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Super Branding: Super Bowl XLVII Means Ad Mania

Posted by: Amy Edel-Vaughn on February 03, 2013

Forbes published an interview before the big game with Interbrand executives and a panel of industry insiders, discussing their picks for the most anticipated Super Bowl ads of the year. Super Bowl Ad Watch from brandchannel has kept readers in the loop on upcoming ads, brewing controversies and new brand developments ahead of Sunday’s game. During the big game branding lovers are tweeting with @Interbrand about the #superbranding action, sharing their take on the ad action.

Chris Campbell, Executive Creative Director at Interbrand, shared with Forbes that he was looking forward to the new Kia Space Babies ad and “seeing how this new character will come to life and engage consumers following the Super Bowl spot. The hashtag #SpaceBabies on Twitter is a start, but the brand will need to think strategically about how it users Twitter (and other social platforms) to not talk to consumers, but with them – creating a rich and meaningful conversation.”

Campbell noted Claire Chai, SVP of Brand Marketing at Kia, when talking to Interbrand about the company's goals said, "Our mission is to become one of the most desirable brands in the automotive industry by providing a different type of driving experience that will enhance people's lives and enrich them every day."

Kia’s advertisement, Campbell says, “is a clear articulation of that goal in the marketplace – as the kid in the backseat breaks our cinematic gaze with ‘But Jake said babies are made when mommies and daddies…’ - dad cues the voice-activation system and the music that follows averts the seemingly awkward situation. ‘It has an answer for everything’ appears next and clearly reflects Kia's ambitions to improve the customer experience.”

Stuart Green, CEO of Interbrand Asia-Pacific, adds, “The ad reflects KIA's brand positioning particularly in the US, but also globally. It showcases how they have been expressing the brand - highlighting ‘family values,’ but also keeping it fun, by targeting people with a 'young at heart' disposition. As this ad is for Kia's Sorento SUV, the coming together of family is particularly well executed.”

Another Super Bowl auto ad standout for Green is Ford’s Lincoln spot. “Ford is in the process of reinventing the Lincoln brand. For Generation Y consumers, mention the name Lincoln – and it will probably evoke images not far off from our 16th president – likely their grandfather sitting behind the wheel of a town car,” he says. “The company is trying to change that and reach a new generation of progressive luxury buyers, particularly with its new MKZ mid-sized sedan.”

He adds, “As one of the few Super Bowl ads that didn't already appear online, I am looking forward to the result of its Twitter crowd-sourcing initiative – and seeing its first-ever Super Bowl ad, especially in the form of 140-character tweets. It's always exciting when a brand is able to reinvent itself and what I have seen from their previous TV ad spots, Lincoln has been able to weave in its heritage, while still emphasizing that is capable of transforming consumer expectations.”

As Green mentioned, a number of Super Bowl ads were released ahead of the game. Does this weaken their impact or can it help build conversations and help the brands?

Rebeca Arbona, Executive Director, Strategy & Research for Interbrand, weighed in saying, “If it’s a good ad, yes it can be advantageous to share it ahead of the Super Bowl. At Interbrand we believe that one of the drivers of strong brands is presence, the idea that a brand is in the consumer's world and being spoken about favorably, so it makes sense to be everywhere you can.”

“But whether or not it gives them a bigger return, in terms of driving sales, depends on a lot of factors,” Arbona explains. “First and foremost is whether or not people like the ad, so that you're creating positive buzz or negative buzz. And does it clearly communicate a consistent brand-building message that makes people inclined to think favorably about the brand and its products?”

Scott Lucas, Executive Director of Interbrand Cincinnati, concludes, “As Super Bowl mania ramps up, people tend to be swayed by a combination of memory, loyalty and buzz when it comes to ads. If a brand had a great ad during last year’s Super Bowl, people expect an encore. If they love a brand, they’ll want to see it come to life—in full regalia—during the big game. Others get caught up in the pre-game hype. They’re anticipating an ad because they were told it was going to be good.”

“From Interbrand's perspective,” Lucas says, “the ads we’re most anticipating are not necessarily the ones that are generating the most buzz. The ones that are truly smart, strategic and tie into the brand proposition.”

Amy Edel-Vaughn is Interbrand's Community Manager.

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