Brands are Playing to Millennials on Super Bowl Sunday

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

Super Bowl Sunday, the Big Game, the Ship – whatever you call it, Millennials will be watching it. Last year, an estimated 108.4 million people tuned in for Super Bowl XLVII almost making history as the fourth most viewed program.  On February 2nd the Seattle Seahawks will take on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.  Even though the game is looking like it will be one for the history books, the anticipated advertisements are creating buzz about what we can expect this year.

According to research conducted by Venables Bell and Partners, 78 percent of Super Bowl viewers would rather watch the game with commercials as opposed to ad free.  Brands are spending close to $4 million for a thirty-second spot during prime viewing time.   Many advertisements will also encourage viewers to connect with the brand via social media.  Millennials are a multitasking generation and believe that social media enhances the viewing experience.  Twenty nine percent of Millennials argue that if they can’t engage in social media during the game they will be upset.

New trends for Marketing to Millennials™ are also affecting the way many brands are going to position themselves this year.  With a population of close to 80 million people, the purchasing power of Millennials is growing exponentially.  This year, story telling and nostalgic themes will be present in many of the top advertisements.

KIA won Millennials over when it introduced its dancing hamsters to the world.  In order to appeal to Millennials, KIA structured the campaign around four pillars – music, sports, pop culture and connected life. Instead of focusing on the hamsters KIA is bringing back the 90s during the Super Bowl this year.  Adage reported that KIA plans to feature a spot imitating The Matrix, making viewers “question what they thought to be true.”  Really, this is just a pull at the heartstrings of Millennials by bringing back the popular icons they grew up with.

Axe is another popular Millennial brand that is paying the big bucks for a Super Bowl time slot.  The advertisement, which was prereleased earlier this week, is not what viewers were expecting from the lustful body spray.  The Make Love Not War campaign tells a meaningful story in 60 seconds that emphasizes unity and love as opposed to sex and lust, which made the brand so popular.

Humor is still considered to be the way to connect to the majority of viewers tuning in and is a high value within the Millennial demographic.  The Super Bowl has become not only an NFL lover’s big day but also one of the most talked about and anticipated days in the marketing industry.  Now, 70 percent of Americans pay attention to who will be advertising during the Super Bowl before the big day.  Whichever team you are rooting for this year (cough, cough…go Seahawks!), the win for number one advertisement is anybody’s game.

Leah Swartz contributed to this post. 

Photo credit: flickr via  marsmet522

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.