Super Bowl action means one thing in the digital marketing world. Eyeballs.
Tens of millions watch America's biggest sporting event on television, and because it's a network broadcast, millions more watch online. In a uniquely American twist, however, millions of those people might just be watching for the over the top and highly produced commercials instead of the game itself. Here's what they saw (and catch all the videos for your post Super Bowl viewing enjoyment).
A handful of ads during the Super Bowl included some social media elements, but most stuck to simply mentioning their own websites. Coca-Cola, for example, attempted to steer people to its website to vote on its Mirage spot.
The idea was to vote on which cast of characters would catch a Coke bottle in a giant desert race. We doubt this was very effective because people were still watching the game, and likely not about to divert attention to the Coca-Cola website.
GoDaddy.com, notorious for tacky ads, took the website mention one more step by encouraging viewers to go there to watch a longer version of its awkward Perfect Match kissing ad. Furthermore, GoDaddy also made use of a Twitter hashtag in its YourBigIdea.com ad, a tactic used by a handful of companies.
Anheuser Busch used a couple of different hashtags in its ads. The #herewego symbol was used for Bud Light and #clydesdales was included in one of the Budweiser spots.
Additionally, Samsung, Audi, Best Buy and Wonderful Pistachios all used the popular Twitter hashtag symbol to drum up some social media activity during the game. At the time of this writing, the most popular hashtag looked to be the BestBuy #infiniteanswers symbol from the ad staring Saturday Night Live actress Amy Poehler.
There were dozens of #infinteanswers mentions in just a few seconds of activity today compared to just a few mentions of the Audi #braverywins symbol over the last few hours.
Does that mean the Best Buy ad was better? Not necessarily. Best Buy could have the best ad in the world and it might not save that teetering company, but that's just the reality of the cut throat retail consumer business. Audi, on the other hand, is a luxury commodity, and it likely doesn't need to create mind-blowing ads to be successful.
An Iron Man 3 preview included the mention of an extended version available on an Iron Man Facebook page.
To Cheese or Not to Cheese
That brings us to the question of which companies had the most successful ads. We like our commercials zany, that way we don't have to pay too much attention. Doritos, for example, featured a couple of crowd generated ads that were quite bizarre indeed, but its commercials are usually pretty popular, so that company obviously knows what its customers like.
Samsung, for all its popularity and riches, produced a too long and mostly not funny spot featuring Hollywood celebrities and company spokesman Lebron James. However, we did appreciate the cameo of Bob Odenkirk as the heartless ad exec tasked with extracting new ideas from his celebrity endorsers.
Coca-Cola, despite its weak attempt at driving people to its website did come through with a second spot feature security camera footage of people doing good deeds. Whether or not the footage was real, it was at least more enjoyable to watch and definitely showed more thoughtfulness on the part of the company's creatives.
Obviously, Coca-Cola and Doritos are companies that have huge budgets, so it's not surprising they would come through with something decent. The same can't be said for a company called Wonderful Pistachios, though. An ad featuring Korean pop star PSY was produced with the singer belting out his Internet famous Gangnam Style with the altered lyrics 'crackin style.' As in, cracking open pistachios. Better luck next year, 49ers, er Wonderful Pistachios.