Carefully Crafted on February 02

Brands Get Social for the Super Bowl

Seven years ago, I wrote a blog post asking if Super Bowl ads would go social. Back then, we all wanted to know if brands would integrate a Facebook or Twitter call to action … feature user-generated content … get really fancy and promote an online contest in their TV ad. (They mostly didn’t.)

This year, I once again find myself asking if Super Bowl ads will go social. But, now I mean social in a totally different context. I mean, social the adjective. As in, social issues.

There’s no shortage of social issues. But, given the divided, polarized political climate, is tackling social issues smart or too risky? A few years ago, Nationwide Insurance was derided for interrupting the fun, festive Super Bowl feel with a serious message about kid safety. Might marketers’ painful memories of that backlash keep other brands from attempting to make a statement this year? Maybe … maybe not.

Ads are starting to trickle out, and Audi is going social — in a big way. Their ad features a call pay equity: Equal pay for equal work.

But, Audi isn’t alone. With “Born the Hard Way,” Budweiser shares the story of its founders, two immigrants. Immigration is among the most hotly debated topics these days. Wading into that debate to remind viewers of the value immigrants provide to society is a calculated risk — but one with the potential to positively influence the narrative.

In 2010, brands didn’t fully embrace social media. It was too risky. In 2017, will brands get social — or is it also too risky? The reward could be worthwhile, if done right. A profound stance on a social issue can create a more meaningful, lasting impact, while creating positive brand associations. Impact and positive association … that doesn’t sound risky. That sounds like the point of advertising,

Your call: How many brands will go social this year?

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