Super Bowls ads that intercepted viewer interaction

Super Bowl Sunday… a big day for players, for viewers, and of course advertisers. For the rest of the week you can be guaranteed to hear these two things, “Can you believe that call?!” and “Did you see that commercial?!”. Every year millions tune in to give their critiques of the coaches and the commercials, and Super Bowl XLIX was no different. Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks became the most watched event in American TV history as NBC’s broadcast raked in 114.4 million viewers per minute. With that many viewers glued to the screen, advertisers know this is the time to make a spot that leaves an impression.

As fans of football, Caroline and I were part of the millions that tuned in on Sunday, but being the communication minded people we are, we couldn’t help but keep up more with the commercials than the first downs. We noticed some advertisers did things that others could take note of – interactivity.

Super Bowl Sunday is of course known as a day to freely indulge in beer and seven layer dip all while crowding around a big screened TV. And while the television is the primary focus of the evening, advertisers must not forget that its not the only screen viewers are looking at; phones are likely to be in which ever hand the beer is not, and there’s a pretty good probability a computer is also around – especially for all of those who streamed the game instead.

For years now we have known that television has fallen to the Internet’s dominance, yet on game day its seems that advertisers forgot this tidbit of common knowledge. With recent macro trends emphasizing cross channel marketing, we were surprised by the lack of such coherence in the Super Bowl spots. However, there were some brands that didn’t miss the ball, and did a fairly decent job with their different interactivity approaches.


Releasing their “Lovin Pays” campaign, McDonald’s feel good Super Bowl ad let consumers know that for the next two weeks, random customers could be chosen to pay for their meals by calling mom to tell her you love her, dancing, or even just giving a fist bump. But during the game, the company was also showing some serious loving on their Twitter page with “Lovin the Super Bowl”. Following along with the game, McDonald’s told followers to retweet for a chance to win prizes that correlated with each of the aired Super Bowl commercials. And let us say – there were some pretty awesome prizes. The company was easily raking up to 14 thousand retweets with each post.

McDonalds 1


McDonalds 2


While catching laughs with “Farve and Carve” the website building company also caught some big notoriety with us by proving to be best at interactivity with its “Ten Bucks Game”. Promoting the game on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #ItsThatEasy, every time the word “easy” was said during the Super Bowl broadcast, “from kick-off to the last second and everything in between – commercials, halftime show, interviews and more” viewers could go to for the chance to win $10 if they could click the flashing green “wix” within 10 seconds.



T-Mobile was the only Super Bowl advertiser that used NBC’s offer to show a different commercial to viewers live streaming the game instead of watching the broadcast. A chance to show at least two different Super Bowl spots? It’s a wonder why more advertisers didn’t jump at the chance especially considering gameday viewership numbers – a big missed opportunity. Plugging for their data roll over feature, television viewers saw Kim Kardashian and selfies, while online viewers got Rob Riggle and a vulture. In addition to simply gaining interest by choosing to air a different spot, the online ad (which in my opinion was also the funnier of the two) prompted interactivity by encouraging users to tweet under the hashtag #DataStash or go to T-Mobile’s Facebook page or website.

We’re not the only ones who noticed a lack in opportunity this year. Marketing Land reported that Super Bowl ads that carried hashtags slipped to 50% from last year’s 57%. Furthermore, out of the 56 advertisers, only one, “Pitch Perfect 2”, prompted outreach via Snapchat. With an exploding consumer base, the recent introduction of their “Discover” feature, and the growth of brands who join and use the platform, it’s a surprise more marketers didn’t take the chance to promote their involvement with the app. And speaking of other platform involvement, last year Instagram received only one nod, and this year, none. With Super Bowl continuously setting marks in viewership records, it remains a question as to why advertisers are not taking full advantage of the potential that Super Bowl spots present for both viewership, promotion, and involvement.

– Savannah Valade


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