Last night’s game was a nail biter, for both football fans and for the advertisers.
At the beginning of the second half, things were looking grim. At 28-6, the game was looking like a blowout (never great for second-half advertisers) when a bizarre blackout threw the Mercedes-Benz Superdome into darkness. If you’re an advertiser waging as much as $4 million for 30 seconds of air time in the second half, the last thing you want is a lopsided game, much less a delay that might cause people to give up, change the channel or go to bed.
So you could almost hear an audible sigh of relief among advertisers when the power came back on and it ignited an improbable 49ers comeback that tied fans to their seats until almost until the very last play. More people watching the game means more people watching the ads, and while the extended break wasn’t ideal, it did mean some Super Bowl advertisers like Audi, Oreos, Tide and Volkswagen could cleverly use the gap to their advantage. And in fact, early Nielsen estimates indicate this year’s game was the most-watched Super Bowl ever.
Advertising Age has been reviewing Super Bowl ads for decades, long before the ads themselves were considered as much a part of the entertainment experience as the game itself. This year, Ad in-house critic Ken Wheaton found a lot to like. Among our faves? Budweiser’s “Brotherhood” brought the Clydesdales and some emotion, back to the Super Bowl. Samsung’s “The Big Pitch,” with Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and a cameo from LeBron James solidified the company as the top marketer in tech. Ram Trucks’ homage to the farmer was epic in length for a Super Bowl ad and a worthy follow up to its “Imported From Detroit” ad last year.