Super Bowl Advertisers Get What They Paid For: A Game People Watched to the End

“If football taught me anything about business, it is that you win the game one play at a time.”Frank Tarkenton

Photo by HENCE THE BOOM on Unsplash

From before the opening kickoff, the advertising was a kick. Kudos to Secret for their Let’s Kick Inequality ad before the kickoff. The timing of the ad was good for them because they didn’t have to pay the full in-game price for the ad, yet you can be pretty sure everyone was watching as they put the ball through the goal posts. Watch The Secret Kicker .

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Pollinator. Photo by the author.

When you think about the $5.2 million dollar price tag for the parking space alone (plus cost of production) this event is not for the little kids on the playground. But when you look at the size of some of these players (a few of these companies are Trillion dollar babies) you get the impression they could sneeze five million and not even notice.

And so it is that we see tech gorillas Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft coming to play. Squarespace and Verizon round out the tech ads. Budweiser is a perennial player at the big game. Or rather, Anheuser-Busch since they were pushing Michelob Ultra and this Bud Light Seltzer which seems, well… different.

I thought the cross-promotions of brands in the Proctor & Gamble stable was cool. The guy with a stain on his shirt was clever. And what did you think of that Wal-Mart play with movie tie-ins. Watch Famous Visitors . They also had two other spots, flexing their muscles a little.

Speaking of movie tie-ins… “Ned! Is that you?” Yes, we re-lived the best parts of Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. It was hilarious and if you have a minute, I’ve embedded it below.

Pepsi’s Half-Time Show did the usual pyrotechnic thing with lascivious performers seeing how much they could get away with without being flagged as indecent. Pepsi spent $11 million to sponsor that halftime extravaganza. They also had ads for their other various brands from SodaStream, Cheetos, and Mountain Dew to Doritos and Sabra. There with something new in a black can, but that was two days ago and I forget.

Coca-Cola introduced its new Coke Energy line and Kellogg trotted out its Pringles and Pop-Tarts. (A first.)

The carmakers are ever present. Thank goodness we didn’t see that stupid Chevy spot with the “real” people being “amazed” at their awards. Unforgettable because it was so nauseating. (Sorry guys. Go back to Heartbeat of America. Or is that just a slogan now because you ain’t the heartbeat any more?)

So we saw Toyota, Hyundai, Jeep (my fave) Audi and even Porsche — fewer car spots than in years past.

Last but not least, Little Caesars made a first-time Super Bowl appearance. Congrats. I saw their ad in Friday’s USA Today which promised a free pizza for everyone in the world if they texted that the Little Caesars ad was best. (Or something like that.) I meant to, but forgot.

Google is one of those companies that made a name for itself without advertising, so it’s interesting to see them just show up. Not everything they do succeeds (See: ) but if your company has a net worth of one trillion dollars (See graphic: What Does One Trillion Dollars Look Like ) you must be doing something right. What’s amazing in this story is that in 1986 there were dozens of search engines and Google didn’t even exist. It was a crowded market in a very specific niche, yet they muscled their way in with a better concept that made it easier and faster for users to find what they were looking for. Two decades later they are being compared to monopolistic robber barons.

They have plenty of cash to play with — over $100 billion — so why not be part of the world’s biggest party?

Here’s an interesting article about how we might be watching the Super Bowl in the future… with hologram technology and other gizmos.

And finally, for Mac users, that epic ad that showed the real possibilities of building a brand with a single “shot heard round the world” — Watch 1984.

And so it goes.

What would your Super Bowl commercial look like if your were hired to be the executive creator for one of these brands?

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj

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