It’s Super Bowl weekend which means one thing: COMMERCIALS! Ok, maybe more than that, but as a lover of pop culture (and non-football fan) the commercials are the highlight for me. Actually, to be honest it is even more than the commercials themselves, but all the discussion around them (and even in some cases the controversy around them).
Social media has definitely changed the way that their commercials are shared and talked about. In the past, you had to wait and actually watch the commercials in real time during Super Bowl. Now, the commercials are usually released beforehand (30 sec and 60 sec versions), or at least teased with a short clip, days before the actual event. Typically, releasing something before its air date wouldn’t happen unless it got leaked, as it would ruin the big reveal, impact, buzz and conversation around the commercial. The anticipation would be lost; however, social media has totally changed that convention and the narrative around it. Social media has extended the conversation both before and after.
Case in point – I have already watched a handful of this year’s commercials. I have seen them being talked about on blogs and websites, and being widely shared on social media. For anyone interested here are all of this year’s Super Bowl commercials in alphabetical order.
Social media allows for us to express exactly how we feel about the commercial immediately after we see it. It is all about multi-screen engagement which allows conversations to be seeded immediately.The response is swift, especially when the response is negative. Does anyone remember the controversial Nationwide commercial from last year about childhood insurance? For anyone who doesn’t remember it or didn’t see it:
This commercial was in direct contrast to the typical tone of Super Bowl commercials, which are usually humorous or empowering. They went off-brand, forgot that people don’t respond well to negative reinforcement in financial services advertising, and they forgot their target audience and the context for their ad. Despite all the conversation about this commercial, it was definitely a marketing fail for Nationwide.
On an interesting note, competitor State Farm saw an opportunity. As Nationwide took heat on Twitter, State Farm stepped in and ran promoted tweets in Twitter user’s streams, focusing on fire safety and prevention tips. A much softer and ‘on-brand’ approach. See also Oreo below weighing in on the commercial (side note: Oreo is genius at newsjacking and real-time marketing, see also their tweet during the power outage at the Super Bowl)
And in contrast to the intense backlash, there was the inevitable creation of memes. These memes took something dark and negative and turned into something very topical and admittedly hilarious: http://www.bustle.com/articles/61823-nationwides-dead-kid-super-bowl-ad-memes-were-inevitable-are-still-hilarious
So, what has been your favourite Super Bowl commercial so far this year? For the record, my favourite so far is the T-Mobile Drake Restricted Bling commercial. Are there are any other memorable Super Bowl commercials that have stuck with you over the years whether good or bad (Budweiser “Wassup” commercial anyone)?