Budweiser commercials about a returning soldier and a love-struck puppy emerged as winners in the high-stakes brand battle during football’s Super Bowl, as advertisers used Hollywood stars and slick cars to woo consumers.
The Budweiser ads took the two top spots in online buzz immediately following the game, according to iSpot, which tracks video views and social media comments. One showed a soldier coming home to a parade, and the other featured a Labrador puppy and the beer maker’s famous Clydesdale horses.
Brands paid $4-million on average for 30 seconds of ad time during the game, seen by an estimated 100 million viewers who annually make it U.S. television’s most-watched event. The Seattle Seahawks crushed the Denver Broncos 43-8.
Budweiser, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, and other brands opted to stir people’s emotions, rather than seek cheap laughs, said Tim Calkins, marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, which annually reviews Super Bowl ads.
“We are seeing companies talk about more inspirational topics,” Calkins said. “I think this reflects a little bit how people are feeling in the country. People are feeling a little hopeful.”
Auto makers dominated the telecast. Chrysler - which scored with a Clint Eastwood pitch in 2012 - again stood out, featuring 72-year-old folk singer Bob Dylan in a pitch for the new Chrysler 200 sedan. Dylan’s song Things Have Changed played in the background as the singer appeared on screen to narrate a story that celebrated America and U.S. auto workers.
“It was very skillful and epic,” said Andrew Essex, vice chairman at advertising agency Droga5. Other experts, however, said viewers complained online that Dylan had sold out.
Luxury car maker Maserati, owned by Fiat, surprised with a dramatic 90-second ad starring young actress Quvenzhane Wallis and featuring tornadoes, waves and flocks of flying birds. The ad promoted a new lower-priced Maserati that starts at $67,000.
Jerry Seinfeld reunited with cast members from his hit 1990s sitcom for an episode of his online show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” on Sony Corp ‘s Crackle.com. Part of the episode aired during halftime.
Internet domain company GoDaddy.com, known for its racy ads, featured a real-life machine engineer who announced in this year’s ad she was quitting her job to run a puppeteer business.
As many ads were previewed online ahead of the game, the usual sense of anticipation was not there, said Jim Joseph, president of the North America division for Cohn & Wolfe, who discussed the ads with viewers through Twitter. Ads or teasers were viewed 130 million times before kickoff, according to iSpot.
“People are a little disappointed in general,” Joseph said. “There doesn’t seem to be the surprise factor that we have seen in other years.”
The blowout victory by Seattle likely reduced the audience for second-half ads, said Claudia Caplan, senior vice president for business development at MDC Partners. “There have to be a lot of people who just bailed,” she said.
If you have questions about driving or car maintenance, please contact our experts at email@example.com.
Follow us on Twitter @Globe_Drive.
Add us to your circles.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter.