What food service owners can learn from Super Bowl commercials
Shockingly, not everyone watches the Super Bowl for the football. There are people who find their entertainment – no, not by halftime wardrobe malfunctions, Bruno Mars channeling Michael Jackson and James Brown or the past-middle-age belly of the Who’s Pete Townshend – in the commercials.
If you’re ready to up your game, consider taking a page or two from the Super Bowl commercials’ playbook:
Brag a little
Maybe you sponsor a t-ball team or your staff was on a Habitat for Humanity build. It’s o.k. to let your customers know that you care about the community. This year, Budweiser isn’t selling beer in their Super Bowl commercial; they’re selling their support of communities hit by natural disasters. A framed t-ball jersey or a photo of your employees wielding hammers and saws shows your connection to the community that keeps your business going.
Give ‘em a little hint
Instead of focus groups or updating your menu and hoping for the best, offer teasers when you’re trying something new. M&Ms’ Super Bowl teaser lets the world know… well, we’re not sure what they’re letting us know and that’s the point. Danny DeVito floating in a pool of chocolate is all we get at this point. If you’re a Danny DeVito and/or M&Ms fan, then you’re ready for more. Teasing your customers with “New menu items coming soon!” stickers or “We’ve got big news!” table toppers generates curiosity and, hopefully, return visits for the big reveal.
Mix it up in unexpected ways
If the majority of your customers fall between the ages of 14 to 35, throwing some serious curveballs can have a positive effect on your bottom line. That broad age group likes silly surprises. Remember Mountain Dew’s puppy monkey baby from 2016’s Super Bowl commercial lineup? That commercial left everybody speechless and then when we recovered from the lunacy, we were all practicing saying puppy monkey baby so we could impress our friends the next day. This year, Mountain Dew is partnering with Doritos and rolling out Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage, Morgan Freeman, Missy Elliot and Busta Rhymes. Their two teasers are already water cooler material. What can you come up with to get your customers talking?
Nobody expects supernova creativity for every promotion or operation. But customers appreciate it when you do. Super Bowl advertisers don’t just pay millions of dollars to have their commercial appear during the game, they also pay millions of dollars to produce the commercial itself. Not even Mountain Dew or Doritos can afford that on a daily basis.
But if you can reach a lot of people with something unique and exciting and you know, based on years of data, that your sales will increase in both the existing and new customer categories, isn’t it worth the once a year effort? Sure it is, especially if you can apply the Super Bowl principles at a reasonable cost. And you can.
The ball is in your hands. All you have to do is run it in!