#Superbowl 2015 – An Advertising Observation

Feb 02, 2015
Jason Baumann

2015 Superbowl Ad Analysis

It’s the day after the Super Bowl and everybody is talking about two things. I really don’t understand either of them.

First, why did Seattle throw the ball at the half yard line when they have one of the best running backs in the league. Now, I must confess that I have no idea what this means. I know very little about football and a lot less about the Seattle Seahawks. But everyone is talking about this play. Players have tears in their eyes. A coach is apologizing. I am going to leave this whole situation alone.

More importantly, everyone is talking about the best and worst ads. This is more my game. I went to a friend’s house to watch the game. While everyone spent the commercials refilling their drinks and getting desserts, I watched each ad attentively. Then, when the game resumed, I stepped away to grab a meatball sandwich or chocolate covered pound cake football. My friends thought I was crazy but that’s the life of an advertising person.

As I watched each commercial, many of which I saw in advance, I was looking at the content, how my friends reacted (when they were around) and if there were any digital components to the ads. I was disappointed across the board. Even worse, my opinions were quite contrary to what some of “professionals” said were the best and worst. I happened to think that the Loc-tite ad was one of the funniest.

I was most disappointed that I didn’t find a single creative use of digital advertising in anything I saw. Last year, esurance made the biggest impact by buying the first ad after the Super Bowl and giving away their ad savings to a customer. People wrote about it for months. No one is going to write about or even remember their ad this year. It wasn’t funny. The message was nothing special.

This year’s Super Bowl, from an advertising perspective, was the year of the hash tag. Websites addresses disappeared off of all the ads (except for Wix.com and SquareSpace.com – understandably so) and few outliers. This made me think. Websites are easy. Everyone knows what to do with them. But what about hash tags. So I asked the people with whom I was watching the game. One was a high ranking town official where I was watching the game. Another was a public school teacher. Another was a sales person. Then there was the Chicago Police Officer. Finally, a transportation broker. I asked the question, “now that you see all these hash tags, what would you do with them?” No one could answer that question. In fact, they made me explain to them what a hash tag was and how they would use it.

As a social media strategist, I love hash tags. I see great value in them but this weekend, it made me think. I was sitting in a room of educated individuals and no one got it. The call to action that every advertiser displayed, no one understood. What value was that hash tag? As marketers we see all these great new concepts and tools. We get excited to use them. But is there value if your customer doesn’t get it?


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