2014 Super Bowl Advertising: Ahead of the Game

January 31, 2014

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The Super Bowl is here and that only means one thing, advertisements.This week has been total ad “chaos” with some marketers choosing to feed content to the public via YouTube and other social channels in order to build buzz before the big day.[1] According to MediaPost, the most recent stats of the 55 2014 Super Bowl spots already posted on YouTube have recorded 20 million more views than those posted early last year.[2] The total cost of a Super Bowl ad has risen to about $4 million for 30 seconds of airtime, quite a sizable change from last year.[3] The top five most-watched Super Bowl teasers thus far, are Axe with 3.8 million views; Butterfinger with 3.2 million views; Doritos Finger Cleaner from the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest with 2.9 million views; Dannon Oikos with 2.8 million views, and Bud Light with 1.9 million views.[4] If these numbers tell us anything, it’s that these early released ads are game changers.

To better prepare for Sunday’s ad showdown, members of our Digital and Broadcast teams offered some opinions and predictions. Not surprisingly, Budweiser was a fan favorite as it has continually proven to effectively engage fans while maintaining a strong brand message. Ali Weitzner, a NorBella Media Planner, noted, “I’m always excited to see what Budweiser is going to do, especially with the Clydesdale horses. There are a lot of advertisers that focus on being funny or entertaining the audience, but lose the brand message. Budweiser is one company that everyone knows will be well done and stay true to its brand.” One shared prediction was that GoDaddy.com will be one of the most popular and talked about. As we have seen in previous years, GoDaddy has a strong reputation for producing pretty unusual and often times risqué ads, using their creative to drive social media hype. We’re especially excited to see Audi’s take on “Doberhuahua,” Chihuahua meets Doberman, and how this will tie back to their brand. #Doberhuahua is on our list of hashtags to watch on Sunday.

This year, more than ever, social media will be the main forum for public discussion on the big day.[5] The overwhelming amount of tweets, hashtags, shares and likes will either heighten the popularity of some ads or distract the audience from the intent of the message and brand. Antigone Smith, a NorBella Digital Buyer, was hoping for a more direct tie to social after seeing a teaser for M&M’s ad. “The preview shows the yellow M&M dancing and then he gets attacked. The spot ends with a sign letting people know they can find out what happens to yellow on Sunday, leaving me curious and wanting to see more,” said Antigone. M&M could have taken a stand in the social buzz from curious preview watchers by pushing a hashtag like #wheresyellow. Keep your eyes peeled for hashtags within commercials, social promotions and during the game tweets from brands that will dominate viewer interaction.[6]

With only a few days to go, this year’s Super Bowl advertising has already established that traditional “prime-time” television viewing is conceding influence to the growing digital and social world, which leaves us wondering: will the increased competition to generate the most popular ad cause marketers to lose sight of the very important brand focus? Have Super Bowl ads lost much of their excitement due to these excessive previews?