A digital and marketing pro.

Let’s play ball!

As my friend pointed out, my enthusiastic call as the Superbowl kicked off referred to the wrong sport – baseball, rather than American Football. A strong start.

It’s fair to say, I didn’t have the strongest grasp on the game itself, apart from that it takes 4 hours to play 1 hour worth of sport. I was really watching for the ads, which is not how I normally spend my Sunday afternoons, but I had chips, dips, and beer, so I was rrrrrready!

As someone who has watched the Superbowl ads from the UK over the last couple of years, I was expecting to be all shades of excited. But, it turns out, watching the ‘top 10’ lists is different to watching all 43 ads. Lots of them were incredibly mundane, particularly considering that a 30” spot cost as much as $4.5m.

It’s an odd case this. The concept of ‘the Big Game ad’ seems to be a classic case of channel-led campaigns: old-school, ‘Let’s make A TV Spot for the Superbowl’. But all of the companies here do at least seem to see it as an opportunity to begin a conversation; 58% were using hashtags, and lots of them released the ads before the Superbowl, to get some momentum behind them before kickoff. So, what you would hope, is that these ads are just part of a bigger brand story, rather than sitting in isolation now the Superbowl budget has gone out the door.

So you don’t have to watch all 43, these are my favorite spots…

1. Goldieblox
After being refused the use of the Beastie Boy’s ‘Girls’ in their last spot, this follows through, fizzing with energy and awesome spirit. High investment from the little startup brand.


2. Beats Music
Promoting the innovative tie-up with AT&T, Ellen shapes a modern fairytale to launch the curated music service. This carrier deal is groundbreaking for a music service, and this spot adds character & emotion to a phenomenal price-point, and introduces the concept of ‘The Sentence’ to a mainstream audience.


3. Microsoft – Empowering
The rather staid tech giant comes out with a beautiful sketch about ‘what tech does’ – to get across their empowering message. The sucker punch comes at the end, where – aw, just watch it you hard-hearted oaf.


4. Hyundai Genesis – Dad’s 6th Sense
Amongst the many, weighty, (and often dreary) automotive ads, this had wit, charm, and warmth, and was really nicely executed.


5. JC Penney
So this wasn’t a TV spot, but their social team gegging in on the action. Whilst this wasn’t the most elegant, or subtle, of the non-TV party crashers, they were effective at getting talked about. Following some fumbled tweets, Twitter collectively leapt to the assumption that a drunk intern was at the helm. Of course, it turned out they were just ‘wearing mittens’. Not ground-breaking, but for a minimal investment, they: “gained over 10,000 followers last night, received over 40,000 @jcpenney mentions and 1,800 mentions of our hashtag #tweetingwithmittens.” A better investment than the $4.5m on the TV spot?

  1. Even if it’s true that half of all super bowl viewers are watching for the ads, $8m for a 60second spot is bonkers, right?


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