Super Bowl Predictions with Evan Rutchik

From Member Evan Rutchik, President, Americas, Ogury

Which agency/brand duo do you think will stand out this year?

The brands that will stand out most are those that not only provide an engaging ad experience, but that also provide support to local communities. With that said, the first brand that comes to mind is Verizon, as the company plans to use the Super Bowl as a platform to impact the community and society at large.

In addition to the commercial that will be aired, Verizon is hosting a virtual 5G stadium in which fans can interact with pro gamers and NFL players. The virtual venue was created in partnership with Fortnite maker Epic Games and digital agency Beyond Creative. Verizon will also host a virtual benefit concert to raise money for small businesses after the game with stars like Alicia Keys, H.E.R., Christina Aguilera, Luke Bryan, and Miley Cyrus. The event will prompt people to text to donate to a non-profit supporting small businesses. Additionally, Verizon will donate $10 million to the non-profit Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which will help provide financial support for businesses. It’s also pledging to help a million businesses through 2030 with digital tools and support.

I believe Verizon and its media agency Zenith will be clear standouts this year. Other brands that I’m keeping my eye on are Heineken and Amazon. Heineken due to the way it promotes its products while promoting social responsibility, and Amazon due to its creativity with personifying Alexa to showcase product benefits

As COVID is still prevalent, how is creativity being found through advertising? Do you think the tone of this year’s SB ads will be different than years past, due to the pandemic?

Consumer behavior has changed significantly this past year, and so have their attitudes toward advertising. Since March 2020, digital video consumption has increased by over 120%. Consumers are video-first when it comes to the content they engage with. Knowing this, brands should be video-first when it comes to their advertising efforts, but they need to communicate with caution.

Today, consumers are suffering from digital fatigue as screen time has soared across the globe. As a consequence, their tolerance for ‘hard sell’ ads has diminished. Consumers crave authentic messages and are no longer persuaded by ‘salesy’ promotions. Brands advertising during the Super Bowl should re-embrace the true purpose of advertising and focus the tone of their messages on brand and product discovery. This should be implemented across all channels that the brand is advertising on. From the big screen to the second screen in their consumers’ pockets. This will build a positive brand image and create lasting relationships with consumers.

As brands are under a microscope now more than ever to provide actionable solutions to their CSR initiatives, what advice would you give advertisers to ensure transparency through their ads?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a business model that helps a company be socially accountable to itself, its stakeholders, and the public. It has always been extremely important and has truly come to light this past year. With a greater focus on CSR, brands are rethinking their investments.

This has impacted Super Bowl advertising, with several major brands deciding to re-allocate the money they would spend on a 30-second commercial. Some of these brands include Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Audi, and Anheuser-Busch. Other brands plan to use the Super Bowl as a platform to support CSR initiatives, including Verizon as I previously mentioned.

Whatever the case may be, what consumers really crave from advertisers is transparency. From data sharing to ad preferences, my advice to brands is to only leverage safe data when activating campaigns. Whether it’s a brand advertising campaign, or a CSR campaign, activating your campaigns with safe data will protect you from legal, financial, and reputational risk, and it will provide transparency to your consumers.