Super Bowl LVII: A Need for Branded Storytelling
Benji Vega | SVP, Brand

With the immense popularity of storytelling (cue literally every OTT platform), one would think that advertisers would stay true to the art of a captivating narrative, but Super Bowl LVII fell short.  The sole exception is The Farmer’s Dog, in which we see the life of a dog owner from her childhood to parenthood. 

Not only was it an endearing glimpse into the life of the owner, but it featured a dog that very adeptly integrated the brand.  The end result was a sixty second commercial which brought us, the viewers, along an emotional rollercoaster of a story.  Kudos to The Farmer’s Dog for following a story that tapped into the soul of what it’s like being an animal lover.

On the social integration front, Doritos attempted to cause a user-generated-content storm by challenging users on TikTok to post a dance video for the chance to be featured in the brand’s Super Bowl ad. They enlisted a series of big names on the platform to help spread the word, but the result was underwhelming. Rather than spark an authentic viral moment, most people posted unrelated content and used the set hashtag as a way to make it onto people’s For You page. The lack of quality submissions in the Doritos dance challenge highlights how difficult it is to spark an authentic viral moment on social media. Getting to be in a Super Bowl ad for a big brand like Doritos wasn’t even enough to make people want to participate. 

Across the board, there were a lot of celebrity endorsements, as well as numerous co-branded crossovers from brands like Popeyes, FanDuel, DraftKings, Planters and Ultra.  In the end, most fell victim to cramming too much into such a limited medium and confusing viewers.  The art of well-told storytelling is still the best way to truly engage audiences. We hope that more brands embrace storytelling moving forward, especially as it pertains to brand engagement by relying on bringing to life the simple-yet-meaningful human insights that are universal.

Benji Vega
Benji Vega is a recognized brand marketing innovator with a penchant for connecting insight-based brand strategy to results-driven creativity across all media. With 25 years of experience, Benji has an extensive track record counseling global brands including McDonald's, The Home Depot, Nissan, and Budweiser, as well as startup and challenger brands.
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