Make no mistake, advertising is a tough business.
Play it too safe and nobody will notice your ad. Push it too far to the edge, however, and you could find yourself in the middle of a massive controversy, as some banks and other financial companies have learned to their peril. It can be tough to find that ideal middle ground, where the ad is both noticed and manages to drive home the right message.
Nowhere are the stakes higher than at the Super Bowl, however. Most banks can't afford to run an ad during the big game — the cost to run an ad in 2018 is at least $5 million, according to Sports Illustrated — but several have ponied up, with mixed results.
SoFi, for example, scored a hit ad that ran during the 2017 game, which served as penance for its widely panned commercial during the game a year earlier. Synovus, meanwhile, ran a regional ad in 2017 during the Super Bowl that managed to be both funny and highlight the institution's work with small businesses, while Quicken's attempt to tout its Rocket Mortgage service reminded many people uncomfortably of the mortgage business right before the housing crisis.
In honor of the 2018 Super Bowl, we offer a look back at some hits and misses for financial companies' advertisements, both those that ran during the big game and beyond. (And while the final slide is not from the Super Bowl — or even a U.S. bank — it's well worth your time.)