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Here We Go! 3 Lessons in TV Advertising from the Super Mario Brothers Movie  

Have you seen the new Super Mario Brothers movie yet? If not, be prepared for a spoiler: Not only do they save the world, but they can teach us a lesson or two on the importance of TV advertising.  

Meredith Cunningham Published: April 28, 2023

By Meredith Cunningham, Content Marketing Lead, TEGNA

Mama Mia, humor me for a minute.  

I recently took my nephews to see the new Super Mario Brothers movie, which exceeded my expectations. Not only did it give this millennial a much-needed dose of feel-good nostalgia, but it also made me put on my thinking cap. There were takeaways for marketers following the release of 80 for Brady, and it looks like the Super Mario universe is no different.  

“Let’s-a go!” 

At the movie’s beginning, we see a TV ad for Super Mario Bros. Plumbing. While reminding me of the ads in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2, the Mario ad – and the entire scene in the movie, for that matter – is what this TV ad sales marketer’s dreams are made of.  

In fact, this fictional ad does everything I wrote about in a recent article: Plumber Advertising: 10 Ideas and Tips. It captured my attention. The song was catchy, and the line “… the only thing you haven’t drained is my bank account” made me laugh out loud.  

Better yet, the call-to-action – visit – is a real website, totally worth a look. You can watch the spot again on the home page above the fold. The site has clean navigation – a real about us section and featured testimonials. You have to fill out a CAPTCHA to see the service area map, there’s a live chat … the whole nine yards. The job section shows an opening for a marketing manager, and the marketing of this fictional job has already done a phenomenal job.  

But what’s best, at least in my mind, is that the TV ad was effective. Following the airing of the commercial, the phone starts ringing. Mario and Luigi have booked their first appointment! Wahoo!   

I know this is a fictional movie based on a video game, but there’s a real lesson to be learned here. If movies imitate real life, then we can assume that TV ads also work in real life. It’s true! I’ve seen TV ads work for so many of our partners at TEGNA, and they do, in fact, get the phones ringing – especially for home services providers such as Roof Fix in San Antonio and iRestore in St. Louis.   

Digging deep into hypotheticals, the phones could also have been ringing for our heroes Mario and Luigi because of where they placed this amazing TV ad. Later in the movie, we see the local news reporting on a significant manhole leak, so I can only assume that the ad was also aired on the local news station, which helps to build brand trust, at least in the real world, that is. After all, studies have shown that consumers are more likely to trust – and buy from – brands that advertise alongside sources of information they trust, such as local TV news stations. 

While I can’t imagine Mario and Luigi studied up on their target audience or tracked the results of their campaign with a tool like TEGNA Attribution, I do have to tip my hat to them with the memorable creative.  

Pardon the corny here, but in saving the world, they’ve also served the greater good of their local community, and they’d be an ideal advertising partner for any TEGNA station. I wish it were real, not just a pipe dream.  

About TEGNA 

TV advertising has worked and driven tangible results for thousands of our partners, helping to make TV the second most profitable advertising medium in the United States. Advertising, especially alongside trusted local news broadcasts, reaffirms a brand’s place in the community and showcases that your brand can also be trusted with the right amount of frequency and exposure to target audiences. By aligning with the unique content opportunities that TEGNA offers, your brand has an opportunity to be the talk of the town. Let’s get in touch if you’re thinking of amplifying your brand’s TV efforts or joining TEGNA affiliates to serve the greater good of our communities.  

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