Super Bowl XLVI — Hit Or Miss?

Yesterday, the majority of the country spent four hours connected to some sort of visual media (TV, computer, iPad, Smart Phone) so as to “participate” in the Super Bowl game in some way, shape or form. Even the President took the time to post a poll on Google+  to see where people were leaning in terms of a team favorite.

As should be no surprise, this was what we’re deeming a “highly connected”  football game — from the innovative use of social media monitoring; the full streaming of the game live over the internet; the 10 different Super Bowl hashtags up for use on Twitter; through to the online pre-release of a majority of the ads online that occurred over the preceding weeks.

While we watched the game alongside everyone else in the country, we were personally struck by a few observations:

1. For 50 out of 60 minutes of the game, the social media chatter was more about the advertisements than the game itself.
2. According to Twitter, there were 8,000 Tweets per second for five minutes during the half-time show and there were approximately 862,000 social media comments referencing the half time show. Last year’s Academy Awards had just over 900,000 comments during the entire event.
3. The top four game-related Twitter hashtags — #tombrady (378k), #patriots (298k), #giants (208k) and #SuperBowl (152k) — all added together were less than the mentions of the half time show.
4. The majority of the commentary about the ads was about their lack of creativity, their lack of innovation, and their disconnection from the main brand.
5. Although many of the ads had been leaked ahead of time — and people had clearly watched them — most people still chose to tune in for last minute surprises and so that they could “feel” the commercials as part of the big game. However, there were few surprises. In fact, many social media references noted that people actually preferred the leaked videos to the full Super Bowl versions (many of which were either longer, shorter or slightly different, etc.).

It may just be that media is easier to comment on/pick apart than American football is, but we’re intrigued by the simple fact that social media yesterday centered not around the big game but the ads themselves.

Between the game, the ads and the social media of yesterday’s event, we think there were three notable “winners” of the day:

1. Eli Manning — and the full control he had of the game in the last four minutes. It reminded everyone that this is, first and foremost, a football game…
2. The Chevrolet/Clint Eastwood half-time message — it was powerful, it was timely, it was clearly connected to their brand, and it played well across the country.
3. Apple CEO Tim Cook’s post game Tweet: “We didn’t run a Superbowl ad, but you can still find the best commercials at YouTube.com/apple.” This was a great way to respond to the social media chatter about the lack of innovative ads, to comment back to people wondering what an Apple Super Bowl ad would be like and to leverage the momentum of the event to extend the Apple brand through a simple, social media savvy and well-timed way.

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