Tampa, FL – This Super Bowl companies are spending as much as $5 million to air an ad for 30 seconds. Some companies are doing something different with their time. They aren't selling a product or service per se, but airing ads they believe will inspire change.
SunTrust Bank is one of those companies. During the fourth quarter's 2-minute warning, SunTrust's commercial, "Hold Your Breath," will air and kick off the company's new Onward and Upward movement or "OnUp."
"It is really about a movement and a purpose versus a product," said SunTrust West Florida CEO Allen Brinkman.
The OnUp movement is meant to inspire you and your family to get financially fit. Brinkman says roughly 80 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, regardless of how much money they make.
"When you talk about a movement and a purpose you hope it will hit people in the right place and they say, ‘I really want to start preparing for my life and my financial well-being and following SunTrust in terms of their having intent to do the right thing for us,'" said Brinkman.
But is SunTrust doing the right thing by spending millions of dollars on a 30-second television ad that isn't meant to sell a product, but inspire change? Brinkman says yes.
Kelli Burns, a USF associate professor who specializes in social media and advertising, says it's a gamble. "Anytime that people feel good and inspired when they watch your advertising that can lead to good feelings of the product," said Burns.
SunTrust isn't the first company to employ "inspirational marketing."
Mattel is using it in its "Imagine the Possibilities" campaign for Barbie. Dove has successfully used it for years with their "Real Beauty" campaign and Always took the win during the 2014 Super Bowl with "Like A Girl."
Burns says companies are trying to tap in to the same uplifting storytelling that you see and share on social media.
"These inspirational ads really take it to another level where we're trying to think about how can I live a better life and be a better person and come away from watching this ad knowing something I didn't know before," said Burns.
Don't be fooled. No matter how inspirational companies are still trying to sell you on their brand. Burns says the goal is to push you to the web and get you talking because that's where the real promotion happens.
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