Until recently, Super Bowl ads were kept as closely guarded secrets until the big game. Nobody in the production industry was allowed to talk about them before they aired. The advertisers wanted to surprise an audience unspoiled by “spoilers.” But that all changed two years ago when Volkswagon debuted its viral ad “The Force” on YouTube days before the game, stealing the thunder from all of its competitors, and going on to have over 56 million views on YouTube.
This year, with roughly 110 million viewers tuning in for CBS’ broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII, most of the major advertisers were leaking videos, or teasers for their spots in the lead up to the game, looking to get maximum bang for their buck.
CBS deployed an impressive array of technologies to cover the game, including six new native 4K Heyeper Zoom cameras capable of capturing between 300 and 500 frames per second at 3840 x 2160 resolution. In all, the broadcast had over 60 cameras covering the field. In addition the broadcaster made a major online push. In early December, CBS reported that its online ad inventory was sold out as advertisers sought to capture the growing “second-screen” audience.
This year’s ad lineup included eight automotive brands (a record for the Super Bowl) and six studio film spots. Traditional mainstays like Dodge Ram, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Geico, GoDaddy and Pepsi were back with clever, funny, or emotionally engaging creative, along with newcomers like Blackberry and the Church of Scientology.
With broadcast airtime during the game going for as much as $4 million for 30 seconds, advertisers sought out interactive elements, and ways to engage audiences in a larger story. In the run up to the game Coca-Cola launched an online campaign that allowed to viewers to vote on how the commercial should end. The results were broadcast during the game. Pepsi lept on the opportunity to parody the spot in it’s clever “Behind the Scenes at Coke Chase Super Bowl Commercial.” Audi’s spot had a similar user-generated ending. The story line for Lincoln‘s 90-second ad was derived from over 6,000 fan tweets. Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC‘s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, decided which tweets would be woven into the plot.
Before the game, Paramount Pictures released a special smart phone app that gave Star Trek fans the ability to interact with print and TV ads for Star Trek into Darkness, based on an audio scan function that can automatically recognize and reward users for watching ads for the film. An image scan function enables users to interact with images printed or viewable in the real world.
Advertisers also turned to some big name celebrities for help – Willem Dafoe played the devil in a Faustian Mercedes Benz spot; Stevie Wonder appeared in an ad for Bud Light, and Old Milwaukee tapped Will Ferrell for its spot.
And as in years past, some ads skirted controversy. Some have criticized Volkswagen’s “Get in. Get happy” for racial undertones, while others complained that “Kate Upton Washes the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLA in Slow Motion” was just too sexy for TV. In fact, Upton’s sudsy slow-mo spot is nothing compared to Megan Fox in a bubble bath for Motorola, or Bar Refaelis’ somewhat disturbing GoDaddy spot.
When the power went out for about a half-hour causing a disruption in the game, the Twitterverse exploded in sarcastic commentary. Without missing a beat, Super Bowl advertiser Oreo quickly whipped together a clever tweet, followed shortly by Tide, and others.
If CBS had known that the power would go out, they might have been able to sell even more ads, as the game’s nail-bitter finish kept audiences on the edge of their seats right to last second.
Here are some of the highlights of Super Bowl XLVII’s ad lineup.
Bud Light “Lucky Chair”
Doritos – Goat 4 Sale
Iron Man 3
Volkswagen “Get in. Get happy”
Nabisco’s Wheat Thins
Toyota RAV4 “Wish Granted” (Full ad):
2013 Budweiser Super Bowl Ad — The Clydesdales: “Brotherhood”
M&M – “Anything for Love”
Will Ferrell Old Milwaukee Super Bowl Commercial
Kate Upton Washes the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLA in Slow Motion
Skechers – “Man vs Cheetah”
Audi – “Prom”
Usher Kate Upton Willem Dafoe Mercedes-Benz Super Bowl Commercial
Pepsi NEXT – Behind the Scenes at Coke Chase Super Bowl Commercial
GEICO Dikembe Mutombo Super Bowl Commercial
PSY Wonderful Pistachios Get Crackin Super Bowl Commercial
The Church Of Scientology – Knowledge
Bud Light Journey Super Bowl Commercial Stevie Wonder
Bar Refaelis Big Kiss Go Daddy Super Bowl Commercial
Coca-Cola Camera’s Super Bowl Commercial Featuring Give a Little Bit by Roger Hodgson
Taco Bell ‘Viva Young’
OREO – Whisper Fight
Samsung Mobile USA – The Next Big Thing
“Space Babies” 2014 Kia Sorento Big Game Ad
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe | Big Game Ad | “Team”
What BlackBerry 10 CAN’T Do: 2013 Big Game Commercial
Megan Fox Super Bowl Commercial