An Email of Super Bowl Proportions

Super Bowl commercials are the holy grail of advertising. Anyone who pays $3.5 million for a 30-second spot is going to make their ad damn good.

Which means if you’re using email to market your business, there’s an awful lot of inspiration you can pull from those gems.

So let’s take a look at a few of the all-time most-popular Super Bowl commercials. What aspects made them so popular? Replicate the same aspects in your emails, and you just might run your sales into the end zone.

Volkswagen: The Force

What Makes It Work? Techniques to Try

The Mirror

The Volkswagen Passat is a family-friendly car. Thus, the commercial mirrors its ideal customers, families.

How to Do This With Email: Want to show someone they need your product? Show them themselves. Who does your target audience include? (If you don’t know, now’s a good time to decide.) That’s exactly who you’ll want to depict in your emails’ pictures, testimonials and stories.

The “Aww” Factor

The child’s delight – and the parents’ pleasure in having caused it – elicits that warm fuzzy feeling, easily transferable to the company that made this story possible.

How to Do This With Email: Pictures of adorable animals and cute children work, as do heartwarming stories. If your business isn’t the warm-fuzzy type, don’t sweat; your subscribers are most likely not seeking warm-fuzzies from you anyway. The “Aww” Factor is not for everyone.

The Easy Factor

Now, this idea’s for everyone. Click a button from the comfort of your home, and the car roars to life and the world is full of good feeling. Can’t beat that.

How to Do This With Email: Two ways: First, showcase the ease of using your product, or the ease of purchasing it, or the ease that hiring your service brings to customers’ lives. Second, make your email itself easy. Think clean design and a clear call to action.

Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

What Makes It Work? Techniques to Try

The Energetic Pace

Each idea leads directly into the next, gripping viewers, who pay close attention so they don’t miss anything.

How to Do This With Email: Pull readers’ attention through your emails with an eye path, like Popchips‘s message does here .

The Exaggerated Marketing

Many ads work by telling the viewer that they lack something that only the product for sale can supply. Old Spice does this in an exaggerated way, as if to tell viewers, “we know you’re too savvy to fall for that trick” – yet still manages to deliver the same message.

How to Do This With Email: It’s marketing 101: in your email, present a reader may be having. Then show how your business solves it for them. It’s a standard formula, because it’s a winning one.

The Inside Scoop

Isaiah Mustafa targets men indirectly by speaking to women. Men get the feeling they’re eavesdropping on a private conversation, getting the inside scoop on what women really want.

How to Do This With Email: Interview a customer. Tell their story in your email. Readers can see what your business can do for them.

The Glamour

Mustafa is magically transported from a standard household bathroom to a yacht sprinkled with diamonds. The not-so-subliminal message? “Look how Old Spice can change your life!”

How to Do This With Email: Show, or tell, a before-and-after story. Pictures, in this case, speak 2,000 words. Or if you’re selling a service, explain the state of your client’s business before they hired you, and where they’re at now.

The Humor

It’s lighthearted to the point of ridiculousness. Old Spice is hitting it’s new target market, the informal millennial generation, just right.

How to Do This With Email: This is trickier to do with text, but still can be done. If you’re going to take this route, make sure you’re targeting a market that will appreciate it. Also, if your usual emails are somewhat more staid, you may want to create a new character or campaign to explain the hike in humor.

Apple: 1984

What Makes It Work? Techniques to Try

The Mystery

Right from the beginning, Apple kept technophiles impatient for release day with announcements that “something big is coming” (a common brand strategy).

How to Do This With Email: By their very nature, each email is a mystery. The subject line offers a clue; the message inside gives a cryptic answer. The full story can only be found back on your web site. Work on building the suspense with your wording; don’t give too much away at once. And remember, as a marketing method, this works well if, and only if, you deliver something that lives up to the hype.

The Literary Reference

On high school and book club reading lists across the globe, 1984 is a reference many would recognize.

How to Do This With Email: What’s big in pop culture right now? What’s happening in the news? Choose an event, then create a themed offer.

The Suggestion of Superiority

This commercial portrays the masses as mindless sheep. It promises viewers, “You can be better than that. We’ll show you how.”

How to Do This With Email: As journalists say, “show, don’t tell” your readers how your product or service can make their lives exceptional. This message is especially powerful in Germany and the United States, where individuality is highly valued.

Sending a Full Commercial In Your Email

In Apple’s 1984 commercial, the lighting, synchronicity of movement, rhythmic voice and drumbeat all create a far more powerful feeling of conformity than words on a page could.

If your message, like this, is far more powerful as a video, and you’re able to shoot and edit it yourself, you can upload it to a video hosting site such as YouTube and send a video email.

Get Out There, Champ

As of last year, these ads were shown to 111 million people in an effort to reach the advertisers’ target market.

You’ve already got your target audience assembled in your list of email subscribers. They’re all interested enough to grant you regular space in their inbox. Show ’em what you got.

One Comment

  1. Akil

    2/6/2012 5:11 am


    We all can learn a valuable lesson from tv ads and how to use them in our own marketing efforts online and offline. I think the tips shared here will help individuals think outside the box and be more creative in their advertising methods.

    Great book to checkout is Seth Godin Purple Cow which talking about doing and being different when it comes to your business and marketing.

    Thanks for share and I look forward to putting these tips into action.