Sunday’s Big Game was no slouch, but it was the commercials that stole the show. What was different this year? There was a consistent theme of doing good for others. This year’s ads put the “social” in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Here’s what hit the mark, what didn’t, and how you should use the info to build your brand.


What Worked:

“Like a Girl” - Always

While the Always “Like a Girl” campaign has been out for some time, seeing it on the world’s biggest advertising stage signaled something important. Always has a bazillion dollars to spend on advertising, and they went with “Like a Girl”. Why? Because it was their best choice. They could have spent that money giving you subliminal messages about using their products. They could have spent it getting a celebrity. But out of all their options, “Like a Girl” was their best.

Takeaway: it worked. “Like a Girl” was the most talked about ad of the game (USAToday).

Your how-to: Find something that fits your mission. Always makes products exclusively for females, so it makes sense that their CSR campaign is targeted to the same audience. Always doesn’t sell feminine products, they sell confidence. What are you selling?


“Pay with Lovin’” - McDonalds

McDonald’s is bringing out the “love” in their decades-old “I’m lovin it” slogan. Gone are the hipsters eating cheeseburgers at band practice and the Olympic athletes chowing down on chicken nuggets (really, McDonalds, you weren’t fooling anyone). Instead, we’re treated to sweet scenes where mothers brag about their child’s compassion and families use hugs to pay for food.

Takeaway: Instead of giving them money, McDonald’s is inviting us to give each other some love. That’s pretty socially responsible.

Your how-to: Do you have an old (but great) tagline? Try looking at it in a new way. You might pair your new focus with a “pay it forward” campaign to capitalize on the trend.


What Didn't Work:


Jublia - Valeant

[Jublia's commercial could not be found online. I can only guess at the reason why.]

Wait, was that a football helmet on a fungus-ie toe? Yes, yes it was. It took me a full 30 seconds to realize what was going on… just enough time for the commercial to be over. I couldn’t have told you the name of the product if you gave me a hundred dollars.

Takeaway: Valeant was off on tone, content and timing. With 30 second ads costing upwards of a mind-boggling $4 million, this is not the time to get it wrong.

Your how to: Know your audience. If you’re putting up millions of dollars for a toe fungus commercial, consider placing it at a time people will not be eating.


“Who I Am” featuring Kate Upton - Game of War

Has there ever been a more uninspired commercial? This ad has been ridiculed, but Game of War is lucky people are talking about it at all.

Takeaway: You can’t just take a celebrity, plop them into your commercial and expect something good to happen.

Your how-to: Take a page out of the Always book and go for mission-fit with a message.


Why It Matters:

At the end of the day, there’s only one thing that matters for these commercials - did they sell? Ads that hit the mark over the last few years have more than made back their cost. Skechers has tripled its stock price after their 2012 Mr. Quiggly commercial seen below.


Chrysler has seen a 50% increase in sales since their 2011 “Imported from Detroit” commercial featuring Eminem. Watch it now below.

So did this year’s ads translate to sales? It’s too early to tell, but with this kind of growth in the CSR trend it’s worth the risk.

How are you using CSR? We’re here to help. If you haven’t started yet, mention this post for 20% off your first month. Contact us at: