Touchdown Tactics: What Recruitment Marketers Can Learn From Super Bowl Ads

Rodney HessBy Rodney Hess
February 10th, 2024 • 4 Minutes

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Football fanatics aren’t the only ones who tune in on Super Bowl Sunday. Over the years, it has gone from sport’s biggest night to an annual cultural and advertising juggernaut. Marketers across the globe watch for the spots in between the spectacle with a keen eye for some of the most innovative and influential Super Bowl ads they’ll see in 2024. 

For recruitment marketers, the Super Bowl provides a wealth of inspiration, offering insights into employer branding, engaging dialogue and staying on top of trends. 

Let’s go long (see what we did there?) and learn the ways recruitment marketing can harness the power of these Super Bowl advertising strategies.

The Super Bowl: A Marketer’s Dream Stage

Drawing an audience of over 100 million, the Super Bowl presents a unique blend of diverse demographics that is unlike any other opportunity. The advertisements are a key attraction—often overshadowing the game itself—representing the pinnacle of creative marketing by blending humor, emotion and storytelling to leave a lasting impression on a global audience. 

There’s a lot recruitment marketers can learn from brands who spend a pretty penny on these coveted ad spots.

Winning Plays – Strategies for Ad Success

The art of big game advertising lies in a few core strategies. Let’s examine these strategies through the lens of iconic ads:

1. Storytelling and Emotional Connection:

For 2024, we’re particularly fond of the penultimate storyteller Sir Anthony Hopkins in the spot for STōK Cold Brew Coffee. Dove is also a favorite with its continuing focus on positive body image–the little girl looking at herself in the mirror tells a story that words can’t even touch.  These ads showcase how narratives can transcend the product itself, creating a bond with the audience. Recruitment marketers can apply these storytelling techniques to showcase their company culture and values, creating an emotional appeal to potential candidates.

2. Memorable Moments and Nostalgia:

Ads that create memorable moments or evoke nostalgia resonate across demographics. They remind us that effective marketing often hinges on creating content that sticks in the audience’s memory. 

This year, brands like e.l.f. Cosmetics, Skechers, and Uber Eats are tapping in to the nostalgia by featuring celeb cameos from Judge Judy, Mr. T, Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer–who, arguably, are the most famous couple to ever be “on a break.” 

For recruitment, this could mean crafting campaigns that highlight memorable aspects of working at a company or tapping into the nostalgia of a storied corporate history.

The Game-Changing Benefits of Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl advertisements offer more than just immediate visibility. They provide a platform for long-term brand building and recall. This effect is magnified by the digital ripple, where ads continue to live on and engage audiences across social media and online platforms. The 84 Lumber ad, for example, saw immense success online, translating into tangible recruitment results. This showcases the potential of ads to not only capture attention but also to drive action.

The Kick is Good – Spotlight on 84 Lumber’s Winning Ad

The 84 Lumber commercial from 2023 represents a groundbreaking moment in recruitment marketing, illustrating the profound impact of storytelling and emotional resonance in attracting talent. More than just an advertisement, it was a cinematic narrative that captivated millions, telling the poignant story of a mother and daughter’s journey, symbolically aligning with the journey of job seekers. 

Its success was not just in viewer numbers but in its ability to generate over 2 million registrations on their recruitment site. This remarkable response demonstrates the power of an emotionally compelling and well-crafted story to not only draw attention but also inspire action. 

By moving beyond traditional advertising confines and tapping into universal themes of aspiration and perseverance, 84 Lumber set a new standard in employer branding, showing that a company’s values and culture can be powerful magnets for potential employees. The ad’s success is invaluable for recruitment marketers to learn from, underscoring the importance of authenticity and emotional connection in crafting campaigns that resonate deeply with their target audience.

The Cost of Playing in the Super Bowl

Engaging in this level of advertising is an expensive affair, but the potential returns can be substantial. The key is to measure the ROI not just in immediate terms but in long-term brand enhancement and talent recruitment. Companies must balance the high costs against the potential for significant brand elevation and the opportunity to tap into a vast pool of talent. It’s certainly going to be a hefty spend, but if the returns could outweigh the cost, it’s definitely worth exploring.

Applying Super Strategies in Recruitment Marketing

Recruitment marketers can draw valuable lessons from Super Bowl ads even if they don’t have the budget to place one themselves:

1. Leveraging Trends and Social Issues

Super Bowl ads often reflect current trends and social issues. For instance, the use of AI and crypto themes in recent ads shows a keen understanding of current cultural conversations. Recruitment campaigns can tap into similar trends to show that they are in sync with the times and understand the candidates’ world.

2. Employer Branding and Employee Celebration

Just as these ads often celebrate the brand, recruitment marketing can focus on celebrating the company and its employees. Highlighting stories of employee success and workplace culture can be as impactful as any product advertisement.

3. Building Anticipation and Engaging on Social Media

The pre- and post-game buzz and social media engagement surrounding the ads are lessons in building anticipation and engaging with an audience. Recruitment campaigns can similarly create buzz around new openings or initiatives, leveraging social media to expand reach and engagement.

The Super Bowl is more than a game—it’s a showcase of marketing ingenuity. Recruitment marketers looking to attract top talent can learn much from the strategies employed in these ads. By focusing on storytelling, emotional connections, leveraging current trends and creating memorable content, recruitment marketing can not only attract candidates but also create a lasting impression of the employer brand.

What was your favorite Super Bowl ad from years past? Leave us a comment! For the top tools to help your recruitment marketing efforts, visit our marketplace now. Happy hiring and GO TEAM!

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