Everyone knows what the Super Bowl is, of course,- the coming together of presumably the two best football teams that the NFL has to offer. And although the focus of the day may be the game and the winning team, how often have you heard someone say that one of the main reasons they watch the game is for the commercials? The Super Bowl has gained a reputation for creative, amusing, over the top commercials and the price to play the Super Bowl advertising game is very expensive, but if effective, that cost of advertising could be outweighed by increased sales and revenue.
This year was no disappointment as some of the usual advertisers (Budweiser) as well as some newcomers advertised during the game. For me, though, it was not a company that grabbed my attention the most- it was not a clever play on words or a fantastic use of super effects. It was a simple, fairly short statement produced by the NFL, using the repeat tag line, “inside these lines.” Throughout the commercial, a strong yet empathetic and somewhat emotional voice explains how even though we don’t come from the same place, we can help each other reach the same destination. Even though we might be different, we have more that unites us and advises that is it not how we handle victories but how we handle defeats that matter. Throughout these words of wisdom, the line “inside these lines” is reiterated and a map of the United States is finally revealed that clearly defines the “lines” that are being drawn and talked about.
The NFL used this event not so much to leverage its brand, although there is certainly some of that happening, but more to use the strength of its brand to convey a strong, although subtle, political message. It reminds us that we are all part of one team, one country and although we have differences, we are all united, or at least can be united, by those differences- those differences that live within the lines of the US borders.
I think the message was delivered in a very subtle, yet powerful way and what better time to deliver this message than during the most watched event in the US all year. It offers an olive branch, a hope that we can somehow come together in these tense political times to at least try to work towards some commonalities, not the least of which is the fact that as US citizens, we all reside within the same lines. Against the backdrop of a football game, a political message can resound and make us all think about who we are and what we can do to make things better.