Super Bowl BADvertising Round Up 2010

Last year we discussed the merits and rewards of putting MC Hammer and Ed McMahon in your ad.  So we’ll take the plunge again and talk about the ads that really rocked people’s worlds during Super Bowl XLIV.

Unfortunately, there was a surprising lack of awesome to be found.  This year was kind of revolutionary for Super Bowl ads.  Top Super Bowl advertiser, Pepsi, decided that it wasn’t worth the investment.  Google ran a single ad that was pretty cool and surprising for Google.

The Air Force ripped off The White Stripes in a really worthless kind of way.  And the rest just seemed to be a fairly lame sketch comedy show run by Doritos and Bud Light.

One of the reasons that these ads fell so short is pointed out here by Gary Vaynerchuk.  Put briefly, advertisers are beginning to miss the mark with their audience.  The number of viewers who watch TV while attached to a laptop, or browsing an iPhone are at an all-time high.  Granted this attachment to devices isn’t necessarily true for the Super Bowl viewing experience (people watching in groups of 8-10 or more), advertisers should still concern themselves less with creating the immediately gratifying ad, but rather the ad that gets people to a website, a Facebook page, or signing up to a list.

Google, of course gets the best of both worlds. Their ad has gotten huge in just a few days thanks to a bit of a pre-air leak and simply because they OWN the web-viewing experience. It turns out that their ad was not as much about competing with Bing as it was about launching their own web-based ad campaign called Search Stories. If successful, Search Stories could be the first and most pure cross-over ad campaign in history.