Business, Sports

Tide and Mercedes are Among This Year’s Super Bowl Ad Winners and Losers

Syracuse University Advertising Professor Kevin O’Neill gives his thoughts on Tide’s advertising strategy during Super Bowl 52. (c) 2018 Sean Scott

Hear Syracuse University Advertising Professors offer their insights and reactions to Super Bowl 52’s collection of commercials

Audio Transcript: Scott Super Bowl Advertising

By Sean Scott SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII Sunday night, but advertisers were more focused on the commercial breaks during the big game.

The Super Bowl is one of sports’ largest annual spectacles, drawing in roughly an average of 103 million viewers for Super Bowl LII, according to the Nielsen ratings. That viewership meant a lot of eyes watched commercials while waiting for a timeout to end, and advertisers wanted to take advantage of the limited opportunity.

Super Bowl LII cost advertisers almost $5 million per 30-second commercial this year, according to reports.

Syracuse University professor of Practice in Advertising Kevin O’Neill said the primary reason companies submit commercials to the Super Bowl isn’t usually to attract customers, but rather to send a message to Wall Street of a robust and healthy brand or for the company’s own benefit.

“Obviously consumers matter, but for lots of brands automotive brands, beer brands, soda brands that have large distributorships or dealer networks, a lot of the purpose of the advertising is to motivate your sales forces, to lift the morale of their huge employee bases,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill also said this year’s collection of commercials were similar to previous Super Bowls; there were good ones and bad ones.

“There are always some terrific ideas, and there are always some absolutely miserable ideas, and this year’s crop of commercials was no different. I thought it was a fairly balanced presentation between the worthy and the unworthy,” O’Neill said.

To O’Neill, one of the standout companies featured in the Super Bowl was Tide. He appreciated their ability to command the entire Super Bowl, essentially making every commercial an ad for Tide.

“The advertising wasn’t breathtakingly inventive, but the media idea was. In other words, a sort of hijack the whole Super Bowl,” O’Neill said.

However, not every company had a successful Super Bowl Sunday. Mercedes tried to run a promotion called “Last Fan Standing,” where participants had to use Mercedes’ app and keep their finger on a virtual car. Mercedes was going to give a car to the last person standing, but technical issues caused the promotion to be delayed and, eventually, cancelled. Syracuse University advertising professor Adam Peruta said these factors led to Mercedes being one of the worst Super Bowl advertisers this year.

“They came up with a really cool idea, built up some hype and promotion for it, and then for the technology to fail, it’s just like why didn’t you test it out?” Peruta said.

NBC is projected to earn about $500 million in ad revenue from Super Bowl LII.