Feb 6th 2015

Super Bowl XLIX – A mixed reaction from the world

The Super Bowl wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without the adverts. I can’t say I have a great knowledge of American football, or just football for the Americans reading this, but the Super Bowl still manages to get me excited every year due to the ad breaks (the half-time show too of course). Thanks to that wondrous invention of the Internet, they’re there in all their glory ready for me to watch on the Monday morning after the big game every February.

The premiere of the adverts during the game is usually hyped as the global advertising event of the year, and with so many watching they don’t come cheap. A 30 second spot this year was estimated to have cost brands $4.5 million, with a one minute spot costing double that. Loctite, an Ohio based glue company spent its entire advertising budget for 2015 alone on its Super Bowl advert.

But, despite the pre-game anticipation and the Super Bowl XLIX breaking viewing figure records (114.4 million viewers tuned in, with that figure rising to 118.5 million viewers for Katy Perry’s halftime show), the reaction to this year’s adverts was mixed overall.

One of the main criticisms was the serious nature of certain ads. As part of the NFL’s ‘No More’ campaign, which aims to stop domestic violence and sexual assault, it aired an advert which included a real 911 call. Nationwide Insurance’s campaign featured a dead child. This generated particular backlash, with the company being accused of bad taste in an attempt to generate sales.

The ‘No More’ advert was deemed depressing, but it’s a message that needs to be highlighted. This wasn’t about sales or making a profit, this was about raising awareness of the realities of domestic violence and sexual assault. Everyone appreciates that the Super Bowl is a time of enjoyment, but you aren’t going to reach an audience as big as the Super Bowl viewers at any other time of the year, and it’s a message that needs to have as big a voice as possible.

Moving away from the serious note, the entertainment was still well and truly there. Loctite’s advert of random people dancing and T-Mobile’s #KimsDataStash advert (my favourite – guilty!) for example, all helped to keep up the tradition of bringing the laughter to the event. There were even ones that combined both a serious and fun nature. Many media commentators felt that Always’ ‘Like A Girl’ advert helped to bring home a message in a light-hearted way by looking into what it means to be a girl in order to dispose of the negative connotations around the term.

Aside from the TV adverts, as always it managed to generate plenty of buzz on social media. This year’s game at one point generated a record of 395,000 tweets per minute. Research from Unruly found that the day after the game, adverts from YouTube generated 125.65 million views and on Face, 60.74 million views. Due to the short, viewer-friendly nature content of most adverts, no surprise that shares on Facebook were high.

Some in the industry debate the power and ROI of Super Bowl adverts, do they actually drive sales? One thing is for sure, whether they do or not, the adverts get people talking about these brands on a global scale. I might never have heard of Loctite and I now have. It’s understandable that some may not appreciate such serious messages being broadcast during a time that is meant to be enjoyable and fun, but that’s the point, it’s getting the message to you in a way that it might not be able to reach the public at other times. And when you consider only a few were serious, the fun far outweighed these.

I’ll be watching again next year and hope we see a good mix of all adverts once again.


Babel PR