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Super Bowl XLIII Ad Winners – Not Who You Think

Posted by sportsmarketingguy on February 3, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII is over and the Steelers pulled it out much to my dismay – the unluckiest people with Santonio Holmes as MVP has got to be Disney World – they were :35 seconds away from either getting Kurt Warner or Larry Fitzgerald. The Steelers final drive cemented Holmes as the unlikely MVP and Disney had to be hoping to see Ben Roethlisberger as the MVP in a Steelers win.

Now let’s get down to the real winner’s – $3M for a :30 second ad is a hefty price, so Super Bowl advertisers that ran ads that were part of a much larger integrated effort to reach a mass audience/consumers are big winners.  The USA Today Ad Meter has spoken and a consumer-generated spot for Doritos entitled “Crystal Ball” has done what ad agencies across the country have been trying to do for the last 10 years – displace Anheuser-Busch from the top position. Of the top 10 ads in the USA Today Ad Meter only one, the Doritos “Crystal Ball” spot is one of my winners.

Doritos: Crystal Ball: I was watching the game with a number of people and all the guys in the room laughed when the spot aired.  In my blog entry on Jan. 26, I called for an un-tapped modern-day Don Draper to come out of the wood work and pull off the unthinkable – little did anyone know that the unlikely winners would be two unemployed brothers, Joe and Dave Herbert from Batesville, Ind.  These brothers aren’t novices, they took their first run at the Frito-Lay contest in 2007, Indianapolis Star reporter Erika Smith has their story and rise to quietly defeat Madison Ave with a spot that cost $2,000 to produce (safe bet that was just the entry tape).

So should ad agencies be concerned that a couple of consumers defeated hard working creative directors?  Not at all – this is the pinnacle of consumer-generated content and what ad agencies and marketers have been trying to convey to clients for the last three years.  With the rise of social media brands need to invite consumers to interact with their brands in more meaningful ways, even if it means giving up some control. Frito-Lay/Doritos is already seeing the ROI on the $1M bonus for the winning ad and the $3M cost to run the ad, in incremental media exposure of the promotion that generated 1,900 entries and the unthinkable of topping the USA Today Ad Meter.

Denny’s: Thugs: So how on earth could I ever pick the Denny’s spot as one of my winner’s?  I actually like the ad and thought it was funny as the “Soprano’s” like thugs are trying to figure out whether or not they need to knock off a rat only to be constantly interrupted by a waitress drawing clown faces on their pancakes with whip cream.  The kicker is when the ad closes offering a Free Grand Slam Breakfast (eggs, pancakes and meat) for everyone in America on Tuesday.  The message in a tough economy: We want to help you. The pay-off: major online buzz for a restaurant searching for consumers share of mind.  Did it work: Their website was inundated causing their server to crash as consumers went to the site to find the closest location.  According to GoogleTrends, five of the top 40 searches on Tuesday morning were Denny’s related and number 9 was “Denny’s locations.”  Denny’s was also top of mind on Twitter as “Denny’s” was number 1 and “Grand Slam” was number 7 on Twitter’s trending topics for Tuesday, not to mention the countless “Tweets” for “free breakfast” and “Denny’s server failures” according to the LA Times. A Google New Search finds more than 640 articles on the Denny’s free breakfast. Director of Fandemonium: The spot plays right in to the excitement of the NFL on its biggest stage and with a record 98.7 million viewers according to Nielsen, it was the most watched Super Bowl in history.  It is the perfect platform to launch the activation of their NFL sponsorship (see my blog from Jan. 29), while highlighting Monster as a jobs resource.  The Director of Fanedomonium gives one lucky football fan a signing bonus of $100,000 and a lifetime experience as long as you enter by Feb. 15, 2009.

Those three brands stand to gain a lot of consumer awareness and traffic to their retail.


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