Super Bowl Commercials Teach Important Lessons For Crowdfunding


Date: 26.02.2018

Last night, I enjoyed my annual ritual of watching the best television commercials of the year, interrupted periodically by a football game. I’m probably not alone. According to a 2010 study, Super Bowl viewers enjoy the commercials more than game. While that wasn’t likely true in last night’s nail-biter, I was still focused on the commercials, especially the lessons crowdfunders can learn from them.

Crowdfunding videos are at heart commercials for a campaign. The video that drives a crowdfunding campaign has always been an important part of a campaign. The standard for what makes an acceptable campaign video is rising. If you are interested in what makes a great video for a crowdfunding campaign, watching commercials from the Super Bowl is not a bad idea.

I found three commercials that have particular relevance for crowdfunding, especially for cause-oriented campaigns.

  1. Budweiser 2018 Super Bowl Commercial | “Stand By You”

This one-minute ad, my favorite for 2018, features a syrupy dose of emotion that is familiar in Budweiser’s Super Bowl ads. Evoking that sort of emotion can be important to some crowdfunding campaigns, especially those advocating for a cause.

First, the ad cautiously established a sense of urgency and disaster. Notably, this didn’t require images of flooding, fires, dead bodies, naked children or anything of the sort. A phone call in the middle of the night, a little radio voiceover drew us in quickly to the story in the first 12 seconds.


Second, the video conveys a sense of sacrifice, but the ad is careful not to overplay its hand. Kevin Fahrenkrog, general manager of the Cartersville Brewery, leaves home in the middle of the night, stops the line—after confirming the plant was meeting its target orders—and starts producing water. The ad put Fahrenkrog at home for dinner that night, reminding viewers that he didn’t sacrifice too much.

Third, the video captures the scale and speed of the response. The plant is quickly switched over from producing beer to producing canned water for the response. Lots of water. The production line marches cans like tin soldiers going off to fight the disaster that are packed into cases, loaded by dancing forklifts onto to trucks and sent quickly to give relief.

The music for the ad sets the tone. For crowdfunders this represents a dilemma. Buying the rights to use a popular song can be tricky and expensive. Over the years, I’ve purchased almost 100 royalty free music tracks to use in my videos. Buying dozens at a time for less than $100 makes it feasible but I’m never going to get “Stand by Me” so easily or inexpensively.

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