First Impressions of the #SB50 Brand Campaigns

Maybe the biggest unintentional winner this year: Budweiser making it into Peyton’s on-field championship speech. You just can’t buy that kind of advertising… or can you?

Now, I’m not saying that everything that everyone on a major stage says, wears, or drinks is paid for, but it certainly seems like that’s where the money is headed right now, and the big traditional ad buy is now just a supporting piece of the message (that’s a good thing – it means more interesting ads).

This Super Bowl had plenty of storylines (Superman vs the Old Man, Peyton’s Last Rodeo), but the one that we’ve been talking about is the way that attention has diffused from the TV spot.

There’s never been a bigger time to be a brand at the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to run a TV ad at all – and this is what’s really got me excited: We’re finally embracing the fact that it really doesn’t matter how/where we get the message across, just that it’s good when it gets there.

In this week’s Social Brief, we’re going to take a look at the Super Bowl winners, and what they did differently to break through.

Also, weiner dogs.


Yeah, that Pokemon.

There are a lot of things that go into a smart campaign, but Pokemon’s media buyer needs some kind of award for this one. The concept is that the game from your childhood is back. Nothing special, right? Well, put that message in a place where it seems completely out of place, reminding millennials of something that they haven’t thought of in a decade, and you’re going to catch ’em all.

Here’s why it’s genius: The ad was good, sure, but not amazing. What it did was find the millions of outliers, the gamers, the Twitch-ers, the non-football fans who watch their 1 game per year, mostly for the halftime show. It collected all of those people who don’t identify with the beer & bro ads, and dominated their conversation.

Well played, media buyer. I don’t know how you pitched the $5mil price tag but you, too, deserve to be drinking a lotta Budweiser after that win.


The team over in Ketchup-land dreamt up a pretty good idea, and executed pretty well, and then hit it out of the park with a team of weiner dogs. I talk about this all the time, and it’s awesome to see it come together so well.

Brands and agencies get so hung up in the big day, that they forget that their customers aren’t just paying attention when they’re talking. For their big SB spot, Heinz built a family of sauces, a hashtag: #MeetTheKetchups, and personalities around each through Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Then, once it was time, they dropped the ad on YouTube and it blew up.

No one really cared about some strange guys dressed up in ketchup bottles on a brand’s social media channels, and a cute video of dogs running through a meadow is a clever trick to get views, but when one is used to set up the other, the result was magic.

Literally no one learned about ketchup through that ad – the awareness is there, but imagine how many people now will see the whole family of Heinz products on the shelves and smile, thinking about the little weiner-dudes jumping into their ketchup-family arms. That’s advertising gold right there.

Mountain Dew

WTF is a #PuppyMonkeyBaby, right? Exactly.

Weirdvertising is a trend that’s been going around for a little while now, and the basic formula goes something like this: Create something so weird that parents don’t get it, and kids will tell all of their WhatsApp friends about it.

Mountain Dew is pushing its party drink that combines juice, caffeine and Mountain Dew (read: Diabetic-coma-inducing-ADD-fuel). They captured that flicker of an attention span that still remains by combining a puppy, a monkey, and a baby into one weird AF pet-monster.

This one takes Seth Godin’s Purple Cow theory about as literally as possible, and you know what? It worked.

The internet loved it. Try watching the video a couple more times – it grows on you.

They didn’t leave the whole internet-trend thing to chance, though. They fuelled it by dropping Gifs, seeding messages with kid-influencers, and even enlisting the help of their previous campaign-influencers.


This was huge for Snapchat! The world was watching the biggest stage, and what they do better than anyone else in the game is live-event stories, so this was their big moment.

This morning, however, Snapchat should be feeling Cam’s pain – all of the tools to bring home the hardware, but got beat by the old guy who everyone had counted out.

In the long run, Snapchat will be bigger than Twitter – we know that – but on this day, Twitter proved that there’s still some fight in the old bird.

Snapchat did more for Fashion Week than it did for the Super Bowl, and it makes me wonder if they’re reading their own headlines. The opportunity for them was to show off to the Billions around the world just how awesome it is at telling a story, but instead it focused all of its attention internally, releasing Stories and promoting brands.

Speaking of brands on Snapchat, they did sell out all of their advertising spots, so the interest and budget is there, but on this day the congratulations, the journalists, and the celebrities jumped first to Twitter to talk about #SB50.

The Gatorade lens was pretty cool, too.


Thanks for reading week 4 of the Social Brief. If you have any feedback/suggestions/sarcastic comments to throw my way, by all means call me out in public: @Conner_G, or @JunctionYVR or just hit Reply to this email.

Would you rather get these in email form so that you don’t have to click around the internet for your briefs? Sign up here and it will be in your inbox every Monday: The Social Brief Signup