It's unclear whether football fans across the country are more excited that the Eagles won or that the Patriots lost. Either way, last night's Super Bowl LII was remarkably lighter than 2017's game, which had a heavy political influence in the week's following Trump's inauguration. This year, brands focused on creating experiences and interactions for their viewers through advertisements that were lifted from our TV screens through experiential strategies such as social media exposure, mobile interaction, and more.
More than ever, brands are learning the importance of live marketing during large-scale events like the Super Bowl, Academy Awards, and Olympic Games. Consumers aren't talking about who had the best commercial anymore. Today, the marketing strategy must go beyond a $5 million, 30-second ad to include scheduled social posts supporting the ad, as well as an on the ground, guerrilla marketing team ready to react to other brands and unexpected occurrences, such as this year's 30-second NBC feed blackout.
Here are our four favorite brands of the night. These companies (and in one case, grassroots social movement) not only delievered on television, but in-real time, too:
The Procter & Gamble brand had four commercials totaling 90 seconds that attempted to make every Super Bowl ad look like a Tide ad -- and vice versa. The ads, in partnership with the agency Saatchi & Saatchi New York, featured Stranger Things' David Harbour, Isaiah Mustafa reprising his role as Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Should Smell Like," last year's P&G Mr. Clean ad, and a remarkably believable faux-pharmaceutical ad that took an experiential twist with a prepared script for anyone who called the toll-free number listed in the commercial.
By interacting with other brands and asking viewers to question every ad they see in the Super Bowl (because every ad that has clean clothes must be a Tide ad), Tide was tweeted more than any Super Bowl brand that wasn't a movie trailer, according to Amobee, by the third quarter. They also concocted one of the best game tweets following a brief second-quarter ad blackout: "Clean clothes are still clean in the dark. If it's clean, it's a #TideAd."
A fan favorite in this year's Super Bowl wasn't even there. Justin Timberlake performed in the halftime show for the first time since the infamous wardrobe malfunction with Janet Jackson 14 years ago. Fans protested Jackson getting the brunt of the bad press for the nip slip using the hashtag #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay while panning Timberlake’s own wardrobe. By the beginning of the second half, #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay had been used more than 77,000 times, with 91 percent of comments carrying a positive sentiment, according to Brandwatch. Spotify jumped on the moment with a social post linking to her Best Of Spotify page.
The app did not run an ad during the actual game, but aired a spot directly before and after it -- and a report from Bloomberg suggests the trivia show app didn’t have to pay up for either 10-second slot of air time. The 10-second ad shows a woman who has just won a round of HQ (and added $11.30 to her bank account). It’s a real video from a woman who actually started screaming and jumping up and down with excitement after answering all 12 questions correctly. There’s no dialogue, and the spot concludes with a black screen and the HQ logo.
Nearly 2 million people gathered on the app to participate for a chance to win a piece of $20,000, the most it's given away at one time, just a few hours after the ad ran for the first time. The audience size dropped to 1 million viewers as halftime performer Justin Timberlake ended his set and the Super Bowl went into another commercial break, but by the end of the HQ game, the app still had more than 250,000 viewers.
Amazon's return to the Super Bowl for its Alexa voice assistant has won USA Today's annual Super Bowl Ad Meter, which asks online volunteers to rate ads on a score of 1 to 10. The first-place showing for "Alexa Loses her Voice" by the London agency Lucky Generals and the internal Amazon shop D1 is a big step up from Amazon's result last year, when a trio of ads landed No. 20 in the popularity contest. The celebrity-heavy spot featured a cameo from Jeff Bezos along with Gordon Ramsey and Rebel Wilson vying to be the voice of Alexa. But it was Cardi B who was the third most-tweeted about star of the night, generating 14,036 tweets, according to Amobee.