Career Lessons We Learned from 2014’s Super Bowl Commercials

Each year America celebrates the biggest television holiday of the year at the start of February. Of course, I’m speaking of the Super Bowl, the biggest annual football game. Although, every year the football game itself might not feature the best match up, there is one key component of the television broadcast that keeps everyone glued to the television to see what happens next, and I’m not referring to the Half-Time show. Of course, I am speaking of the Super Bowl commercials.

This year, we decided to find out if the most expensive commercials run on American television had any career advice to offer us. To our surprise, there were several useful tips.

Here are some highlights:

1.  Have a professional brand

Stephen Colbert shared a key to career success in the spot from Wonderful Pistachios. In this two-part commercial, the first half featured a lone Colbert sitting in a bare office. The second part showed Colbert in the same office, this time flanked by banners promoting Wonderful Pistachios, and perfectly illustrated a key component to any successful career–the power of branding.

Without a personal brand, we’re all just professionals sitting in an empty office selling pistachios. But when we brand ourselves with a specific style that highlights our attributes, skills, and personality, we can capture the attention of people who can advance our careers.

So when branding yourself, find a way to promote your strengths and interests that represents you. Decide on your personal brand’s style of word choice, of the images you use, the sites you frequent, what you share, and how you comment. Once you have your brand in place, let it color the professional decisions you make and drive how your present yourself.

2.  Always be ready with the numbers

Ford Motors’ Super Bowl commercial had an interesting nugget of career advice, though you may have overlooked it. The commercial, “Nearly Double” promoted Ford’s new fuel efficient Fusion and emphasized it has “nearly double” the fuel economy of the average vehicle. Over the course of a minute and half, the ad was relentless in reminding us “nearly double” the fuel efficiency. But this was for good reason! “Nearly double” is an impressive statistic that is easy to remember. It’s great evidence for how well the Fusion can perform.

When we’re writing resumes and being interviewed for jobs, this is what we should strive to do. Frequently refer to quantifiable statistics that demonstrate the value we bring to an organization. This will make our accomplishments easy to digest, and at the same time, memorable.

So when you’re applying to a job, composing a professional profile, or interviewing for a job, be sure you focus on actual tangible results you’ve delivered and discuss, them in the most memorable way you can. You may see “nearly double” the success!

3.  Have a plan B 

Quarterback Tim Tebow has been an interesting phenomenon in the football experience over the last few years. A Heisman Trophy winner, BSC National Champion, and current NFL free agent, Tebow hasn’t been able to keep an NFL job. Although the quarterback has seen some play time in the NFL, he hasn’t landed a job that has given him a chance to succeed. But he hasn’t let that stop him.

In T-Mobile’s “No Contract“, Tebow shows off exactly how much he’s accomplished since he failed to land a job in the NFL. Although Tebow’s accomplishments featured in the ad are completely fictitious, the commercial has an important career lesson to teach us all. Always be ready with a plan B.

Tebow may not have fulfilled his dream of becoming a full-time NFL quarterback, but he isn’t going quietly into the night. In 2013 he was signed by ESPN and now works as a college football analyst. He is embracing a plan B. It may not be the initial career he envisioned for himself, but making the most of it regardless. he has found an employer to drive his new career forward.

In our careers, we should strive to be like Tebow. When we don’t have that contact for our dream job, we don’t give up. We do our best at a plan B.

4.  Seize restlessness

Jeep’s Super Bowl commercial “Restlessness” might be all the career advice you’ll ever need. During a montage of outdoors moments a narrator voice over states that “restlessness starts with an itch and ends in progress. It is your ambition refusing to be bottled up.”

It is too easy to grow comfortable and apathetic in our careers, too easy to ignore ambition in favor of security. But in the end, simply settling will never leave us satisfied. We must seize opportunities and move forward in our lives and in our careers. We must be ready to try new things, conquer new obstacles, and embrace change. Only then can we achieve true happiness. It’s easier to regret something you have done, then something you haven’t!

5.  Go all the way 

Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl commercial “Going All the Way” offered a great kernel of career advice. The ad features a youth football player who, when given the chance to score an uncontested touchdown, sprints to the end zone, and keeps running. The green and yellow clad youngster doesn’t stop running till he reaches the end zone of Lambeau Field. Believe it or not, this isn’t just a feel-good football promotion. This is a career strategy.

In your career, don’t ever “just finish.” Always strive for more and dream bigger. If you want success to be proud of, look beyond the task in front of you. When we strive for greatness, rather than “just finishing,” we make the chance to do great things. Make the Lambeau leap!

So as you leave the couch and head back to office this week, try to keep this career advice in mind. Don’t get blindsided, clotheslined, or clipped. Be ready to make the play!