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News & Views

The Super Bowl in Social News

In the advertising world, half-time at the Super Bowl is second only to Christmas. After all, while there may be no exact science to going viral, having a captive global audience of around 100 million (around 60% of which will share ads online) is certainly a good place to start. And it probably isn’t too much of a stretch to say that a number of brands’ social teams had emergency tweets on stand-by, should there be a blackout like last year, during which Oreo took the crown for best spontaneous twitpic.

Don’t Drink And Tweet

Department store J.C. Penney was getting plenty of retweets on Sunday, although not quite for the reasons that their digital team might have hoped. Suspicions mounted that the individual manning the official J.C. Penney Twitter account had over-indulged during the Super Bowl festivities, resulting in a couple of increasingly incoherent tweets; “Who kkmew their was ghiong tob e a baweball ghamle. #lowsscorinh 5_0”, followed by “Toughdown Seadawks! Is sSeattle going toa runaway wit h this???”

A subsequent tweet explained the unintelligible rambling; “Oops… Sorry for the typos. We were #TweetingWithMittens. Wasn’t it supposed to be colder? Enjoy the game!” To borrow a sporting expression; good save, J.C. Penney.


GoldieBlox, the toy start-up dedicated to getting girls into engineering, is the first ever small business to secure a placement in the coveted Super Bowl ads, after winning the Small Business, Big Game competition, run by Intuit. GoldieBlox has received considerable attention for its previous advertising efforts, after using a lyrically revised version of the song “Girls” by the Beastie Boys, who threatened founder Debra Sterling with legal action.

So Were The Ads Actually Any Good?

Pepsi made a rather bold assertion in its ad for Bruno Mars’ half-time show, going back in time to show the very first football half-time, where the players stopped for some cold, refreshing Pepsi.

Multiple ads went down the “heartstring-tugging” route, such as Budweiser’s ‘Puppy Love’, which shows the unshakeable friendship between a puppy and a horse. Cute animals, as we know, have the power to break the internet. Budweiser clearly knows this too.

Actor Laurence Fishburne reprised the role of Morpheus from sci-fi classic The Matrix in a surreal ad for the Kia K900, which included a number of allusions to the film (agents, spoon-bending, explosions), as well as an inexplicable dubbed rendition of “Nessun Dorma”. The ad closed with a tagline; Challenge The Luxury You Know.  Makes no logical sense, but bizarrely still works!

Maybe nostalgia is the point, as is clearly the case with Kermit the Frog’s appearance in a spot for Toyota, or John Stamos re-joining his Full House co-stars for Dannon’s Oikos yogurt. The Full Househomage in particular got a decent amount of press ahead of actually airing.

Tongue-In-Cheek Wins This Year

It has to be said though, that the two most talked about Super Bowl ads were both humorous, painfully self-aware parodies of your average advertising campaign.

Jaguar’s clip features three bastions of British sophistication (Mark Strong, Tom Hiddleston and Ben Kingsley) in a  of the luxury and style exuded by Bond villains. “Have you ever noticed,” comments Kingsley, “how in Hollywood movies, all the villains are played by Brits.” Brits are more focused, says Hiddleston, more precise, and obsessed with power… Much like Jaguar, perhaps?

Newcastle Brown Ale’s ad stars actress, singer and internet darling Anna Kendrick in a spoof behind-the-scenes featurette for a beer commercial that was never made. Kendrick plays a cynical, money-grabbing version of herself in a monologue which pokes fun at the brand’s inability to actually say the words “Super Bowl”, and what exactly it takes to be “beer commercial hot”.

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