Now that the air has cleared about the Super Bowl and it’s slightly down ratings, record-breaking streams, unworldly comeback and the first-ever use of drones in a halftime show, some other thoughts and numbers to consider.
eSports In The Mix, Kinda: While there were gaming commercials that made it into the game again this year, including one by Nintendo, the games that were advertised were not what has been talked about as eSports, which are largely console mass player games. The games that again made it into the Super Bowl mix were free mobile games, designed for a wide audience that will drive up engagement with simpler play, vs. more intense and complicated games like a World of Warcraft. The mobile games, like The Battle of Evony, are intended for a fast volume on hand-held devices, and with a simple call to action can gain mass very quickly. It’s not what you see teams, leagues and traditional athletes in vesting big dollars in, but the mobile games certainly play well amongst a casual audience, and sports is a sweet spot.
Characters Emerging: While we don’t yet know where the ghost of Spuds McKenzie will be going, or if we are going to start a cult following for Humpty Dumpty, it seemed pretty clear that Yellowtail’s Yellow Guy and their Kangaroo may be ready to go a few rounds. The Yellow tail guy may not be Captain Morgan or The Most Interesting Man In the World, but he is easy to spot and replicate, and for a disruptor Aussie wine like Yellowtail; one which is doing more engagement in sports, he is sure to show up again.
Calling To Action: Of the 66 ads listed in the USA Today Ad Meter, less than 20 actually used a call to action to drive social engagement, which continues to be a surprise given all that brands are trying to invest in social conversations. Some, like #weaccept, and #Bradshawstain and even #Baibai, were clear and easy to see what bump one would get immediately. TMobile’s #unlimitedmoves was a little more in-depth for its ask, getting people to actually drop in video engagement, but it message was pretty clear. for Others like Life Water’s social push or Mexico Avocados were a little less over, but got the engagement going because of the social interaction that was being tracked as the game was going on; the Avacados even kicked in a special halftime recipe.
Audi Wins With Equality: There were more than enough car spots which tried to engage from the passionate to the funny, but Audi’s “Daughter” spot spoke to many levels of consumers that might not have driven sales right way but surely will resonate down the line. It addressed inequality in the workplace and weaved in sports metaphors, talking to passionate fans, parents, and most importantly the female purchaser who may now be upwardly mobile but still chasing the same dollars as her male counterpart. The message also has a curious tie to at least one of the sports Audi invests in, soccer. They have been a solid MLS partner on recent years, and given the pay disparity for the US National team, the statement of equal pay resonated with that audience as well. Well done, well messaged and well placed.
Lastly, The Social Bowl: While most broadcasters continue to look for more and more social engagement, the Super Bowl was again lacking. There was nary a hashtag or a push to engage away from the screen, which given the drama of the game may have made sense. However in a world becoming more and more attuned to the second screen, the Fox broadcast was not about other conversations or interaction, it was about watching the one broadcast and driving those eyeballs to the advertisers. Even the one time FOX tried to tie in social, at halftime, came across as contrived with Katie Nolan, a star in her own rite, scrambling to try and make sense over what was being discussed in social, and dropping in a few celebrity tweets. With the record amount of c social and digital engagement it seemed like FOX could have taken a step with the NFL to won all the conversations in an aggressive way. They probably didn’t lose much by letting the flow of conversation just occur, but somewhere down the road a Super Bowl will have a multiple screen adaption with conversations going on; the big game just didn’t have it this year.
While some criticized the spots, the drive for more engagement continues to rise, with more coming out of the best practices from a great finish on the field this year. Are the spots worth the spend? That is all to be seen.