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Our Blog March 11, 2024

What is ad marketing? & How Best Super Bowl Ad Lessons Can Boost Your Marketing

Writen by octaadsmedia

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Super Bowl Ad

Did you know that people who click on ads are 50% more likely to buy a product than organic visitors? If you want to attract more leads that convert, ad marketing is the right strategy for you. Ad marketing will help you create compelling advertisements that entice your audience to engage with your business and purchase your products.

On this page, we’ll answer the question “What is ad marketing?” and discuss how to accomplish it, as well as recommendations for producing more effective advertising campaigns.

What is ad marketing?

Ad marketing is a way of reaching people through paid advertising methods. When you use ad marketing, you create specific messages to motivate people to take action. Whether it’s to sign up for a newsletter or buy your products, you’re using a targeted message to get your audience to interact with your business.

When it comes to online ad marketing, you want to produce commercials that will stick with your target demographic. If your advertisements do not persuade your target audience to make a certain decision, you will not get the desired outcomes. There are two basic strategies for ad marketing:

We will go into these tactics later. When you launch an ad marketing campaign, your advertising will only run for as long as your budget allows. When your money is out, your ad will cease airing.

As a result, sponsored advertisements are among the most cost-effective marketing tactics available. This procedure varies from organic methods in that organic methods can continue to produce outcomes even when no money is invested. Paid advertising will only display if you have a current budget to keep them running.

For example, if you run a PPC ad and optimise your website to rank in search results, it may continue to show at the top of the results even if you no longer pay for search engine optimisation (SEO) services. If your PPC budget runs out, your ad will no longer display in the search results. Online advertising is straightforward to track and helps you to target people who are interested in your business.

It’s a terrific method for attracting more interested leads and converting them into sales for your company.

Here we see some popular ads that can boost marketing sales

The Super Bowl is one of the most watched television events in the United States, with over 90 million viewers tuning in every year. This massive viewership has turned Super Bowl commercials into a cultural phenomenon of their own. Brands invest millions of dollars into creating unforgettable ads that will capture the public’s attention.

While meant to be entertaining, these big-budget commercials also provide important lessons for marketers and advertisers. Super Bowl ads give us a glimpse into the priorities and strategies of major brands. Analyzing the most popular Super Bowl commercials reveals insights into effective advertising across mediums.

In this article, we will highlight some of the best Super Bowl ads from recent years. We’ll examine key factors that made these ads successful, memorable, viral, and worthy of the hefty price tag. These lessons in creativity, emotion, storytelling, and innovation can inform content marketing and digital advertising efforts across all industries and budgets. When creating your own videos and campaigns, keep some of these Super Bowl ad tactics in mind.

Most Popular Super Bowl Ads

The Super Bowl is known for debuting some of the most iconic and influential ads that garner significant pop culture buzz. Here are some of the most popular and impactful Super Bowl ads from over the years:

Apple’s 1984 Ad

Apple’s 1984 ad announcing the Macintosh computer is considered one of the most memorable Super Bowl ads of all time. The ad invoked George Orwell’s novel 1984 and portrayed IBM as an evil “Big Brother” entity. With its cinematic quality, metaphorical messaging, and element of surprise, this ad generated intense interest in the Macintosh launch.

Budweiser’s Whassup?

This hilarious 1999 ad featuring friends casually greeting each other by saying “Whassup?” became a cultural phenomenon. The ad’s unique concept, funny delivery, and highly quotable catchphrase made it an instant hit that was continuously referenced in pop culture for years.

Volkswagen’s The Force

Volkswagen’s 2011 ad featuring a young boy dressed as Darth Vader seeming to use The Force to start a Passat car was a creative way to highlight the car’s remote start feature. Its imaginative plot, cute lead child actor, and Star Wars tie-in made it a much-talked-about ad.

