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4 Lessons Learned From This Year's Super Bowl Advertising

4 Lessons Learned From This Year's Super Bowl Advertising
Image credit: SuperBowl Ads

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The Super Bowl has been universally called “the marketers’ holiday.” At $5 million a clip, there certainly is a lot of time, energy and investment put into showing up for the game. So it’s fair to say that much of this activity is reserved for the big brands. Even still, there is a lot to be learned across the board, regardless of the size of your brand.

Related: What Super Bowl Ads Can Teach Entrepreneurs About Marketing

Every year during the big game, I host a Twitter Party at #SuperBowlExp, where we gather to talk about all of the advertising during the commercial breaks. For us, the commercial breaks are the game -- and we skip through the game!

Here are a few takeaways from this year’s big-brand advertisers, at least from the crowd on my hashtag.

1. Nostalgia wins.

People were longing to see the Budweiser Clydesdales. They are a Super Bowl tradition but were barely seen. And the spots with classic music from David Bowie and Queen were insanely popular.

Lesson learned? Remember to keep your own brand heritage alive in your marketing efforts, because that’s how your loyal customers relate to you. Sure, keep on progressing and innovating, but remember where you came from too!

2. Context is everything.

The multiple spots discussing healthcare issues didn’t resonate so well with viewers. There’s nothing wrong with advertising solutions to these issues, but perhaps not when people are at parties with family and friends. Perhaps it’s just not the right time and place. Lesson learned?

Be conscious of where and when you run your marketing messages to make sure the context is right. Make sure your customers and potential customers will be in the right mindset to accept your message.

Related: 10 Memorable Quotes from Pop Legend David Bowie

3. Humor isn’t always funny.

Super Bowl viewers expect the advertising to entertain them, and humor is often a great way to have a memorable and engaging spot. This year didn’t seem to be so funny to people. Sure, the Doritos and Heinz dogs got a good chuckle, but I’m not sure much else did.

Lesson learned? Be careful with humor in your marketing, as it might not resonate across all of your customer groups the way you might think it will.

4. Give it all you’ve got.

Lady Gaga stole the show, setting a new standard for the National Anthem. It was a wow. Lesson learned? When you show up, show up big. Give it all you got, and put your best foot forward. You’ve got one chance to wow your customers, so make sure you nail it.

The truth is, good marketing is not reliant on big budgets. A small business and an entrepreneur can do just as effective marketing as the big brands. We just have to be a bit smarter and a little more clever.

I am a big believer that marketing is a spectator sport. So let’s learn from the activity of the big guys -- during the big game and beyond.

Related: Squarespace Is Going All in With a Super Bowl Ad Starring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele