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9 Visual Communication Tips from Super Bowl 50


The Super Bowl is a massive shared visual content experience. The big game commands the attention of millions people from all walks of life, enticing brands to drop a record $5 million dollars for 30 seconds of air time during Super Bowl 50.

Now, the big game is over. Those $5 million ads have been unveiled. We laughed, we cheered, and we ate too many Super Bowl themed snacks. What now? It’s time to assess what we’ve learned. Here are 9 takeaways from Super Bowl 50 you can use to improve your brand’s visual communications strategy.

1. Be a showstopper.

I don’t know about you, but when that puppy monkey baby waddled on to my screen, I stopped talking and stared at my television.

Whether you loved the Mountain Dew ad or found it terrifying, one thing’s for sure: you were talking about it. Immediately, Twitter was buzzing with the hashtag, #puppymonkeybaby, which appeared at the end of the ad and was reinforced by the creature’s song than repeated for most of the spot. It combined things we all love to see in ads (babies and animals), albeit in a bizarre way. But it was a showstopper and it captured our attention.

How can your brand create show-stopping content? What will make me drop everything and pay attention? Create content that will make your audience freeze, unable to look away.

2. Partner up.

Action movies are packed with compelling visuals, and brands are catching on.

Turkish Airlines partnered with Batman v Superman to produce two spots: one featuring Bruce Wayne and the city of Gotham, the other featuring Lex Luthor and the city of Metropolis.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola partnered with Marvel Entertainment to create an ad featuring the Incredible Hulk and Ant-Man. The ad runs like a short story where the Mini Coke plays a third main character, in keeping with Coke’s product-centric “Taste the Feeling” campaign.

In both cases, the brand’s story fits seamlessly with the movie’s characters and settings. Aligning with another brand can give your organization access to visuals, stories and themes that can shape your content in a new and powerful way. Plus, partnerships can help you catch the attention of a new audience.

3. Shift the focus.

Two organizations spent $5 million an ad, and only spent a fraction of the air time referencing their own brands. Instead, they focused on the bigger picture.

Colgate’s public service announcement to turn off the water when you brush your teeth was simple and powerful. We’ve all heard that message before, but Colgate’s spot visualizes what that water you’re wasting can do – fill a bowl, wash a piece of fruit, help a thirsty child. The ad highlights the power of visuals to help you understand your own impact on a worldwide issue. The brand spent only 3 seconds highlighting its logo, with the tagline “Spread the word. #EveryDropCounts.”

“Notoriously frank and uncensored British lady,” Helen Mirren’s bold message in a PSA from Budweiser delivered some tough love and a dash of dry British humor to fans enjoying the game. The spot might not be laugh-out-loud funny like the brand’s wassup commercials of yesteryear, but the simple concept, the script and Helen Mirren’s delivery made it a standout.

The Takeaway: Seize opportunities to share your brand’s values. Fans are drawn to brands that are responsible, and there’s no better time to highlight your brand’s big picture ideas than when all eyes are on you.

4. Embrace absurdity.

If you’re going to create something absurd, go all out. Heinz Ketchup’s “Wiener Stampede” combined a pun, over-the-top costumes and an epic song choice to create a spot that had fans howling.

If you want to make your audience laugh, commit to it, and don’t be shy about making your content as fun as it can be.

5. Tease your content.

Some brands released their ads before the big game, making the reveal a little anti-climactic. Bud Light, however, took a page from news, television and movies, and teased their spot instead.

In this promo, we see stars Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen getting ready for their big moment in Super Bowl 50. We get a feel for the spot, without any major spoilers.

The promos created anticipation and kept the jokes in the real spot fresh on Super Bowl Sunday.

When your brand produces a video, you have the opportunity to produce derivative content to share after the fact, from freeze frames to GIFs. Creating extra content to release before your hero piece of content can get your fans excited.

6. Do something no one else is doing.

Still photography, black and white, portrait orientation – all of these elements made Jeep’s ad standout from the Super Bowl 50 pack.

The montage of more than 60 black and white portraits created a striking visual contrast to the other ads. And while the images only took advantage of a third of the television screen, they will fill the screen on mobile.

How can your brand create photos and videos that strike a visual contrast in your fans’ newsfeeds and inboxes? Delight them with something eye-catching and different.

7. Get creative with your visuals.

Fast Co. Design called New York Presbyterian’s “Unmasking a Killer” spot the most design-savvy Super Bowl ad. The piece visualizes cancer in an entrancing way.

Medical commercials tend to have similar visuals and predictable messaging. But this spot catches your eye and presents the information in a surprising and compelling way.

If your brand has been using the same imagery over and over, think about how you could switch up your visuals and bring new life to your content.

8. Pay attention to the details.

The Avocados from Mexico commercial was bound to capture your attention with its colors and costumes. But the script makes this spot a gem.

The ad is packed with fantastic one-liners, so if you heard just one, you heard enough. This script makes every second of the spot count.

The downside is it’s easy to miss lines – it took a second look for me to hear the line, “they had Chia Pets, just like we do.” But in the end, that might just be an upside. This week people will go back and watch the ads, and anyone who watches this one again won’t be disappointed.

The Takeaway: Make every detail of your content count. Your audience’s attention is valuable, so make every second you command that attention worthwhile.

9. Know your audience.

During Super Bowl 50, there was one brand that I thought really stole the show on Twitter. It wasn’t Oreo, it wasn’t Doritos. It was the Tony Awards.

The Tony Awards shared videos, photos and GIFs at just the right time. Their jokes were both Broadway-themed and relevant to the game and the ads. For Broadway fans losing interest in the game and turning to their phones, the #TonysTakeOver was the perfect way to find a community of people who felt the same way.

The Takeaway: Know your audience, and deliver exactly what they want at just the right moment.


Reprinted with permission, PhotoShelter, original post: http://librisblog.photoshelter.com/visual-content-tips-super-bowl-50-ads-commercials/ 


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