Content Brief: Super Bowl ads, GIF search engines, and more content news

Though February only has 28 (sometimes 29) days, the month is a surprisingly big one for the marketing world, thanks to a myriad of holidays (Valentine’s Day) and big sporting events (American football). Here’s what happened in content marketing this past month.

Super Bowl ads were political

Can anyone escape politics these days? Clearly, the answer is no, and that includes brands. Things only intensified at Super Bowl LI, where many featured political undertones as brands leaned into progressive politics. Coca-Cola revived one of its ads from three years ago to feature a multicultural and multilingual chorus of “America the Beautiful.” Airbnb’s last-minute spot embraced a message of acceptance with its hashtag #WeAccept. Audi’s spot brought attention to the fight for equal pay between all genders.

But two ads really caused conversation, if not outright controversy. Budweiser’s ad featuring the history of how the label’s co-founder immigrated to America from Germany in the 1800s quickly sparked a #BoycottBudweiser trend on social media. (It’s worth noting that there were plenty of users who clamored to buy Budweiser as well). Finally, there was the ad from a little-known supplier of building materials in Pennsylvania—84 Lumber—that showed a mother and daughter’s journey through Mexico and, presumably, the United States. The end of the ad prompted viewers to head to this website to finish the ad; the website crashed and viewers were left confused.

Regardless of what you thought of the ads—good, bad, too political—they signal to other brands around the world that they too need to decide whether to lean into or back out of brand politics.

The search engine for emotions

How often do you search for a GIF on the internet? How often do you send one to a friend, a coworker, a family member? One startup is betting on that being pretty often. Tenor, a startup search engine for GIFs, can count over 200 million times per day users search for GIFs on their platform alone. The startup sees themselves as a search engine for emotions and plans to create revenue. The question many are asking is, are GIFs big business?

But what we’re more curious about is whether Tenor could eventually create their own media to turn into GIFs. It’s not that crazy of an idea; that was basically Vine’s M.O. Why can’t the same logic be applied to brands? Plenty of companies are now “eating their own dog food” (see below) to create content similar to content they provide, but is it possible Tenor could go the same route with marketers in the future? Only time will tell.

Who’s getting in the content game this month

It seems like every month a big brand announces its plans to jump into the TV market or the documentary market for branded content. These are the ones that made big news this month:

It just goes to show what there are plenty of big names looking to move into content. It’s not too late! For more on content marketing news, be sure to follow us on Twitter.

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