Charlene Coughlin 09.02.21

Big Game, Big Brands, Big Values

Charlene A. Coughlin, Managing Director, TWIST Creative, Inc.

My favorite Big Game moments? Well, they didn’t happen during the game and in a 60 or 30 second spot that everyone saw during the game. They didn’t feature a celebrity, a memorable tagline or a catchy song. There was no laughter, no SNL stars, and no cringeworthy moment. There were no (known) athletes in these brand moments or a Clydesdale or puppy. When I watched this year’s Big Game spots, I instead had thoughts of how they were shot, production timeline and value, and if they were the right tone after the past year we’ve all experienced.

And yes, I think we’re all over hearing the words “unprecedented times”, “challenging times” and “trying times” but I think we’re all also very aware of how this pandemic and year have affected so many people. Which is why my favorite brand moments weren’t seen on Sunday.

Instead, my favorite brand moments are the ones that you may or may not have seen. Budweiser and Nike – both without Big Game spots – lived up to their brand ethos. In a year when there’s nothing that we can consider “normal”, it’s more important than ever for brands to live their values. This year’s Big Game? Well, it gave brands the opportunity for their biggest moments. And these moments, well, they didn’t include a spot on Sunday. Instead, each brand used their brand to highlight issues that are important to millions of people – vaccination awareness and equity for women in sports.

Nike’s values — bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world (if you have a body, you are an athlete).

When I saw the Nike tweet promoting women in sports, specifically girls in football, and the fact that they have already donated $5 million dollars to giving girls and women the opportunity to be on the field – well that felt absolutely like the brand I know and love. This felt timely especially as there are a number of women who were seen on the field on Sunday. But it also felt timely as women are being raised up in a number of sports – and of course, in the White House.

Anheuser-Busch values — The consumer is our boss, we strive to be the best at serving and partnering with our customers, we believe in common sense and simplicity.

For Budweiser, that meant bypassing the Big Game (the first time in over 30 years) and using their platform and dollars to support an important initiative for so many – vaccination awareness. We all wish we could be living life like we were 12+ months ago and having a brand like Budweiser sharing the importance of vaccination during a time when so many wish they were on the field, in the stands and with their friends, well it felt right on point for a brand that cares so much for their consumer.

The Big Game often gives brands the opportunity to make consumers aware of their brand, a new innovation or a new product. This year though? It was more appropriate for brands to use this moment to elevate those that need it the most.

Watch the Nike Spot

Watch the Budweiser Spot

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