Year’s most buzzworthy Super Bowl ads
Much pre-game attention is going to Doritos and Milk
January 24, 2013
With less than two weeks to go before the Super Bowl, buzz is building for this year’s most-anticipated ads. Once again, it looks like Doritos may crunch the competition. The chip company, whose ads have generated strong viewer response the past few years on commercial judging sites like SpotBowl, AdBowl and USA Today’s AdMeter, is getting lots of attention for its consumer-generated spots. For the seventh straight year, Doritos is relying on viewers to film their own ads. People can then watch the ads online and vote for their favorite finalists, who will then make it into the game. Another company getting strong buzz ahead of the game is Chrysler, whose “Halftime in America” ad last year won wide praise for its serious message. Two big game newcomers drawing attention are Wonderful Pistachios, which will feature Korean “Gangham Style” rapper Psy in its ad, and Milk PEP, which runs the milk mustache campaigns. It has signed on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for a humorous spot. Michael Pavone, president and CEO at Pavone, the Harrisburg, Pa., agency behind Spotbowl.com, talks to Media Life about which advertisers are garnering the most pre-game buzz, how social media has upped the Super Bowl spotlight, and what ad strategies are most effective.
Which Super Bowl ads are drawing the biggest buzz? Why?
Every year there seems to be one or two spots that stand out from the crowd when it comes to pre-game buzz, but the chatter this year doesn’t seem to show any significant favorites.
There are a few standouts, though.
Doritos has done a great job of getting attention for their consumer-generated spots, which is something they excel at nearly every year.
Many people close to the advertising industry are anxious to see what Chrysler has in store. They’ve done some great work in the last few years with their Eminem spot in 2011 and Clint Eastwood in 2012 (“Halftime in America”). This year, they’ve got Motown mogul Berry Gordy in a spot, which should be pretty interesting.
Do the ads themselves usually draw the buzz, or is it the approach the company takes? That is, if a company is doing a user-generated content ad, as was so popular a few years ago, will that draw more buzz than another company that makes a really well-executed but traditional one?
It’s a combination of both.
For as much money as advertisers are spending on ads, they have to do whatever they can to generate buzz and excitement about the ad before the game. The user-generated or “fan-made” approach has worked well for Doritos, and the excitement for the method is still there, but it’s not an approach that would work as well for all brands.
What do you find most interesting about the ads/rumored ads for this Super Bowl so far?
A couple advertisers – Audi and Coca-Cola – are using pre-game promos to let fans choose the ending of the spot that will air in the game or after the game. That’s not an entirely new approach, but it’s relatively new to the Super Bowl.
Which new advertisers have the most anticipated ads and why?
There are a lot of rookies in this year’s game – seven at last count – which is refreshing. The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) spot could be the strongest in the group. It’s got star power (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and, from what we’ve seen and heard, plenty of action and humor.
Another first-timer, Wonderful Pistachios, will continue its ongoing use of celebrities in its ads with a spot starring Psy. It’ll be interesting to see how well that spot performs, or if Psy’s popularity is already waning.
How has social media impacted awareness of and anticipation for Super Bowl ads?
Social media plays a huge role in building pre-game buzz for the ads, and it’s part of the reason why, in recent years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the cost of the ads.
Not only is the Super Bowl the most watched television event of the year, but it’s also one of the most talked about subjects on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels. Advertisers recognize that and are looking for ways to join that conversation.
Do you think the recent trend toward releasing ads early online helps or hurts anticipation of Super Bowl commercials? Why?
Last year, we saw a lot of ads released before the game. It was an attempt by advertisers to generate excitement before the event, but it can backfire, too.
This year, we’re not seeing as many spots released beforehand. Advertisers are a little quieter about their plan or only releasing vague teasers or description.
Personally, I think that’s a good approach. Releasing your ad before the game is a lot like seeing your Christmas presents two weeks before the holiday. In other words, it kind of spoils the surprise and excitement.
Have we reached a point yet where the ads are overhyped? Do you see any backlash on that?
Thanks to social media, chatter has reached an all-time high, but I don’t think the ads are overhyped. The pre-game talk creates high expectations for the ads, and the advertisers have to meet those expectations, but I think they’ve done a good job of doing that in recent years.
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