Crop Circle Comeback: New Wave in Pre-Super Bowl Advertising

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Posted: February 3, 2015, 8:36 a.m.
by Haley Petrey.

Spoiler alert! The New England Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX (49 for those of us not from Rome). Now, we’re all friends here. Let’s talk about who really won the Super Bowl. You may say, everyone that saw the Girl on Fire — Katy Perry — perform at halftime, am I right?!  But it was Pepsi that took Super Bowl advertising “out of this world,” and in a very unconventional way.

Provided by @usatoday
Provided by @usatoday

Last year, the Super Bowl captured the attention of 111.5 million viewers and inspired 25.3 million tweets, according to Nielsen.

But in order to beat last year’s $3 of ad spending per viewer (is that all we’re worth? $3?), Super Bowl XLIX needed at least 120 million Seahawks and Patriots “fans” tuning in, according to Forbes.

According to NB Sports, Sunday’s game had the highest overnight TV rating ever. Maybe that’s a sign from the television gods.

Is it just me, or were the advertisements slightly downcast this year? Take the Nationwide – Make Safe Happen commercial for example. It shows a young boy who will never have the chance to grow up due to preventable death.

Maybe the Patriots deflated the humor out of all the commercials this year, too. With the way things were going, I was expecting Sarah McLachlan to make an appearance. Thank goodness for Katy Perry and her dancing sharks. When we spend our Sunday night making a dinner out of appetizers and watching commercials, we as viewers expect to be entertained.

Some companies took this expectation off the television screen and to a new level.

But I think it’s safe to say, Pepsi is changing the game. According to The New York Times, “a giant crop circle [of the Pepsi logo] appeared in fields around Phoenix, Arizona leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl.” The creativity and love for Katy Perry on this promotional campaign are enough to make any Southern gal consider Pepsi over Coke. Pepsi’s multi-faceted campaign included over 40 promo events around the country.

Provided by @AdAge
Provided by @AdAge

In another promotional strategy, Facebook and Twitter each launched Super Bowl-inspired channels on their networks. PR News Online is calling this “The Second Screen.” These channels offered real-time streaming along with photos and videos from news outlets.

Then there’s GoDaddy, an online domain name registrar, that decided to take advantage of both screens by releasing its original “puppy mill” commercial all over the Web after pulling it from the Super Bowl ad lineup due to backlash from critics. And for those of you keeping score at home, “Buddy” was not the product of a “puppy mill” and has found a safe home with a longtime employee of GoDaddy.

The ad GoDaddy aired on television during the Super Bowl was, to quote the commercial, “zero layers” of offensiveness and “seven layers” of average. However, we find ourselves with a little two-for-one GoDaddy deal here. PR stunt, or poor judgment? Not all PR is good PR, GoDaddy.

Regardless of GoDaddy’s double-doozy, Pepsi takes home the gold with creativity — even if it reminds you of a scene straight out of the movie “Signs.” Grab your snorkel! The new wave of Super Bowl advertising is here.

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