What Would You Say to 100 Million+ People?

Societal attitudes change over time and a brand’s audience will reflect these changes. Over the last 50 years, the NFL Championship game has drawn an increasing percentage of female viewers, nearing an almost equal split between the genders. As the most watched live annual sporting event in the United States, drawing in excess of 100 million viewers and 75% of all adults, it presents the kind of one-time attention that brands can’t ignore. It is a prime opportunity to reach a broad audience.

That comes with a steep price tag. Reports are that it cost in excess of $5 million per 30-second spot for 2017, but brands that get it right and connect with the audience can reap dividends for years to come. Over time, significant portions of the game’s audience have come to look forward to the advertisements as much as the actual football game. Companies go all out to make as much out of their investment as possible and present their best work because the stakes are high.

While the skyrocketing price of TV time has resulted in many of the expected advertising heavyweights dominating the commercial breaks, every year there are new participants. Typically these are new companies that want to make a splash and announce that they have arrived. But this year there are several strong brands that have been around for decades making their first appearances on championship Sunday: Hawaiian King Rolls® and Mr. Clean®.

Aloha, Football Fans

King’s Hawaiian began in a single bakeshop during the 1950’s in Hilo, Hawaii, before the collection of islands were even a U.S. State. Word of the company’s famous Hawaiian Sweet Bread spread throughout the islands, even as loaves were routinely devoured on the way home before they reached the table. A taste this good couldn’t stay away from the mainland, eventually reaching California and quickly the rest of the country. Now a national brand with its famous sweet bread, they’re ready to take the next step with an expanded product line that includes a variety of bread, buns, and BBQ sauces. According to Adage, “King’s Hawaiian is ready to serve up its first Super Bowl commercial, with hopes the big game’s big advertising stage will help its existing bread lines and its new line of Hawaiian-inspired BBQ sauces.”

Previous television spots and marketing played on the idea that the bread was so good that it didn’t last and that people would go to great lengths to get it. This spot shows the other side in how far people will go to protect their King’s Hawaiian bread. Two men are talking while putting away groceries when one reveals that he has created a secret stash for his King’s Hawaiian rolls.

Football and food—especially tailgate dishes like, BBQ, sliders, and burgers—are inseparable, and should be a natural fit for the audience. Hopefully, the audience will remember King’s Hawaiian in the fall when the next football season comes around and tailgate parties start in earnest.

Clean Gets Sexy

While Mr. Clean made his television debut nearly 60 years ago in 1958 and quickly became the best-selling household cleaner on the market, 2017 will be his first appearance in NFL championship. Not only that, but Mr. Clean is now the “Official Cleaner of Super Bowl LI.” That’s quite a leap for a guy his age. But times have changed, and so has Mr. Clean.

While the Mr. Clean of the 50’s was known as the hardest working cleaner in history, the modern wonder guy has set higher expectations. He now wants to be “The Cleaner of Your Dreams,” even if your dreams don’t stop with the cleaning. Maybe get even a little dirty. His cleaning prowess seduces the female character as (taken from the Youtube description) “Mr. Clean satisfies in every room of the house” and shows you “some of his best moves in the shower, on the floor, and even in the kitchen.” Yep, that’s what they said. The ad closes with the tagline, “You gotta love a man who cleans” and it appears that Sarah certainly does.

The ad shows how modern household works, or how many would like them to work. This view has changed within the audience and society dramatically since the 50’s when men and women’s roles were often strictly divided and narrowly defined. An article on Forbes shared that “A P&G exec explained the goal of the big money shot is to let couples know that “cleaning can be ‘part of the appeal in a relationship.'” Mr. Clean, in showing a sharing of roles, is acknowledging that fact to their audience.

Touchdowns, Sacks, and New Roles

These two familiar brands have taken different approaches to their spots. King’s Hawaiians have aimed to connect with the humongous audience and remind the audience of their sweet breads and new sauces. Mr. Clean want to show how cleaning can bring relationships closer. But on closer inspection, they have two things in common. In both, men are shown participating in household duties that in previous generations were primarily women’s responsibilities, and doing so in a positive manner: grocery shopping and cleaning. With such a large audience and near even split between the genders, this shows smart nuance and acknowledgment of how audiences and consumers have changed and these two brands are moving with them.


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