Look Mum we’re on TV: B2B marketing has made it

Over the weekend the Super Bowl once again treated us to some of the most talked-about, big-budget blockbuster advertising in the marketing calendar. Classic Wayne’s World characters were resurrected for [only] UberEats’ benefit, Matthew McConaughey became uncharacteristically 2D, and all the beers (Stella, Samuel Adams, Bud Light, Guinness, Anheuser-Busch) snagged coveted airtime to sell their lockdown liveners.

But amid the cheese and the Cheetos, something else was at play – the continued rise of B2B advertising in traditionally consumer-centric spaces So, as B2B continues to slide into the mainest of all streams, here’s some of our favourites from this year’s Super Bowl.

Squarespace

Superslick website builder Squarespace was an obvious entry for all the CMSs out there. And for 37 seconds of airtime they enlisted none other than Dolly Parton to rework her classic paean to the working day, ‘9 to 5’. Squarespace’s clever setting and number swap riff insinuates that the real work starts after quitting time – when you’re able to put the time into your side hustle.

The message and sentiment behind this ad is super smart for work today, as rigid hours and working patterns are not so much flexible as non-existent.

Verdict: Good, harmless fun. Strong celebrity involvement. A-

Intuit/TurboTax

Intuit continues to promote products for everyone. Including the money management software, Mint, Quickbooks for accounting, and the primarily-US tax tool TurboTax. All of which make a usually tax-ing process suddenly easy and universal.

TurboTax is promised to the world in much the same way: a simple, easy product tackling a complicated procedure. They further this image with the added incentive of knowledge and expertise, with TT enabling ‘spreading tax expertise across the land’.

Verdict: Fair attempt at glossing up tax software. Not the clearest message, but looks nice. C+

Fiverr

Freelancer marketplace, Fiverr, went big with a spot that sent up the Four Seasons Total Landscaping disaster/boon (depending whether you’re Donald Trump or the owner of an agricultural supplies store in Philadelphia). Worker drones (a la Oompa Loompas) scurry about trying to find your next creative solution, among trippy, vibrant visuals.

The diverse library of freelancers and projects are what Fiverr is trying to communicate here, alongside the ease of use and the ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ of the product. In what becomes a riff on the idea of what you can do with the right people, Fiverr creates a fun, compelling ad that gets across their point at the same time.

Verdict: Wackiness and tongue-in-cheek pays off. B

Klarna

Klarna went for a more on-the-nose approach than Fiverr. With help from Maya Rudolph, Maya Rudolph, Maya Rudolph and (you see where I’m going with this right?)
Maya Rudolph, the ‘Four Quarter-Sized Cowboys’ ride into town with a pair of pink boots on their mind. And sure enough, with help from their Klarna app, they ride off suited and booted. Surely they’ll need another three pairs though..?

As with Squarespace and Dolly, it shows that B2B brands aren’t just having a tilt at bigger budget, landmark advertising – they’re genuinely invested and are putting serious creative weight behind it. In this case, a theme and story that takes the smoooth message on a level, and a proper celeb fronting the piece.

Verdict: Communicates Klarna clearly. Four Mayas is better than none. B+