Talent brand topics break down barriers in Super Bowl marketing

It’s not a secret that Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest marketing days of the year (a 30-second ad slot this year was a “bargain” at $5 million). Companies utilize the 100 million+ viewers to (hopefully) build brand equity — and according to a survey administered after the 2014 game, 29% of consumers expressed a likelihood in the next three months of becoming customers of the brand attached to their favorite commercial.

Long story short, Super Bowl ads have traditionally been consumer-facing marketing. Until this past Sunday, that is.

Among the usual commercials for domestic beer, TV series premieres, and your favorite candy indulgences, 84 Lumber and Audi shook things up by using their national spotlights to bring two talent brand topics to the table.

The Pittsburgh lumber retailer used their 90-second slot to launch a national recruiting campaign that aims to fill 400 managerial trainee positions for its 2017 program. Using the hot-button issue of immigration for the main content of its commercial, 84 Lumber’s original cut was deemed too controversial to air by Fox (spoiler alert: it involved a wall). The final cut left the immigrants’ journey on a cliffhanger, pointing viewers to their website to finish the story. The ad garnered so much interest that it broke their website (don’t worry, it’s back up now).

Audi continued the talent brand platform with a moving promotion for equal gender pay by featuring a father’s voice-over as he watches his daughter compete in a box-car race, contemplating the gender inequality she may face in the future. The ad’s conclusion establishes Audi’s strong stance supporting equal gender pay.

Why is this shift in commercial marketing happening, you may ask?

Consumers — which include your potential job candidates — are caring more and more about your entire brand, including the values you live by, the vision you strive for, and the causes that drive your business. At first thought the idea of taking a stance on a controversial issue may seem like bad business sense, for some negative backlash is certainly inevitable.

Yes, some candidates will be turned off by these statements. But I’m sure 84 Lumber and Audi would agree that that individual candidate probably wouldn’t have been a great fit with the company, anyway.

And isn’t that one of the goals of effective employer branding?

An effective employer brand provides an authentic look at the inner-workings of a company, including (especially) the values and characteristics that drive it. Every candidate is different, and not everyone is fit to work for your company, and that’s OK. If some are turned off by your recruitment marketing content, you’re doing something right.

Nice work, 84 Lumber and Audi.