If there’s one clear takeaway marketers should pull from the first Super Bowl appearance of The Farmer’s Dog, it’s this: Don’t increase the size of the logo, make the idea bigger.
I’m acknowledging it’s easier said than done, but if you look at the spot closely, not a single brand mark appears in a lower third for the duration of the ad. Placing one there for a full 60s wouldn’t help increase recall. Brand storytelling for them at this level was rooted in a clear mission and purpose.
Theresa Iezzi and Sophie Forman (creators of the ad) talked to Ad Age about their idea and their approach shows how a worthy reframing exercise helped inspire the development of the ad.
- FROM – There’s a difference between highly processed convenient kibble that’s store-bought and fresh food that is sent directly to consumers.
- TO – Real ingredients help people give their dogs a long, full life.
It’s clear which one gives you more runway to tell a story. When you dive deeper into the ad and why it stood out, it’s full of learnings. Here’s what I took away:
Immediately set up your story and tone.
“I’ll always take care of you” are the first words used in the Super Bowl spot to set up the story and the main character. It’s intentional to guide what care looks like and how it will unfold next. This allows the audience to connect emotionally even before the product is introduced.
Both 15s and 30s marks display how the brand integrates seamlessly into the lifestyle of a dog owner.
It’s not until after the ad and end card appear on the screen do you snap back to reality and remember that it’s a commercial for dog food.
Tension calls us to lean in and see what’s going on.
If there’s one thing you know about pet owners, it’s that they have immense love and deep ties to their furry friends. Each frame transitions seamlessly with warm and sentimental moments that bring both Bear and his owner together. Not only from the perspective of the caretaker, but what it looks like from the dog’s point of view as well.
Tie it all together with some soul.
Music selection is always a big part of making an ad really sing. It evokes the energy you hope to convey. Country music could have been a route to take for the music bed. By opting to pull from the genre of soul music, it helped Farmer’s Dog stand out when compared to all other spots that aired during the big game. The track is from Lee Fields, Sentimental Fool album called “Forever.”
A single-minded proposition goes a long way.
There’s a lot of research available that communicates the fact that if you try and squeeze in more than one message, its effectiveness decreases. Instead of communicating multiple touchpoints that are more logical like — “Our food is cooked at low temps or never frozen,” taking a beat to ladder up to one important proposition shows you the higher-order outcome that spending your dollar with them could produce.
Find a clear moment for branding and reasons to buy.
They could’ve included a coupon for 50% off or a redeemable code at different points in the commercial, but that would’ve broken the established connection, look, and feel the creative gives its viewer. Smart use of the end frame in this way is important to note and call out because nothing here felt like work or out of place.
You’re not overwhelmed with bulky CTA’s like visit, learn more, or buy now in bold flashing white type. It simply states who they are, what they do, and where you can find them if you so choose for your dogs alike.
And C’mon. Look at how they ended the spot. Nothing communicates your dog matters like letting him or her in for a big cuddle session on the main place you get peace and rest—your bed.
The Farmer’s Dog, Creative Directors: Teressa Iezzi & Sophie Foreman
Director: Goh Iromoto
Director of Photography: Alexis Zabe
Production Company: Sanctuary Content
Audio Mix: Sound Lounge