The Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers in 2016’s Super Bowl showdown – big whoop. While a fair group of Aussies follow the NFL all year round (and take the day off to watch the Super Bowl at the pub), one could argue most of us prefer to watch the Super Bowl 50 commercials fighting each other for attention. 18% of American viewers agree the ads are the most important part of the experience.
Nielsen data shows that in 2016, 112 million viewers saw the game – and all those ads. The Super Bowl is the only TV broadcast of the year guaranteed to draw a massive audience, which is why they fork out US$5 million (over AUD$7 million) to secure just a 30 second spot. Ever since Apple blew everyone’s minds with their Macintosh commercial in 1984, the Super Bowl hasn’t just been about match statistics. The ads are equally as important.
The millennial-focused brands opt to run campaigns on Snapchat. Brands like Pepsi ran pricey ads through the Super Bowl’s ‘Live Story’ Snapchat during the game, in amongst an accumulation of fan videos taken from the seats of a 70,000 strong Santa Clara crowd. The more Snapchat savvy brands however, chose to push out content through their own accounts, avoiding the hefty fee. Some also got influencers to do the heavy lifting for them. Gatorade and Amazon both used the App to appeal to the young-ins with a little help from Serena and Alec Baldwin, and Twentieth Century Fox continued to saturate screens with Ryan Reynolds in a red suit.
Given the cost to air an ad at the Super Bowl, most companies release them ahead of time. As of Friday, YouTube claimed 40 ads and more than 130 teasers had been posted directly to the channel. They say those who post their ads in advance receive 2.2 times more views than those who wait until game day.
Which ads shone in 2016? Based on share of voice, views on YouTube and fan reviews I’ve narrowed it down to 6 winners (plus 2 honourable mentions).
THE CUTE AND CUDDLY (puppies, small children and overcoming adversity sobbing-on-your-sleeve type tear jerkers)
Heinz “Wiener Stampede”
Who knew Hot Dogs could be so darn cute? While Heinz sat out the last two Super Bowls, they have snatched up a 30-second ad spot in Super Bowl 50, by jimming in on Budweiser’s cute canine strategy. #MeetTheKetchups is meant to introduce us to their full line of condiments, and while it’s strange, it’s totally lovable.
Audi R8 Game – Commander
Bowie music, and an aging astronaut who just wants to return to the moon. So sweet. So … sniff, that’s some tear-jerking stuff there. Well done Audi.
THE QUICK WITTERS (usually involves celebrities. These are smart, funny and shareable)
Hyundai “First Date”
The 2016 Super Bowl Ad Meter results are in, and Hyundai drove away with first place honours. In the ad, funny man Kevin Hart is a dad that will go to all sorts of lengths to protect his daughter on a date. This one struck a chord – I honestly wouldn’t put it past my dad to behave like this.
T-Mobile “Restricted Bling”
As if Drake’s daggy dad dance wasn’t enough to win our approval. In this spot for T-Mobile some nerdy execs give Drake bad notes on his lyrics and completely butcher the song. No worries, he’s a trooper.
THE CLASH OF THE TITANS (think inspirational, heroic, and epic, plus I thought the name was clever)
This year’s Big Game TV broadcast featured the first Pokemon Super Bowl commercial. Timed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first Nintendo games, this was the number 1 viral Super Bowl commercial prior to the game, with over 15 million views on YouTube. Was Pokemon inspired by the mobile gaming companies Clash of Clans and Game of War who both advertised during Super Bowl XLIX? They may be old school, but they didn’t miss a beat in getting right into the game.
Jason Bourne Trailer
Apparently no one expected this to air yesterday, and by golly did viewers go mental. Matt Damon is back from outer space and in Bourne mode for the first time since 2007. Car chases, sucker punches and Tommy Lee Jones make this one qualify for ‘epic’.
After three straight years of Budweiser ads being the most shared, “Ultrasound” took the top spot. This clever little Aussie-made clip was shared nearly 900,000 times knocking out T-Mobile’s “Restricted Bling,” with 346,854 shares. While the winner of the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” competition was Jacob Chase (a writer for TV and movies from LA), Peter Carstairs’ “Ultrasound” made the final two, and even scored high praise from The Rock, who tweeted “That Doritos baby commercial could win best commercial of #SB50.” Well done Pete.
I’ll let you make up your mind about this one. The internet is going nuts over it… watch Mountain Dew’s hair-raising #Puppymonkeybaby ad and get ready for sleepless nights. This one took out the top spot for share of voice according to iSpot.tv.
The important figures after the game range from how many people watched commercials during the broadcast to what percentage of those viewers can remember the brand names in the ads they saw. You can bet your bottom 5 million dollar these brands will take a look at survey data and statistics over the year to help get their formula right for 2017.
One more thing… #Beyonce
Holly Ovenden is a Social Media Specialist at BCM