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Superbowl Super Bowl 2014: The hottest commercials

Last Sunday, thé most important sports event in America (or even worldwide) took place. Yes, I am indeed talking about the annual championship game of the National Football League and the most watched American television broadcast of the year. I am talking Super Bowl. I was already in the land of dreams when probably all of you were definitely chained to your television at home or in a local pub (or one of the happy few live at the MetLife Stadium), watching the Seattle Seahawks embrace the victory.

And you were not the only enthusiastic, because with over 111 million viewers this year’s Super Bowl was the most watched event in U.S. television history. Impressive, don’t you think? And because of this high viewership, commercial airtime during the Super Bowl broadcast is expensive, very very expensive. Also, watching and discussing the broadcast’s commercials has become a significant aspect of the annual event.

Because I’m not that big of a fan of football and rumor has it that the game was not that exciting, let’s have a look at this year’s Super Bowl’s hottest brands and their commercial(s).

Budweiser – Digging into our emotions

Anheuser-Busch’s Super Bowl spots for Budweiser and Bud Light really hit home this year with their Super Bowl commercials. Their “Puppy Love” commercial did not only score highest with CBS News’ viewers panel, it also scored first in USA Today’s annual Super Bowl ad meter rankings. The reason why this commercial scored so high is the same as why I liked it so much too: us Millennials like brands which anticipate digging into our emotions once in a while. Which is exactly what Budweiser did.

The commercial tugged at viewers’ emotions by showing an adorable puppy that can’t stay away from his buddy, a Clydesdale horse. And all of that on the beautiful Passenger song ‘Let her go’. From the very first second, you’re dragged into the story and all the emotions it arouses. Nice one!

By the way, their “Hero’s Welcome” commercial also scored very high this year and even touched me a bit more (but then again, I’m an emotional girl J). Just watch it and experience it yourself.

Bud Light – Embracing ‘serendipity’

Same company, different brand, different approach; this year’s Bud Light commercial scored very high as well. Not by digging into our emotions but rather by embracing a new trend called ‘serendipity’. As already stated in a previous blog post about serendipity being one of the 5 Millennial trends for 2014, us Millennials have a need for unexpected, coincidental and fun discoveries and surprises in a society in which everything is becoming too predictable. We like to be surprised. And in this case, both Ian and I were véry surprisedJ. In the commercial, an elaborate stunt was set up with over 400 actors plus other celebrities and musicians, to see if one unsuspecting guy, Ian, would truly be up for ‘whatever’. The ad truly captures the essence of its new tagline: “The perfect beer for whatever happens”. Who wouldn’t be part of a commercial prank, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and quite some other celebrities?

 Microsoft – Empowering people with technology

Back to the emotions. Because what Microsoft did with this commercial is definitely worth to share. The message is simple and clear: it shows many of the amazing things technology can do for people and it reflects the human side of it all: we watch people benefit in many different ways from remarkable technological achievements. There’s only one word for it: goosebumps (and maybe some tears :)).

(FYI: the robotic voiceover was later revealed to be ex-NFL player Steve Gleason)

Doritos – Empowering consumers

In Doritos’ annual “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, consumers are invited to create their own Doritos ad. Whoever wins the contest can enjoy his or her commercial being aired live during the Super Bowl. This year’s winner, “Time Machine”, also happens to be my personal favorite. The commercial, created by Raj Suri, tells the short story about little Jimmy who invites Mr. Smith to test his time machine. Simple, short and funny. When you can make people laugh (out loud) with your commercial, you know you did a good job.


Newcastle Beer – Super Bowl Stalking

But next to these popular commercials, some media trends also surround the Super Bowl ads. One of them is called Super Bowl Stalking, were brands without a Super Bowl ad create campaigns which hijack the attention around the big game to get their own media time. The clear winner here was Newcastle beer (and that even rhymes ;)), a two-minute monologue by actress Anna Kendrick basically hassling Newcastle beer. And take it from me, it worked.

I think there’s one thing we can all agree with: this year’s Super Bowl commercials contained some brilliant ones, regardless of the price paid. Curious what next year will bring…

Posted in Campaigns