Yesterday’s Super Bowl was one of the worst in the 48 years of the game, unless you were a Seahawks fan. Even then you probably would have wanted to see a less one-sided game. And like the Broncos performance most of the ads were duds too — and won’t do much to help their brands/products.
This morning the stats are pouring in: which ads had the most views on YouTube, which ads generated the most social media buzz, which ads featured hashtags, which ones saw the most brand searches and so on. Some “experts” weighed in without data, voicing only movie critic style opinions about their favorites. Overall there are considerable differences in some of the lists coming out today.
There is a general consensus, however, that Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” ad (see below) was the night’s big winner. Released a week before the game it has generated more than 36 million views on YouTube. Other buzzed-about or well-regarded ads included:
- Maserati (also considered by some one of the worst)
- Beats Music
- Audi Doberhuahua
- Coke America the Beautiful
- Axe Peace
- Turbo Tax
There were really no totally embarrassing ads — except maybe Bob Dylan for Chrysler, Arnold Schwarzenegger for Bud Light or John Turturro for GoDaddy. By the same token few commercials were truly memorable.
Even the anticipated “Seinfeld reunion” was kind of boring. The Alex and Ani “made in America” ad was effective simply because no one had heard of the company before and it generated search queries and visits to the company’s site simply to answer the question: what the heck to do they do?
Yet very few of these ads will be remembered tomorrow and still fewer will have any sort of lasting brand awareness let alone sales impact. A tiny few may succeed in generating new brand impressions or product awareness.
Notwithstanding the fun of seeing, discussing and rating them, I have been arguing that most of these ads won’t move the needle for the majority of the brands that spent the $4 million (or more) to air them.
The most extreme case-in-point is Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser. Puppy Love won the night (and the week) by most measures. But as I tweeted last night it’s not going to sell one more can, bottle or six pack of the company’s product.
Budweiser (and Michelob) sales have been in decline for several years. The millions that Anheuser-Busch InBev (a Belgian-Brazilian company) spends on brand marketing will do nothing to impact that slide. The product is bad.
It may be, at the margins, the massive marketing spend keeps Bud-related brands in the “consideration set” for some non-discriminating beer drinkers. We might call that “defensive marketing”: trying to slow the total decline of the product.
But consider the gap between the huge “success” of the heartwarming Puppy Love ad and the total non-impact it will have on consumption and sales of Budweiser. #wastedspending.