Always’ #LikeAGirl

Always’ 2014 ad promoted a message of female empowerment by addressing negative stereotypes associated with doing things “like a girl.” It struck an emotional chord with its poignant message about girls’ confidence and self-image. The ad’s viral hashtag launched a broader social movement.

Budweiser’s Lost Dog

Budweiser’s 2015 ad told an epic story of a lost puppy finding its way home. The ad’s serialized narrative, appealing puppy star, and emotional highs and lows connected with viewers, making this popular ad the most shared Super Bowl ad that year.

Use of Humor

The Super Bowl is known for its funny ads that aim to entertain and delight viewers. Humor is an effective technique for cutting through the noise and capturing attention during the big game’s ad breaks. Some of the most iconic and memorable Super Bowl commercials have made audiences laugh.

Brands often rely on humor because it forges an emotional bond and connection with the audience. A funny ad that gets people chuckling will be more likely to be remembered and shared. Using comedy and jokes in advertising has proven results in building brand awareness and positive associations.

Some classic examples of funny Super Bowl ads include:

  • Budweiser’s 1999 ad featuring a group of frogs chirping “Bud-wise-errr” in unique voices. The critters belting out the brand name in harmony created a silly and lighthearted spot.
  • In 2011, Volkswagen’s ad for the Passat showed a young child dressed in an adult costume trying to be Darth Vader. He believes he has used “The Force” when he turns on the car’s engine and activates its features. The ad struck a humorous chord about imagination and the inner child in all of us.
  • Doritos ads have reliably brought the laughs, especially with their “Crash the Super Bowl” contests where fans submit ideas. A hilarious 2012 ad showed a dog bribing a man with Doritos to keep his dirty secret about chasing a cat.
  • Kia’s 2019 commercial featured robots from the future looking back with nostalgia on present day humans. It poked fun at mundane activities like taking selfies as special moments to treasure.

Funny ads like these tickle our funny bone and bring a smile to our face amidst the high stakes competition unfolding on the field. Brands know that making us laugh goes a long way.

Celebrity Appearances Drive Engagement

Brands often leverage celebrity star power to capture attention during the Super Bowl. With over 100 million viewers, it’s one of the biggest opportunities of the year to align your brand with a famous face.

Notable celebrity-filled Super Bowl ads over the years include:

  • Matthew McConaughey for Lincoln in 2020. McConaughey reprised his role as the smooth-talking spokesman in a 60-second comedic spot.
  • Bill Murray for Jeep in 2020. Murray appeared in a 60-second nostalgic ad that inserted him into the 1993 film Groundhog Day.
  • Michael B. Jordan for Amazon Alexa in 2018. Jordan played Alexa’s “body” in humorous scenarios alongside Amazon’s voice assistant.
  • Gal Gadot for Wonder Woman 1984 / HBO Max in 2021. Gadot promoted the streaming service’s simultaneous release of the superhero sequel.
  • Dolly Parton for T-Mobile in 2022. Parton and Miley Cyrus teamed up in a musical ad set to Dolly’s hit song “5 to 9.”

The power of celebrity endorsements comes from the audience’s existing connection to and interest in the star. Their fame, likability, expertise, or aspirational qualities get transferred to the brand. During the Super Bowl, celebrities can generate buzz, press coverage, social media engagement, and brand recall.

Brands must ensure the celebrity aligns well with their image and target demographic. Poor fits can feel inauthentic or damage the star’s appeal. When done right, celebrity ads capture attention and drive business results.

Cultural References Connect Audiences Through Shared Experiences

Some of the best Super Bowl ads tap into pop culture trends, current events, or other cultural touchpoints that allow brands to instantly connect with their audience. By referencing something viewers are already familiar with or tapping into the cultural zeitgeist, brands can craft ads that feel entertaining, relevant, and engaging.

For example, in 2018 Amazon’s Alexa ad featured celebrities and characters like Gordon Ramsay, Cardi B, and Anthony Hopkins portraying Alexa in various popular film and TV settings. This tapped into the audiences’ knowledge of pop culture to imagine the absurdity of Alexa inwell-known scenarios.

