The Total Market Strategy Scores at Super Bowl XLIX

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By Adriana Hemans – SoapBox Sample (MMR)

If you’re looking for proof that marketers are embracing the total market approach to advertising, Super Bowl XLIX is chock full of examples. Some of the most memorable ads this year, including spots from Toyota, Nationwide, and Dove, exemplify the shift away from culturally targeted ads in favor of a total market strategy that focuses on the shared cultural values of all Americans. In 2012 Ad Age forecasted that the total market strategy would outstrip culturally specific advertising, and predicted that the trend would be accompanied by “growing pains” within the industry. After seeing elegant examples of the total market strategy on Sunday, it may be safe to assume that this new strategy has come of age. In Dove’s Men + Care ad, we saw men of many different races interacting with their children, fulfilling the same needs in their children’s lives, and highlighting how the experience of fatherhood crosses cultural lines. During Toyota’s Camry ad, viewers got a glimpse into the life of Paralympic athlete Amy Purdy. As she struggles to complete her routine, we hear the motivating voice of Muhammad Ali. This ad speaks to the trials that athletes of all races face, and like the Dove ad, draws from a universal emotion that transcends cultural divisions. Multicultural advertising is not only beneficial for fostering a more inclusive American culture, but from an advertising standpoint it just makes sense. Each year the diversity of Super Bowl viewers increases. And marketers will tell you that when it comes to Super Bowl ads, the big winners are the ones that go viral on social media after the big game is over. With current research suggesting that African Americans and Hispanics are more likely than their white counterparts to frequent social media sites, advertisers have more reasons than ever to embrace a total market approach.In short, the total market approach is more efficient, more effective and more inclusive of all Americans. The trend of pinpointing advertising messages to certain groups seems to be fading away and taking its place is the portrayal of an over-arching American experience that everyone can identify with, regardless of which football team they rooted for.

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