Super Bowl & Celebrity Marketing Brands Told Gen Z’s Story, Not Their Own

Many brands that welcomed the $5 million sticker price of a 30-second spot in Super Bowl LI implemented the tactic of timely nostalgia.

That reminiscent undertone didn’t merely attempt to tell the brand’s story–it attempted to tell the story of “you” the viewer.

The “you” for certain Super Bowl brands has been Gen X and Millennials. Capitalizing off of their 2015 double-digit growth, Audi tactfully destined itself for success with the 60-second spot that featured the late David Bowie’s “Starman”. The Audi spot “Commander” directly appealed to those that yearned for the sense of promise they were born with and had the purchase power to act on that feeling.

However, for Super Bowl LI the “you” for Super Bowl brands, had changed.

The “you” is now Gen Z.

This year Audi continued with their platform of nostalgic storytelling by chronicling a little girl in a homemade go-kart. Considering Audi has no women on their executive team, this year’s spot intended to accentuate social and economic gender equality, a theme that Gen Z is very passionate about.

Having been born between 1996 and 2010, early Gen Zers’ youth was marked by exposure to the economic struggle of the Great Recession. These individuals possess a mental and financial shrewdness that is forcing traditional brands to work with experiential creative tactics to become loyal users.

In 2016, Wildness, an L.A based firm that informs brands on the habits of Gen Zers, reported that 27% of teen Gen Zers created and shared original videos via social media on a weekly basis. Of the 3,000 polled, 84% had reported that they’d had some direct contact with a celebrity on social media.

This attention craving group craved that same attention from their Super Bowl brands in 2017 and Snickers effectively recognized that.

With a $44 billion spending power in the USA alone, Gen Z is the richest and most independent purchase influencer on the market. While Gen Z may not be ready to buy a luxury sports car, they will definitely buy a candy bar.

Well known for its playful “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign, the Mars brand has featured authority figures, such as Betty White, Joe Pesci, and Willem Dafoe. In its first full year, the campaign reported a 15.9% global sales increase and growth in 56 of the 58 markets in which it ran. While their current influencers may be older, the Mars winning creative formula should translate to Gen Z.

  1. Create a more compelling creative platform, on a large scale.
  2. Make the brand “iconic” with strengthened internal engagement and commitment.
  3. Relentlessly enforce a global approach.

Snickers attempted to appeal to Gen Z with the Super Bowl’s first ever live ad spot. Featuring a youthful influencer in Adam Driver, Snickers embarked on unprecedented experiential creativity. This revolutionary ad ran in the first break of the game’s third quarter, immediately keeping the attention of Gen Zers who tuned in for the halftime performance.

Driver was upset by the mayhem of the ad’s scene, which sparked excessive viewer anger and confusion. However, the Snickers spot was revealed to be an intentional faux with a follow up Adam Driver apology, which provided an effective call-to-action for fans to avoid their own hunger mishaps.

Regardless, live video will be a brand’s best friend in 2017 to connect to Gen Z, ensuring that they truly understand the immediate connection that makes Gen Z thrive.

Live streaming is exposing a brand’s vulnerability in a playful way. That is what Gen Z is gravitating to; immediate action with a level of spontaneity that makes the brand story feel as if it is their own.

photo credit: www.flickr.com

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