Budweiser’s 1999 ad depicting the iconic Clydesdale horses kneeling down in a football stadium also relied on cultural knowledge, as it paid tribute to the tradition of players “taking a knee” after an important victory. Viewers could instantly understand the symbolism and appreciation being conveyed through this familiar sports ritual.

So while it takes creativity to effectively tap into culture, the familiarity for viewers creates an instant emotional connection and understanding that branding alone may not achieve. The shared experience, whether it’s understanding a celebrity portrayal or recognizing a sports tradition, allows the audience to feel part of the cultural moment the ad captures. This results in deeper audience engagement that gets people excited to share the ad with others.


Some of the most memorable Super Bowl ads rely on compelling storytelling that tugs at viewers’ heartstrings rather than just touting product facts and features. These mini-stories packed into 30 or 60-second spots aim to connect with audiences on an emotional level.

One great example is Google’s 2020 Super Bowl ad “Loretta,” which tells the story of an elderly man using Google Assistant’s memory features to recall details about his late wife Loretta. The ad starts by showing the man telling Google to remember that Loretta liked taking pictures, dancing, and her favorite flowers. Later when he asks Google to remember Loretta, it shows old photos and videos of Loretta as he reminisces. The simple story ends with the line “Remember, I’ll always be here,” driving home Google Assistant’s utility while eliciting an emotional response.

Other story-driven ads that resonated include Jeep’s 2018 ad featuring a choir of military veterans singing “The Star Spangled Banner,” Anheuser-Busch’s iconic “Puppy Love” Budweiser ad from 2014, and Procter & Gamble’s memorable “Thank You Mom” Olympics-themed ad from 2012. These ads all relied on unexpected turns, character development, and poignant stories rather than product shots or list of features. Their effective storytelling made them stand out from the usual Super Bowl advertising antics.

For brands aiming to make an impact where competitors are also spending millions on ads, storytelling can help grab attention and be remembered long after the game ends. Drawing on emotional connections, nostalgia, humor, and creativity in storytelling can help Super Bowl ads rise above the noise. Brands that focus on crafting and conveying compelling stories give themselves a better chance of winning over consumer hearts, outshining the competition, and getting their message heard.

Bold Creative Risks

Some of the most memorable Super Bowl ads have involved calculated creative risks. Brands that take bold chances with their Big Game creative sometimes reap big rewards – as long as the risk pays off.

One classic example is Apple’s iconic 1984 ad that introduced the Macintosh computer. The ad channeled George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 with its striking cinematography and defiant messaging. Apple took a chance with such an edgy, conceptual ad that did not even show the product. But the ad succeeded in capturing attention and communicating Apple’s revolutionary vision.

Another bold creative risk that paid off was Volkswagen’s 2011 ad called The Force. It featured a young boy dressed up as Star Wars’ Darth Vader, believing he has supernatural powers. The ad demonstrated unexpected use of a popular cultural franchise to charm viewers and communicate the message that the Passat has “the force” of its engine. This quirky humor resonated with audiences.

Of course, creative risks can also flop with viewers if the ad misses the mark. GoDaddy notoriously took controversial creative risks with ads that used innuendo but backfired for being in poor taste. Brands need to ensure that bold creative chances align with their image and resonate appropriately with target audiences.

When calculated creative risks in Super Bowl ads pay off, they can lead to tremendous buzz, social sharing, and brand recognition. Marketers should carefully consider bold chances that capture attention with unexpected approaches. Risk-taking with Big Game creative is hard to do but can have great rewards when done thoughtfully.

Design and Production Value

The Super Bowl is known for its incredibly high production value commercials that captivate viewers. Brands pull out all the stops when it comes to filming techniques, special effects, set design, costumes, and more.

For example, in 2020, Hyundai created a commercial featuring Chris Evans, John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch, and former Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz that used a clever editing technique to show the actors repeatedly getting into a Hyundai Sonata. The fast-paced commercial combined humor with unique editing that must have required significant production efforts.

In 2019, Pepsi debuted a commercial starring Steve Carell, Lil Jon, and Cardi B that featured eccentric costumes and over-the-top set pieces, including a restaurant shaped like a can of Pepsi. The commercial had a cinematic quality more reminiscent of a music video than a traditional 30-second ad. The production brought the creative idea to life in an unforgettable way.

Brands are willing to invest millions in Super Bowl ad production because high quality visuals and effects can capture viewer attention in a crowded advertising environment. The production value makes the ad feel like entertainment in its own right that people want to watch and talk about. Memorable details like interesting cinematography, elaborate costumes and sets, special effects, and sharp editing all contribute to creating an engaging, shareable commercial.

For brands and advertisers, the lesson is that investing in top-tier production talent and giving them the resources to execute the full vision pays off. At a time when people are bombarded with ads daily, a commercial that feels more like a mini-movie can break through the noise and generate buzz. The Super Bowl demonstrates the power of pairing compelling stories and messages with equal levels of production quality and care.

Key Takeaways

Super Bowl ads offer great examples of effective advertising that brands can learn from. Here are some of the main lessons:

Use Humor Effectively

Making viewers laugh helps make your ad memorable. Humor works best when it fits naturally with your brand message and personality. Going for cheap laughs with slapstick can backfire.

Feature Celebrities Wisely

Celebrity cameos can attract attention but shouldn’t overwhelm your branding. Focus on choosing stars that resonate with your target audience and complement your message. Don’t let the celebrity presence detract from your product.

Tap Into Culture

Referencing popular trends, memes and current events can make your ad feel timely and relevant. But be careful about possibly fleeting references that may date your ad quickly. Focus on more lasting cultural elements.

Tell a Story

A compelling narrative draws viewers in and makes them care. Mini story arcs with character, conflict and resolution work well. Build identification between audience and on-screen characters.

Take Creative Risks

Great ads often push boundaries and take risks. But be careful not to go too far and alienate your audience. Stay true to your brand identity while showing that you are willing to boldly break advertising conventions.

Invest in Design

Amazing visuals, cinematography and editing can make ads mesmerizing. Allocate budget for stunning production design and effects. But also make sure the style matches your brand.

By learning from the strongest Super Bowl ads, advertisers can create more memorable and effective marketing. Leverage humor, celebrities, cultural relevance, storytelling, creativity and design – while tailoring tactics to resonate with your specific audience and brand.


The Super Bowl represents the pinnacle of sports marketing and advertising. Brands invest millions of dollars into creative that will capture viewer attention for 30 to 60 seconds. The stakes are incredibly high, with over 100 million viewers tuning in.

As we’ve seen, many of the most iconic Super Bowl ads over the years have made bold creative risks by using humor, celebrities, cultural references, and storytelling. Great Super Bowl ads showcase the power creativity has to connect with viewers on an emotional level and deliver a memorable message.

For brands, Super Bowl ads represent an unparalleled opportunity to reach a massive audience in a single moment. The challenge lies in standing out amidst the clutter of other ads competing for attention. Impactful creative, calculated timing, and seamless production are key.

While a Super Bowl ad does not guarantee success, the incredibly vast reach provides a chance for brands to build awareness, affinity, and sales. When done right, a Super Bowl ad can become part of our shared cultural memory, paying dividends for the brand over time.

As viewers, we have come to expect entertainment and excitement from Super Bowl advertising. Brands have responded by continuously raising the bar, resulting in some of the most innovative, funny, emotional, and talked-about ads each year. The Super Bowl has become just as much about the commercials as the football, showing the power advertising has in our society. No matter what happens in the game, brands leave it all on the field in their battle for our hearts, minds, and wallets.

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