By Sarah Wood, Founder & Director, Unruly Media
The Pittsburgh Steelers will take on the Green Bay Packers in Dallas in the so-called ‘biggest show on Earth’ on Sunday, but the match itself has not been the main topic of discussion – it’s the ads that have dominated discussion, and that’s because the Super Bowl is not only America’s biggest sporting spectacle, it’s also the biggest event in the US advertising calendar. It’s been said that the real winners of the Super Bowl are not necessarily those wearing pads and helmets, but those in the slick suits and skinny ties; however, with a 30-second slot during the main event costing almost £2million, and with over two thirds of America watching, the stakes could not be higher and ad pundits around the world are whipping themselves up into a frenzy right now, eager to predict which big brands will return victorious and which will see their hopes ground into the Dallas dust.
Established brands and newcomers alike on the Super Bowl scene have been creating a buzz by releasing teaser ads, with endings and follow-ups due to be revealed in the Super Bowl itself. For me, though, the pre-match “battle of the buzz” has a definitive winner, and that’s Volkswagen commercial: The Force . As well as being one of the world’s top five trending topics on Twitter this week, it rocketed to the top of the Viral Video Chart within hours of its release and as I write has generated 266,500 shares to date. That’s over a quarter of a million people who have already shared the ad with friends and peers before they’ve even cracked open the beers for the so-called ‘biggest show on Earth.’ I’m not surprised; it’s a great social video – funny and cute at the same time and tapping into the ever-popular Star Wars meme. My 6 year old laughed so hard when he saw this ad that he fell into the recyling bin. He’s watched it 8 times to my knowledge and falls to the floor in stitches every time. I’m not sure that 6 yr old boys are in the target audience but I’m guessing their parents are, and boy would my son he be chuffed if we bought a Volkswagen Yaris now – though he’d probably prefer a Darth Vader mask…
Perhaps the most anticipated ad this year is the much-heralded return of the Old Spice Guy, Isaiah Mustafa. Two teaser videos “I’m Back” and “Superfan” have already attracted a lot of attention, but whether the new ads can match the success of 2010’s groundbreaking social video campaign – well, that’s a conversation for Monday morning. For anyone interested in following the fortunes of the Super Bowl ads and measuring their social success in real time, you can check out the following Super Bowl charts:
Super Bowl 2011 Teaser ads
Super Bowl greatest Commercials of all Time
Super Bowl all time Banned Videos