Tag Archives: Super Bowl

Are Brands Losing Faith in the Super Bowl?


This Sunday the Atlanta Falcons meet the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51. It’s one of the most-watched sporting events in the world (115 million Americans tuned in last year) and a place for brands to wheel out their most impressive, splashy TV commercials.

According to Variety, Fox (the broadcaster that owns the rights to the match this year) is charging from $5m to $5.5m for each 30-second commercial spot during the Super Bowl broadcast. For comparison, a similar slot during a really popular primetime show in the US, such as American Idol, costs around $500,000.

But this year a number of regular Super Bowl brands have decided to sit out the game. Doritos, which has advertised for the past 10 straight years, has declined to buy any time in the Super Bowl, Ad Age reported back in December. This is especially significant given the popularity of Doritos’ Super Bowl ads, which have claimed the top spot in Ace Metrix ranking of the top Super Bowl advertisers from 2010-2016.

Heinz’s Super Bowl ad from 2016 was a big hit

It’s not just Doritos. Digiday reported last week that Toyota, Butterfinger and Taco Bell, all Super Bowl regulars, have declined to buy space. Toyota, which has just been usurped as the world’s largest carmaker by VW, says it has no major car launches in the US until spring, so a Super Bowl spot didn’t make sense.

No word why Taco Bell and others have declined this year, but it could be down to the ever-increasing cost, plus the plethora of alternatives to traditional TV advertising that continue to grow in importance each year. Tellingly, Taco Bell has poured huge resources into leveraging social media, with a broad strategy that includes all major social platforms. This insights report cites a 33% engagement rate on Instagram for Taco Bell posts – 33%! – and 251 million views of online video content since 2011.

With declining attention from TV audiences, many of whom watch with a second screen in their hands, and spiralling costs, perhaps it’s not surprising that some brands are pursuing alternative channels. Added to this, if a brand misjudges its Super Bowl commercial, it can be a very costly, and very public failure.

The day following Super Bowl Sunday, expect industry media (and increasingly consumer press, too) to deconstruct the best and worst commercials that aired. Last year, the New Yorker decided this one from AXE was the best, with this spot from Doritos polling highest with members of the public.

The big fails last year? According to most chatter, this putrid attempt to persuade Americans that borrowing money is patriotic, and this one about a man who has taken so many prescription opiates that he’s badly constipated and jealous of a pooping dog (above).

My favourite from last year? So glad you asked. This one, from beer brand Shock Top. Look out for reports on this week’s big winners and losers on Monday morning. Go Falcons.

Nick Taylor


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Brazil 2014 – The Most Digital, Social and Ambushed World Cup Ever

You saw it, I saw it and based upon the statistics coming out of the social stratosphere, almost everyone on the planet saw it. Staff at the FIFA HQ are no doubt patting themselves on the back for having a digital World Cup like no other. The now famous #BRA vs #GER semi-final which resulted in a 7-1 loss for the host nation, received 35.6 million tweets in the duration of the match. This set a new Twitter record, easily surpassing the 30 million tweets recorded during January’s Super Bowl. According to Twitter Data the final itself received 32.1 million tweets, peaking at nearly 619,000 tweets per minute.

Facebook reports that 88 million global users made a record 280 million interactions, including posts, likes, and comments, during the World Cup final. This easily broke the previous record held of 245 million interactions, set by the Super Bowl in 2013. Facebook also said that the top five countries participating in the global buzz were, in order, US, Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Indonesia. When you have more tweets than any other sporting event ever, more digital activation than any other sporting event ever and one official media outlet creating ways to stream games faster than any other, you can’t consider this anything but a success for FIFA.

Or can you?

What about all the ambush marketing? From KFC’s TV campaign featuring a football inspired Brazilian family to every local pub having some sort of Brazil World Cup artwork on its premises. It was everywhere and from travelling throughout Asia, Europe and N. America over the last month, I mean everywhere. That’s great for sport but what about protecting the sponsors that paid dearly to be officially involved with the competition? I think the advent of Twitter, Pinterest, Vine and Instagram has cut loose a new form of ambush marketing – #DigitalAmbush. It’s easy, it’s fast, it’s engaging and you don’t need to be an official partner to get involved.

Look at the battle between Nike and Adidas at the World Cup. While Adidas was rightfully proud to have both teams in the final (and the Brazuca ball, I might add), Nike didn’t sit still. They had ambassador LeBron James in attendance and, of course, very socially active from his seat in the stadium. Maybe not the same exposure as being on the pitch with Messi and company but nowhere near the cost either. Despite Nike having a strong presence,even in a non-official capacity, Adobe analysts state that Adidas overall achieved 71% more tournament-related social media buzz.

As leaders in the digital sports revolution, all of us at PRISM are continually educating our clients on what they can and cannot do in the sports social/digital sphere. All the rules are yet to be defined and as this social playground remains distinctly open, the question is who will break the next boundaries in this revolution?


Steve Madincea
Founder & Group Managing Director at PRISM

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