30-second spots in the 2015 Super Bowl sold at a record $4.5 million. Many of the 61 commercials had their sights on the coveted 18-34 Millennial generation who collectively are expected to spend more than $200 billion annually starting in 2017.

3 Millennial Targeted Super Bowl Ads, Hits or Misses

Trying to reach Millennials via traditional TV commercials can be a challenge thanks to DVR, Netflix, and mobile devices that offer a second screen experience. To increase engagement many of the 2015 ads embraced social media.

The first Super Bowl hashtag appeared in 2011 in an Audi ad. In the 2015 ads there were 28 ads that included hashtags, 4 prompts for Facebook, 3 for Twitter, and 25 prompts for a dedicated URL.

Here are three Millennial targeted Super Bowl ads that hit and missed the mark.

Pitch Perfect 2

Besides being a hilarious trailer, Pitch Perfect 2 stood out in a very unique way during the Super Bowl. Universal Pictures’ Pitch Perfect 2 was the only ad out of 61 that promoted viewers to go to the photo messaging application and social network, Snapchat. With 71% of it’s 100+ million users under the age of 25, Snapchat appears to be a perfect (pardon the pun) fit to reach Millennials. As Snapchat gains momentum with users and in the ad industry, this could become the first of many Millennial hungry advertisers that direct viewers to Snapchat.

Millennial Target: Hit


Rather than use celebrity athletes, Reebok used everyday young fitness enthusiast in their new ad. Well played as many Millennials are persuaded more so by their peers than celebrity endorsements. Reebok also choose to include the Millennial trend of extreme races (such as Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder) in the ad. The campaign gave a subtle nod to a less digital world with the tag line “Be more human” which may or may not have resonated with the Digital Native generation.

Millennial Target: Hit


Budweiser is pulling out all the stops to win over Millennial drinkers. Almost half of Millennials have never drank a Budweiser. 50% of Millennials have consumed craft brew and 43% of Millennials say craft beer tastes better than mainstream beers. With Budweiser’s slipping marketshare with Millennials, it’s no wonder they took a direct shot at the craft beer lovers in their Super Bowl ad. If they continue with this campaign, I believe it will backfire and they will ultimately alienate the Millennial beer drinker. Diversifying like Samuel Adams has done, would be a better approach to win over Millennials. 

Millennial Target: Miss

Question: What other Super Bowl ads hit their mark?

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