Super Bowl Ads and “Being” Social

Sunday’s Super Bowl was a nail biter; many say decided on the last play. For those of us in communications it was often the ads and surrounding conversation that held our attention.

In general I was a bit disappointed with the ads. There was the annual tasteless sex in Go Daddy and the blatant sexual overtones of the Calvin Klein ad. The beer ads were their usual boring selves and…I could go on. But I want to focus on four that stood out for me:

Jeep’s Tribute to the US military

Veterans returning from overseas duty get to nearly all of us and the Jeep ad was no exception. Oprah’s voiceover only added to the emotion of this spot. But did it sell Jeeps? Maybe not but it likely helps the brand.

Dodge’s Ode to the American Farmer

My youngest brother is a farmer, keeping my grandparent’s farm in our family and making sure our children understand how food gets to the table. The ad was a fitting tribute to one of the hardest working and least understood aspects of our society. But, like the Jeep ad, I’m not sure it sold any Dodge trucks.

Budweiser’s Clydesdale ad

I’m a sucker for Clydesdale ads and it seems everyone agrees as the ad took the #1 slot. They tell a human story with such emotion. Also, this ad included a social media tie-in with Budweiser’s first Twitter account to name the foal in the ad. This ad reinforced the Clydesdale’s place in our heart yet again. Still makes me a bit teary.


While not in the list of top five ads of the Super Bowl, Oreo definitely won the social media battle. Their ad, set in a library, was well received and sent thousands to their promotion on Instagram…cookie vs crème (all crème here). Then the lights went out in the Superdome and Oreo posted on social channels the tweet that communicators have been talking about since.

By getting a message out as quickly as they did, the company showed the difference between “doing” and “being” social. Of course, all the people were in the room at the right time to approve and execute the concept but that gets into the nitty gritty. Oreo’s social media team is obviously empowered to make instant decisions because they have the trust of the company.

Being Social

It’s really important for organizations to understand that just doing social media isn’t all that’s needed today.

Organizations need to start living social.

They must understand the audiences and engage. It’s not enough anymore to post without responding. It’s not enough to post without reading the chatter that’s around your post.

The culture within the organization needs to include complete trust in the social media team to make on-the-spot decisions.

These are just some of the things I discuss with clients considering a new or expanded social media presence. Sometimes the answer is to wait to establish a presence until the company’s culture is ready. But we’re also reaching a point where social media is such a critical part of the communication mix, it’s more important than ever to have a presence. So, it’s time to change that culture, establish trust in the communications team, and bust down the silos to make it happen.

Is your company ready? What will it take to get ready? Because people are already talking about your organization and really wish you were listening.

The Barber Group

Gig Harbor, Washington


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