Super Bowl XLV Commercials

The Super Bowl just keeps stepping up its game when it comes to selling, promoting and popularizing its commercials, which cost $3 million for 30 seconds on average this year.

For the first time ever, showed commercials during Super Bowl XLV through a specialized “channel” (AdZone 2011) that allowed viewers to not only watch and replay their favorites, but also vote. By the end of the night, Hulu had announced the three top-performing commercials: Volkswagon’s “The Force,” Bridgestone’s “Carma” and Doritos’ “Housesitting.” By asking thousands of viewers to actively rate and comment on the commercials as they were concurrently aired on cable TV, Hulu could quickly map popularity in a quicker and more specific way than can be estimated through television “views”—gauging who had the game on while the commercials aired, without knowing who was actually watching or what they thought.

Analysts, on the other hand, are revealing that Camaro’s ad (where two men voiceover a schoolteacher’s wild drive) may have rated higher than any other Super Bowl commercials, with 119 million viewers in the fourth quarter (when ads typically garner the most attention), according to Nielsen Co. This year’s ad star power involved Ozzy Osbourne, Justin Bieber, Faith Hill and Joan Rivers, though none of these spots (for Best Buy, Teleflora and were among the highest-ranking or most-popular. Consumer-generated Doritos ads dominated the night, with four ads placed throughout each quarter–though the most-memorable (“Pug”) was not the most-watched (“Housesitting”). Strong presences from the past (, Budweiser) barely made it on the scoreboard, while E*Trade lagged in near-obscurity, despite being a fan favorite in 2009 (and, to a lesser extent, in 2010).

Maybe the reason that the Super Bowl commercials are increasingly becoming one of the most important parts of the whole sporting event—especially for those who don’t really care about the athletes on the field—is because the pre-game and halftime shows are getting steadily weaker. They fail to take risks and try to appeal to too broad of an audience, thereby appealing to mostly no-one, as far as polls for Super Bowl XLV would indicate (showing about 30% popularity for the Black Eyed Peas, Slash and Usher).

And who can overlook the fact that Christina Aguilera messed up the national anthem lyrics, setting a dubious tone to the whole night’s entertainment? (If you’re a marketer, admit it: Didn’t you sort of suspect that she did it on purpose just for the press? It would seem like a smart, since a perfect performance wouldn’t have garnered nearly the attention, and she’s sense been invited to perform at a number of live events to “prove she can do it right.” If it was one at all, it was a very, very smart marketing tactic.)

As always, don’t hesitate to leave a comment and tell Mad 4 what you think about the entertainment and commercial aspects of Super Bowl XLV.

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