The Big Game in the Big Game

January 25th, 2007

Super Bowl XLI is here, which means a majority of us will be glued to the tube (or at least socializing around it) this coming weekend. With nearly 90 million Americans tuning into the big game, it’s no wonder that advertisers view it as the pinnacle opportunity to strut their stuff.

Often humorous, sometimes touching, I always look forward to discovering what the ad community has conjured up. These are some of the companies you’re sure to see this year:


The success of Super Bowl commercials lies not in the actual advertisements themselves but in the publicity surrounding them. Remember the famous Budweiser “wassuup” guys during 2000’s Super Bowl? The media frenzy that followed these offbeat and goofy commercials earned Budweiser more press and air time than any advertising campaign could buy. Beer drinker or not, 5 year old or 55 year old – everyone was shouting the Budweiser phrase of the year. Talk about getting more bang for your buck.

Research says 10 minutes of the average U.S. employee’s day is spent chit-chatting about Super Bowl commercials and making bets. That amounts to about $800 million dollars in lost productivity. The good news for General Motors, Diamond Foods, Coca-Cola and Budweiser is that all the talking results in a hell of a lot of word-of-mouth marketing (WOM).

So what does it take to create a Super Bowl ad that shows up on the Today show or is discussed in the office place Monday morning? Here are some things you can look for between plays:

  • Humor – Belly laugh humor. Budweiser used animals to spoof sports “streakers” and was a hit with audience members.
  • EmotionAnheuser Busch’s 2005’s Troops Tribute remembered troops in Iraq, touching viewers in a sensitive and impacting way.
  • Intelligence – Think FedEx’s “Castaway” spoof. Fun, smart and easy to understand.
  • Sex Appeal: Enough said.
  • Catch Phrases: The Budweiser “wassup” commercials were not only easy humorous and easy to re-call but they were catchy, fun and realistic.
  • Pop Culture References – Pepsi used Ozzy Osbourne’s nightmare as a spoof to reach young viewers who tune into MTV’s “The Osbourne’s” during its Pepsi Twist 2003 Super Bowl campaign.

As we prepare for this Sunday’s battle between the Colts and Bears, it’s interesting to see how viewers are already reacting to commercials. There’s been buzz all over the Net, keeping ad junkies like me counting down the days ‘til kickoff. Companies are looking to hit consumers from every angle, and pre-game PR, WOM and the like are pure proof that even Super Bowl advertisers know the value of multi-disciplined campaigns.

Go Team?

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