Super Bowl Ads Don’t Get Old

Do you most enjoy the football, the food, or the ads when it comes to the Super Bowl?

Ten years ago, I would have said football hands down, but that was when the Buccaneers still thought they had a chance to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. (Yes, I’m from Florida.) Now, I care way more about the ads. Even more than that, I love the conversations the ads generate.

Chances are, your office was buzzing this morning with talk of the ads that made you laugh, the ads that made you cry, and the ads that made you think.

Here are some of the most noteworthy takeaways from Super Bowl LI:

  1. Content is king. According to Sprinklr, a social-media management platform, PepsiCo generated the most social conversation overall. However, the brand did not lead conversation prior to the Pepsi-sponsored halftime show. Why does this matter? Pepsi maximized their Super Bowl dollars because they thought outside the confines of a 30-second ad. The number of posts mentioning Pepsi reached over 47,000, and the next most discussed brand came in at just over 21,000. (The second most popular brand on social was Avocados from Mexico. You can draw your own conclusions about that.)
  1. Live is on the rise. Snickers played a risky move by airing the first-ever live Super Bowl commercial. With the surge of recent live-action musicals by major networks, there has been a surge of live—yet scripted—TV. This was the first time a commercial was televised live. The humor fell a little flat, but hey, I loved the concept. Though not as gutsy, Hyundai recorded footage of deployed soldiers watching the game alongside their families via a 360-degree camera room. The footage was edited, cut, and ready to air immediately following the game. Talk about timeliness.
  1. Politics resonate. Even after a year as divisive as the one we just endured, people are drawn to politics. Back to Sprinklr’s top ten list, three of the most talked-about brands had some of the most political ads – Audi, 84 Lumber, and Budweiser. As unpopular as it may seem, politics generate a response.
  1. Humor isn’t dead. Just ask the new Mr. Clean and Melissa McCarthy for Kia. I frankly wish there was more of it.
  1. Technology forged a bond with entertainment. FOX Sports upped the viewing ante with new camera technology that allowed viewers to see the field from the player’s perspective and LiveLike capabilities that allowed for virtual reality highlights and replay. Intel joined forces for the Pepsi Halftime Show to employ 300 drones that were used as a light display behind Lady Gaga in her opening moments atop NRG Stadium. If you watched all 13 minutes of Gaga (which you should have), you also saw them spell out the credits to the show. I don’t know what kind of permits Intel needed to get for such a show, but it was worth it. Intel earned itself a spot in the top ten brands of the night.

Every year, the Super Bowl gives us a glimpse of the year’s trends. Here’s to hoping 2017 is as good as its ads.