Fifty five ads, up to $4 million a pop for airtime, watched by 111 million viewers, plus all the internet traffic before and during the game made for a big night. But it was a small bit of engagement that took Tide and Oreo to the top for me.
The big lesson for advertisers and businesses out there: we’re NOT in the business of advertising! We’re in the business of engaging with customers.
All in all, the best of the best ads were better than in the past, but there were more flat-out duds than I remember in recent years (including Wonderful Pistachio, Blackberry, E-Trade, PepsiNext).
This is the year pre-game ads we’re supposed to be the big story. Before the game, VW and Budweiser got great traction and numbers with Get Happy and the Clydesdales, and other brands eked out teasers. So as the game played out, it looked like it would become a battle between the Surprise ads that we saw during the game for the first time (like Ram, and Tide) vs. the Hyped ad that we already saw online.
But then there was a plot twist, just when you thought there were no new Super Bowl ad formats.
Drumroll please…the blackout! Within 5 minutes Walgreens tweeted “We do carry candles.” Boom. Then Oreo and Tide released social media based ads that lit up the internet. THIS was the big lesson for advertisers – we are in an era when we can use tools like never before to ENGAGE with customers, in real time, not just yell at them with our message. Big lesson. We’re on for our customers 24/7.
My favorite TV ads during the game.
1. “Miracle Stain” for Tide. Classic Super Bowl ad: over the top premise, great comedy, a celeb, and a great ending story twist. If people start talking about Miracle Stains this week and beyond, the win will be even bigger.
2. Oreo. Hilarious Super Bowl slapstick for this first time Super Bowl advertiser. Great comedy.
Other great ads –
“Farmer” for Ram. A brilliant ad. But it was stolen from farms.com. But Ram will give “up to” a million bucks to farms.com, so the theft is…uh…okay. So wha-wha, the creators can’t be feeling tooooo awesome about not being able to come up with a great original idea, but America totally loved it. It was a great idea that really stopped viewers. This was my favorite ad because it was just so different by taking the courage to really say something: “We owe farmers, our classic American underdogs, a huge debt.” Man, I wanted this to be the best ad, but if it’s stolen, nope. Dang!
“Get Happy” for VW. Sells something, it’s funny, and will get cultural buzz around the water cooler, mon.
Clydesdales for Budweiser. USA Today’s winner. I really disliked the ad because it doesn’t sell beer, it’s totally ridiculous and not in a hilarious SuperBowl way, and sure enough, America loved it. We are total suckers for the animal ads and the sentimental “awwwww” story. The ending’s “name the baby horse” schtick was totally horsey to me, but good for fan engagement.
The ultimate winners –
Tide and Oreo, for very strong ads that actually sold something, AND for engaging with customers real in real time by creating those ads that integrated their products with the blackout. Brilliant. They engaged. THAT is what great advertising in 2013 is all about.