Budweiser-Puppy-Love-Image-300x300According to Nielsen, the Super Bowl reached 108.7 million viewers last year so it makes sense marketers are paying millions of dollars for the world to see their brand for no more than 60 seconds.

I personally get more excited about the commercials that make me tear up and “aw” rather than the football game itself. This year, companies seemed to take full advantage of their slots in the Super Bowl. Many brands such as Budweiser and Audi released teasers prior to Sunday’s show, keeping viewers engaged. Creating viral buzz promoted even more exposure for companies who wanted to get the most bang for their buck – which seems logical if a company is paying a minimum of three million dollars.

Teasers and pre-show buzz didn’t seem to be the only methods used this year. Many companies took the route of emotional appeal and humor (if you haven’t seen the Budweiser Puppy Commercial, you’ve been living under a rock). Besides Budweiser, Doritos made viewers laugh with the time-traveler and Microsoft silenced rooms (at least the one I was in) by celebrating the unexpectedly human side of technology.  Other companies utilized the reach of social media – Esurance has blown up Twitter after announcing through its commercial that they will be giving away $1.5 million. So be it emotional appeals, integration of social media, or both early and post engagement, there are many ways to market to and connect with your audience.

With all the talk about what commercials failed and what excelled this Super Bowl and why they did, FLIRT decided to dive deeper into our favorite commercials.

“What can technology do for the world?” This is the question the inspiring Microsoft commercial answers. The tear-jerker shows how technology has changed lives and will continue helping individuals overcome the impossible.  The commercial ranked in Ad Meter’s top ten and it’s no wonder why. Whether it was the cameo of ex-pro football player Steve Gleason (now unable to speak) or any of the other empowering moments of individuals in the commercial – Microsoft’s was one of the most memorable in our books.

stephen colbert

If you missed either of the 15 second slots for Wonderful Pistachios then you didn’t get the full effect the company was going for. The element of surprise caught the attention of the viewers – one commercial, followed by a 30 second slot and then SURPRISE, back to Colbert – this time with the commercial fully branded with its name everywhere, and Colbert’s head featured as a pistachio. “Evidently the sales of pistachios have not skyrocketed in the last 30 seconds” – says Colbert almost poking fun at commercials expecting immediate results from their marketing tactics on the most-watched program of the year.  Perfect product placement was a key factor, as the 30 second slot in the middle was an ad for H&M featuring a scantily clad David Beckham – keeping rooms silenced and eyes on the screen, allowed the second pistachios slot to capitalize on the attention grabbing power of an ad they didn’t pay for. The element of surprise was a contributing factor, but also the humor of “in your face” branding combined with the hilarity that is Stephen Colbert created a funny, successful commercial for Wonderful Pistachios.

With the short shelf life of a Super Bowl ad it is important companies harness any tools they can to extend the limited exposure they receive – especially for a commercial that is the first one to air AFTER the game ends. Esurance took full advantage of the buzz social media can create by including the hashtag #Esurancesave30 in its commercial – so what motivated over 200,000 tweets immediately after the commercial aired?  The company revealed it would give $1.5 million to a single person on twitter who uses the hashtag. Not only was this incorporation of social media genius in marketing terms, but the companies following on Twitter skyrocketed from 8900 to over 110,000. The stunt also tied into Esurance’s brand message that emphasizes giving back savings to consumers. With the close of the contest yesterday, we are all interested to see who the lucky winner is!

For more of FLIRT’s funny favorites check out: Doritos time-travel commercial, Dannon Oikos‘ Full House throwback, and Volkswagen‘s engineers getting their wings.