Can you believe we’re approaching one of the best weekends of the entire year. Friends and family getting together with food and beverage, huddled around the internet broadcast of dozens of hilarious commercials. To top it off, I hear the 49ers are finally back in the Super Bowl to play against the Chiefs this weekend, too.
Watching the Super Bowl commercials today is quite a different experience than when I was a kid. For advertisers, this was the game of games to advertising during, paying – and they still do pay – top dollar for the prized 30-second spot(s). We really had no idea what to expect from Doritos, Coors, Pepsi, etc. prior to the big game. Pressure to make the ads entertaining was high as well. Last thing you wanted was to drop millions on an ad and have viewers in the other room getting a beer or more chips instead of watching an ad about beer or chips. To this day, I still recall laughing hysterically (okay, I was 15) at the end of a Doritos commercial with Chevy Chase when an older lady swings in, grabbing a bag of chips from his hands. My siblings and I loved how Diet Coke paired with the VHS release of Indiana Jones to their Pepsi vs Diet Coke battle in the “Chose Wisely” commercial.
Yet, in the decades following my earlier memories of and enjoyment in Super Bowl ads viewing, marketing surrounding this game of games has evolved – and it’s been for the better. Yes, both businesses and consumers win in this scenario.
Sure, you still can’t watch the game until the actual day/time of the game, but with YouTube and social media video options, brands are getting ahead of the big game by teasing or even just outright releasing their commercials the week prior or sooner. These commercials range from small parts of a grand story they plan to bring to a close during the game to variations of the ad they decide to air during the game. Either way, the commercials run this Super Bowl weekend are getting more bang for the buck and broader reach – despite a steep decline in TV ratings during the super bowl.
Just how exactly? Let’s look at the limitations and decline of TV ad viewing vs the rise of digital. In terms of limitations, I was only ever able to watch the aforementioned commercials again when and if they ran during a show I was watching. Unless you recorded the game and went back to a commercial, all there ever was before was water cooler talk about commercials: “Did you see the Nike ‘Did Jordan fake his retirement‘ commercials with Steve Martin?” Traditional TV is not on demand and getting to specific commercials or parts of a show is not easy even with recorded shows. It’s also declining in every aspect of viewing. 2019 was the lowest TV viewership of the Super Bowl in 11 years, yet online viewing increased 200%. With YouTube, it’s easier to just pull up the commercial or a specific play during the big game online to share with a friend or coworker than it is to describe it.