Super Bowl Appetizer by ChasingmyHalo from pixabay
by Katie DeGenova

As a marketing professional and an American, it’s my job to have an opinion about Super Bowl ads. Which ones were funny? Which ones were terrible? Which ones were worth it?

These :30 moments cost $5.25 million, and that’s just for the air space, i.e. the right to reach 100 million+ people. It doesn’t include any production costs and certainly doesn’t include the celebrity appearance fees, which are often seven figures.

That said, not all super bowl ads are created equal.

We’re in the philanthropy world, so we could argue for better uses for millions of dollars. However, there are still some good take-aways to learn from Super Bowl ads. Our alumni and donors are among the millions of viewers; they laughed or rolled their eyes along with the rest of us.

To me, most of the commercials this year fell into the trying-too-hard category. However, there was a gem: the Hyundai ‘Smaht Pahk’ commercial. I smiled and laughed throughout the entire commercial, and most importantly, I paid attention to the whole thing. UGA/DAR has a number of marketing campaigns going at any given time—each trying to capture the attention of alumni and potential donors…so, what can we learn? Below are my top three take-aways from ‘Smaht Pahk’:

  1. A serious message can still be packaged in a fun way. There are many boring ways to talk about car features. This is not one of them.
  2. One message is better than five…or four…or three…or even two. The Hyundai Sonata has many features and comes with many options. It’s tempting to talk about all of them, but if they’d tried, I bet none would be memorable.
  3. It’s okay—FANTASTIC—to repeat yourself with a consistent message. Notice how many times they say ‘smaht park’? And the words “smart” and “park” on their own. I’m sure the Hyundai folks working on this commercial got sick of hearing it…as did the actors…but I’ll also bet a high percentage of the 100 million + viewers remembered it.

I’ll add the caveat that I drive a Hyundai and that I adore John Krasinski. However, the take-aways still hold. Hyundai nailed it. Wicked smaht.

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