greater than all of us. From Nissan to Coke to McDonalds to Microsoft, each company consistently used the power of storytelling to draw in the audience towards a larger calling – a purpose that is meant to inspire. As Simon Sinek often puts it, companies focused not on the ‘what’ or ‘how’ of their products, but rather on the ‘why’.

Below is a list of ads that I believe did an ‘ok’ job in finding a larger meaning and purpose behind why we should buy (or at least explore) their product. (you can view them all by clicking here)

Always (P&G) – “Like a Girl” // Toyota – “My Bold Dad” // NFL – “No More” // Microsoft – “Braylon O’Neill” // McDonald’s – Pay With Lovin” // Nationwide – “Make Safe Happen” // Weight Watchers – “All You Can Eat” // Nissan – “With Dad” // Dove Men+Care – #RealStrength // Coca Cola – “#MakeItHappy” // Bud Light – “Real Life Pac Man” // BMW – “Newfangled Idea”

While I was largely disappointed with the quality of advertisements on display this year, I was highly mesmerized but what I believe is a permanent and unusual shift when it comes to messaging products. In prior years, these types of purpose-focused ads were far and few between. But now, the time has come. Finally, I believe more and more organizations are starting to realize that people don’t just buy products, but rather buy an experience that resonates with their sense of being.

Again, while I believe the majority of the super bowl ads weren’t anything to write home about, I do hope that this unusual paradigm shift where companies begin to focus on the needs of the customer rather than the glitter of the product is here to stay forever.

(An important lesson I hope that many of my colleagues in healthcare soon realize.)

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