How 4 B2B Marketers Supported Their Super Bowl Commercials with Digital and Social

February 9, 2016

The Super Bowl is a consumer advertising extravaganza, but over the years, it has also hosted dozens of B2B commercials. General Electric, GoDaddy.com, and even Volvo Trucks (in the late 1990s) are among the many B2B marketers to have run spots during the big game.

This year’s game featured four B2B marketers investing in Super Bowl commercials, which reportedly cost $5 million per 30-second spot. Many experts argue that B2B companies are committing budget malpractice and wasting millions by putting their targeted message in front of such a huge television audience. But savvy B2B marketers have seen excellent ROI by using their Super Bowl ad as one part of a multi-channel program that includes digital and social.

Here’s a look at the four B2B commercials that ran during Super Bowl 50 and at the broader digital marketing programs supporting these ads:  

Intuit Quick Books

Intuit Quick Books ran an ad for a small company – Death Wish Coffee – during the Super Bowl. The inventive ad depicted a war ship of Vikings riding on what turns out to be a sea of coffee the flows down the gullet of another satisfied Death Wish Coffee drinker, who wants his java “fiercely caffeinated.” The ad closes with the logo of Intuit Quick Books, a company that is “proud to put a small business on today’s game.” The Super Bowl spot culminates a nearly year-long contest, called “Small Business Big Game,” in which Quick Books gives one lucky small business a 30-second spot on the Super Bowl. Quick Books generates engagement throughout the contest as 10 finalists were announced on September and a top three in November. Using digital and social, Quick Books promotes the contest throughout the year on its website and on social platforms, such as its LinkedIn Company Page, to make sure the Super Bowl ad isn’t just a 30-second promotion – it’s part of months-long program.  The “Small Business Big Game” promotion focuses on Quick Books’ chief customer base: small businesses. As the company writes on its website, “Small businesses drive our economy, but rarely stand in the national spotlight. Small Business Big Game is one more way Intuit Quick Books is giving small businesses a voice.” 

Intuit's Super Bowl ad for Death Wish Coffee

PayPal

PayPal is a hybrid marketer: It’s part B2C, part B2B. PayPal generates a large portion of its revenue from fees it charges to businesses. Its Super Bowl ad, “There’s a New Money in Town,” played to both audiences in making the case that mobile payments and other PayPal services are reinventing the world of transactions. “New money isn’t paper,” the ad’s superimposed copy read. “It’s progress. Old money closes at 5. New money is always open. Old money is stuck in the past.” The use of superimposed copy in the ad makes a lot of sense, because Super Bowl viewers can still get the ad’s message whether they’re watching in a boisterous bar or in a sleepy living room. PayPal is spreading the “New Money” message far beyond the Super Bowl. The company’s homepage sports a button right in the middle of it encouraging visitors to “Watch the Super Bowl Ad.” PayPal also promoted the ad on its LinkedIn Company Page and secured coverage of the “New Money” message in The Wall Street Journal.

 

PayPal's Super Bowl ad, "There's a New Money in Town"

SquareSpace

SquareSpace, which provides software to help companies build websites, attempted to highjack the entire game, not just 30 seconds of it. SquareSpace’s ad featured comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as “Lee” and “Morris,” two fictional characters who have built a website to showcase their unorthodox “sports commentating.” In the Super Bowl ad, Lee and Morris proclaim, “We got a dope website. If you bring the passion, SquareSpace.com can make it work.” On the website built for Lee and Morris, Key and Peele actually delivered a running commentary for the entire Super Bowl. That’s a new way to leverage the investment in the big game – and, of course, SquareSpace also used its website, its LinkedIn Company Page, and a Twitter hashtag (#RealTalk) to make sure the company’s message lasted longer than half a minute.   

SquareSpace's Super Bowl campaign featured Key & Peele

Wix.com

Like SquareSpace, Wix.com provides software to help companies build websites. It also advertises on the Super Bowl as part of a larger marketing program. In Wix’s case, it developed an ad with DreamWorks that uses the studio’s new movie, “Kung-Fu Panda 3,” to parody famous Super Bowl spots from Carl’s Jr., Budweiser, and Old Spice. But, of course, the ad ultimately makes the case that it might make more sense to market a business with a website built with Wix: “Create your stunning website today. It’s easy & free.” To get the most out of its Super Bowl spot, Wix has created a website (StartStunning.com), a Twitter hashtag #StartStunning, and updates on its LinkedIn Company Page.  

Wix.com partnered with DreamWorks for its ad.

If you’re a B2B marketer considering advertising on the Super Bowl, there’s less than 365 days until Super Bowl LI. If you’re a B2B marketer looking to take advantage of digital, social, and content marketing opportunities between now and then, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog today. 

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