Creativity Brand Strategy

4 Super Bowl ad newbies explain why the moment is right to bet big on the big game

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By Kendra Clark | Senior Reporter

February 1, 2022 | 8 min read

Super Bowl LVI, slated for February 13, will feature appearances from many of the expected big players including Pepsi, Budweiser and Frito-Lay. But what’s often more interesting are those gutsy first-timers that take their shot at commanding the spotlight on game day. The Drum quizzes Rakuten, Wallbox, Hologic and Intuit QuickBooks about why they picked this moment to go big.

Rakuten: ‘a chance to explain our value’

Rakuten Rewards, a US branch of Japanese e-commerce titan Rakuten, plans to join in on the fun with an ad that builds on Rakuten’s recent rebrand, including its new creative platform and slogan ‘We bring the Cha-ching.’ The brand’s vice-president of brand and creative Victoria McRae tells The Drum that this concept offered the perfect foundation on which to build the campaign because it ties the feeling of getting cash back to winning or scoring a good deal. “What better place to share that emotion than at the Super Bowl?”

Footballs arranged on a wall around large NFL logo

Super Bowl newcomers weigh in on why the moment is right

Rakuten Rewards unveiled a teaser for the ad, featuring Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham, who is seen practicing her deliciously evil laugh in a dressing room mirror before experiencing a minor hiccup.

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The timing was right for Rakuten Rewards, McRae says, because e-commerce is booming. “Winning consumer loyalty in this crowded environment means we have to reach and engage people who want more from their shopping experience.”

But a key part of winning that loyalty is expanding brand awareness in the first place. “We know there is still a lot of unrealized potential in the brand,” says McRae. “[Consumers have] seen our Rakuten logo in prominent places like Golden State Warriors jerseys, but don’t understand what we do. We are hoping to change that with this campaign. We want people to have a clear understanding of the value Rakuten provides and what it feels like to shop with us.”

The ad, yet to be unveiled, was developed entirely by a team of in-house creatives that McRae helped assemble. She says that bringing the team’s vision to life for the brand’s Super Bowl debut represents “every marketer’s dream.”

Wallbox: ‘the beginning of a long-term relationship with EV customers’

At-home electric vehicle (EV) charging brand Wallbox will make its big game debut this year as the EV market heats up. Research indicates that sales of EVs in the US, Europe and China more than doubled between 2020 and 2021. As such, the Barcelona-based brand felt that this year offered a valuable opportunity to get in on the gameday action.

“Knowing that most EV drivers start to look for information about charging solutions around the same time they start considering buying their EV, we believe anyone considering buying an EV today is also a potential customer of Wallbox,” says Barbara Calixto, the brand’s chief marketing officer. “As a global leader in home charging solutions, now is the perfect time to speak to our diverse and broad US audience – and the Super Bowl provides the perfect platform for that.”

But Calixto says the brand sees this campaign as the start of something bigger – “a long-term relationship” with potential customers. “We have the hardware and software solutions to make EV adoption possible for drivers in the US. We want them to know our brand and how we can help unlock the barriers holding EV adoption in the US back, while demonstrating how seamlessly Wallbox chargers can fit into drivers’ daily lives.”

Hologic: ‘the right play for promoting women’s health’

Mary J Blige in pink

Hologic, a medical technology company focused on women’s health, is joining the big game not only as a first-time Super Bowl advertiser, but as a first-time advertiser, period. The brand will air a half-minute spot designed to communicate the importance of early detection and treatment of women’s health issues in a spot starring Grammy-winning singer Mary J. Blige.

The spot, which was brought to life by CHÉ Creative and directed by popular commercial and music video director child., is meant to express that if the always-booked-and-busy Mary J. Blige can make time to get her annual women’s health screenings, then regular patients can too.

The brand’s vice-president of communications Jane Mazur says that Blige was the right spokesperson for the campaign because she has a track record of advocating for women’s health issues among Black women through the Black Women’s Health Imperative and with Hologic’s Project Health Equality program.

The effort is part of Hologic’s broader Well-Woman campaign, which includes resources to help people learn about different types of diagnostic screenings for women. The initiative was developed after Hologic found in its proprietary research that nearly 50% of American women it surveyed did not get their annual health screenings in the last year.

“Women are the backbones of their families, their circle of friends and their communities,” says Hologic’s Mazur. “When women are sick, everyone around them suffers. Layer the pandemic and the disruption it caused for many, and it concerned us greatly to learn that [so many] women have skipped their health screenings in the past year. As the only medical device manufacturer dedicated to women’s health, we knew something needed to be said, and we needed to do it in a way that is accessible and meaningful.”

Intuit QuickBooks: ‘small business owners will be watching’

Accounting software QuickBooks will air an ad at Super Bowl LVI as part of its ongoing ‘Early Start’ campaign, which aims to shine a spotlight on the double-edged-sword nature of small business ownership and promote QuickBooks tools for new small businesses.

Intuit predicts that this year more than 17m new small businesses will be launched, representing a much higher rate than has been seen in recent years. “Many of these new entrepreneurs will be watching the big game, and as they begin their journeys, we want to make sure we’re supporting them with the confidence to start and grow their business from day one with QuickBooks and [our recent acquisition] MailChimp,” says Javier Martin, QuickBooks’ global brand development director.

Martin says the big game offers an unmatched opportunity for building awareness. As such, QuickBooks was careful to craft an ad that fits the bill. “[We thought] through all of the elements of a spot that delivers on ‘ART’: it draws attention, has relevancy and has the potential to create talkability,” he says. “Since we’re working with small businesses, we dialed up the celebrity, good music and humor – all things that deliver on that set of criteria.”

Intuit has previously run Super Bowl ads for its brand, but this will be Quickbooks’ first foray. Intuit will also put out a Super Bowl spot for sister brand TurboTax.

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