The Big Winners of Super Bowl XLV

It’s Monday and like 111 million or so other people, I happened to catch the Super Bowl yesterday.  The numbers from Nielsen show the ratings actually surpassed last year’s record (106.5 million) breaking telecast making SB XLV the most watched TV event of all time.  There is a lot written before, during and after the big game, but I still wanted to chime in with my two cents. 

A few things stood out this year, which seemed eye opening.  The first was the overall use of Social Media in and around the game.  The NFL’s official tweets, the players, sportswriters and fans provided an up to the second dialogue throughout the game.  This connection and instant access provided an unprecedented experience to following the game.  I first learned about Charles Woodson not returning for the second half on Twitter.  I saw how the secondary ticket market fluctuated prior to the game on Stubhub.  I heard what people thought about the ads on Facebook.Advertisers used Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in a variety of ways to leverage their significant investment (approximately $3 million per spot).  None more brilliantly than VW simply placing “The Force” spot on YouTube a couple of days before it aired during the game.  This caught wildfire and received over 10 million views before kickoff as it spread on Twitter, Facebook and blogs.  Not only did this generate a ton of buzz, VW successfully separated themselves from the rest of the pack of autos and other advertisers.  They won the game before it even started.  This spot evoked emotion, resonated with VW’s key target demo and outshined the rest without saying one word.  

The Chrysler spot featuring Detroit and local native Eminem also received praise.  I must admit I got the chills while watching it, but I’m from Detroit.  I’m sure all Michiganders felt a sense of pride even though some of the old timers might not know who Eminem is or if they do are not happy he is the unofficial spokesman for Detroit.  Either way, Chrysler should be commended and Detroit should be thankful.  

 The USA Today Ad Meter ( showed some interesting results.  The consumer generated Doritos/Pepsi Max spots finished with 4 out of the top 10.  What does this say about all the money spent on creative agencies work when 4 of the top spots came from consumers?  The 2 most popular spots both used dogs (e.g. Doritos Pug and AB’s dog sitter), which once again proves no matter what you are selling people love dogs (or animals and babies).  AB also displayed a strong presence with its usual mix of humorous ads while the other 8 or 9 automotives seemed to blend together. 

I witnessed something extraordinary this year as well while watching the game.  Like many of you I attended a Super Bowl party.  After kickoff and the game started the first commercial break arrived when a loud “HUSH” rolled throughout the room and everyone became very quiet to watch the ads.  When the game came back on the chatter and commotion returned.  Then it happened again during the next break and throughout the remainder of the game.  The game almost seemed secondary.  The attention and focus clearly elevated to watch the commercials.  The group reaction reminded me of seeing a movie in a theater and provided instant feedback on what worked along with what fell flat.  I didn’t know a lot of the people there or what line of work they were in, but I imagine this occurred at other Super Bowl parties throughout the country.  Maybe $3 million a spot isn’t so bad……As long as you have a quality ad or at least a dog.