Why brands are increasingly tying their big game buys to a cause.
A beer brand touting its disaster relief efforts. A car brand supporting gender equality. A vacation rental company pushing for diversity. Recent years have seen a rise in the number of brands aligning themselves with causes, a trend that has found its way into advertising’s biggest night—the Super Bowl. Brands backed a cause in just 6 percent of Super Bowl ads a decade ago. Today it’s about a quarter of all spots, according to Charles Taylor, professor of marketing at the Villanova School of Business.
With the chance to reach massive audiences, companies like Airbnb, Audi and Budweiser have used the Super Bowl to align their brands with causes viewers care about. And for good reason: A new study by Accenture Strategy found 62 percent of consumers surveyed want brands to take a stand on issues.
“Increasingly the baseline expectation is that brands be good corporate citizens,” said MullenLowe chief strategy officer Elizabeth Paul. “Sometimes [the Super Bowl] is an opportunity for a brand to artfully take credit for the good that they do during the year, and sometimes it’s them wanting to use that stage and that platform to associate with a cause.”
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