Most of you know that every year I study Super Bowl commercials – for one thing, it’s fun. But most importantly, there are always significant lessons to be learned for business owners. What worked? What failed? How can business owners leverage lessons from the Super Bowl (commercials)?

Here is one lesson from a past Super Bowl commercial that defies gravity….literally. Perhaps you remember in 2016, a unique Super Bowl commercial by the then-unheard-of Death Wish Coffee that made a big impression? Read my take on it from 2016

You see, Death Wish Coffee was just a local roaster with big plans…but they certainly never had plans to go into outer space. After its blast off to coffee stardom, guess where Death Wish Coffee is now? Yep, the International Space Station.

How did a small coffee company launch into this type of success? The then-four-year-old business with a small cult following entered the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Big Game contest and shot past the other 15,000 entrants to win a Super Bowl commercial.

A Small Decision

I am sure that when someone at Death Wish said hey let’s enter this contest, that it was a “Yeah, sure, go ahead and try it” kind of decision and not a “the future of our company will be dependent on us winning this contest” decision. But, the video entries were voted on by the public and a multi-million dollar commercial spot – free for Death Wish Coffee – introduced the powerful brew to 167 million people – in a pretty fantastic 30-second spot.

Before the Super Bowl commercial, resting count of visitors on Death Wish’s website was 500.  After the commercial aired, that number soared to 147,000 with the vast majority connecting via mobile devices creating a 400% spike in sales over the next several days.

Big Impact

Death Wish Coffee’s crazy ride continues! They counted down to lift off in June, when the “world’s strongest coffee” made its journey in the Dragon capsule aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station. So the world’s strongest coffee is now the strongest coffee in the…universe? Why, yes…yes, it is!

Death Wish worked alongside NASA Food Labs to create a freeze-dried blend of the super caffeinated goodness, and NASA special packaged it for the astronauts aboard the Space Station.

Wow – talk about a cosmic success story!

Lessons for Business Owners

Looking back on the business decisions you’ve made, which ones have the greatest impact…the BIG ones or the myriad of little ones?

In my experience, it is the little decisions that were critical to setting up the big decisions. The decision to “go to an optional meeting” where a valuable new contact is made…the decision to “stay focused on your ONE thing” and get it done…the decision to “be flexible and see what doors are opened” through this or that marketing strategy…the decision to “see what the market responds to” and embrace it even though it may not be what we planned.

Be open minded and be flexible. Someone at Death Wish Coffee certainly was in 2016 when the decision was made to enter Intuit Quickbooks’ contest. What may have been a lark decision at first for Death Wish set them up for their now-big decisions and has Death Wish truly shooting for the stars.

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