Super Bowl 50. Good news brands: it breaks all-time viewing fi

Super Bowl 50 brand commercials

My comments on SB50 to Sky News

The ‘Big One’ :Super Bowl 50, featuring the Carolina Panthers vs. the Denver Broncos was touted as a tight match. The final score was:

Caroline Panters (17-2) 10

DenverBroncos (15-4) 24

Beyond the great gridiron game, interest focussed on much anticipated TV commercials.

Eleven per cent increase for a Super Bowl spot in just 12 months

CBS asked as much as $5million for a thirty-second spot. (An eleven per cent rise of some half-million dollars from last year's game).

From 2005-14, the price to advertise during the NFL's biggest game increased seventy-five per cent, totalling $2.19 billion in sales.

for brands with Jeb Bush SuperPAC deep pockets, the exercise generates around $2.19 billion in sales.

Sales beyond big brands

On the night:

1.25bn chicken wings consumed.

325m gallons of beer consumed.

(Source: BBC).

The branded ‘chuck and duck’ budget offensive

Super Bowl remains the only annual USA televised event guaranteed to draw seriously huge audiences. Take last year’s game, a staggering 114.4 million viewers watched. (Excluding global social media views via You Tube - often active months after the final score).

According to USA Today, Super Bowl 50 smashed all viewing records - reaching 120m viewers. Add online viewers and the final score pumps up to around 160m.

Cooking up the perfectly branded Super Bowl ad

In recent years, the basic three ingredients for producing a successful Super Bowl ad have, more or less, remained consistent:


Commercials must be seen and heard over a noisy stadium; beyond the gates and behind American household doors, brands need to cut-through customary TV watching debates and arguments.


Super Bowl is far more than a sporting event. It is an evening of broad entertainment. The best ‘laugh’ ads touch on current issues of social concerns, politics, or technology.


A difficult ingredient to correctly measure. At best, you could end up with too much ‘schmaltz’ - and not enough 'herring'. At worst, you could get something like Nationwide's 2015 commercial. (See below).

Too little and you end up with an informercial.

Nationwide 2015

The genuine seat of middle, upper and lower America

Super Bowl unites families. It reaches US culture right at the worn out TV armchairs and sofas soul of the American home.

Whilst adults curse referee judgements, Millenials reportedly place greater interest in ads. Some suggest that this could be down to factors including: concerns over head injuries in NFL, along with a general distrust of big branded events such the Super Bowl. (As in 'sellilng out to the system').

Entertainment wise, Super Bowl 50 half-time music acts included ColdPlay Lady Gaga and Beyonce.

When it came to their turn to entertain, brands tapped into one of several reoccurring zeitgeist: themes:

  • Entertaining with a Hollywood big name twist.

  • Social responsibility.

  • Social media integration.

  • Connected technology.

  • Humour.

The social game

Social platforms updated and introduced new ways for fans to keep in touch.

Facebook offered Sports Stadium to follow the bumps and pushes with real-time updates and discussion.

Twitter's map showed which part of the country rooted for which side.

Additionally, a dedicated tab featured links from Periscope and Vine.

Snapchat claimed that in the current NFL season alone, 65 million unique users consumed official footlball content on the platform - with users submitting nearly 60 hours worth of photos and videos each game.

Instagtram's contirubtion was trending hashtags and places,

Gangoozle YouTube

Previous games data suggest that when brands release ads via YouTube prior to the big night itself, click rates rise as high as twice.

All in all, a good year for Super Bowl with a final score that lander the outsiders on the inside track. (Rather like current American politicians).

My personal picks from SB50

Weird and kinda wonderful.

Riding the political brand waggon.

Integrating with social media.

Technical gadgetry.

It's not about our brand - it's about yours.

Where would brands be without the Walken effect?.

First this...

... Then ...

Ubiquitous and politically correct.

Save the planet whilst brushing your teeth.

Big things, small packages..

Jonathan Gabay

Featured Posts