Marketing Strategy

Super Bowl 2012 Commercials: Which Advertisements Won?

By Megan Marrs February 06, 2012 Posted In: Marketing Strategy Comments: 0

Another glorious Super Bowl has passed, this year's being the most tweeted sporting event in history, with over 10,000 tweets per second. The end of Super Bowl XLVI even nabbed the 2nd spot in Twitter’s list of most-tweeted-per-second events, with Madonna’s half-time performance grabbing spot #3.

This was also the first Super Bowl to be streamed live, and Google took the time to asses the Super Bowl Sunday chatter across desktops and mobile devices, and tablets.

For the less sport-savvy among us, Super Bowls are all about commercials. Some of these advertisements got a lot of attention on Super Bowl Sunday, and will continue to be talked about this week. It’s tempting to dream of posting your own videos and imagine similar viral success, but it’s certainly no game for the faint of heart (or wallet), with advertisers paying an average $3.5 million for a 30-second commercial.

The Best Super Bowl XLVI Commercials

Here are some of the most successful Super Bowl 2012 commercials:









What can we learn from these favorites? When it comes to successful video ads, humor takes the cake. As usual, the most successful Super Bowl commercials tend to be the ones that make us laugh the hardest. Although it’s yet to be seen if these Super Bowl laughs = conversions.

What continues to work: Babies, dogs, and nostalgia.

What doesn’t work: It seems to me that we’ve grown beyond being awed by the star-studded ads that advertisers like Pepsi are known for. Budweiser’s more serious, historically-correct ads also failed to compete. Another big failure was Coke’s underperforming polar bear themed ads. While the polar bears have been beloved mascots of Coke for years, they are usually linked closely with the Christmas season and felt quite out of place amidst Super Bowl ads.

Chevy and OK Go Team Up

I’ve always felt car ads tend to be the most tricky. Often bland and unoriginal, they require a strong dose of creativity to stand out. I thought in this sense, Chevy Sonic’s ad did quite well, managing to be entertaining without shifting much focus from the car itself.

Where Chevy really excelled is their partnership with OK Go for the band’s latest music video, featuring a tricked-out Chevy that helps the band create an awesome new video:

Pretty amazing, to be sure. And the video is no trick – the instruments really are producing the sounds, with each piano having the lowest octaves tuned to the same note so that they would play the correct note regardless of where they were struck.

This video certainly stands up to OK Go’s long running theme of unique music videos, created with over 1000 instruments installed in over two miles of desert outside Los Angeles. The video took 4 months of preparation and 4 days of shooting and recording. The band’s lead singer, Damian Kulash, even took stunt driving lessons.

Some might consider the music video as one long Chevy ad; while the car doesn’t come manufactured with retractable pneumatic arms, the numerous hairpin turns in the video showcase the car’s real abilities. You can read all about how the song was made in this great Car and Driver article, detailing the course creation and set up.

The Chevy-OK Go partnership is an example of what can be accomplished with creative sponsorship. Everyone wins in this scenario: OK Go gets to use corporate sponsorship to their greatest advantage in order create a great new music video, viewers get to see something truly awe-inspiring and unique, and Chevy gets to pat themselves on the back as a fun loving, musician-supporting company while being able to create an entire campaign around the impressive music video.

This is ultimately a new, and increasingly successful, form of advertising. In the end, it's not so complex though – create something worth watching, and people will watch it. 

If you’re inspired to create some YouTube videos to boost your business, check out our guide to creating and optimizing YouTube video content. If creating video content isn't your thing, we've got a few tips on YouTube advertising that you could use.

And what do you guys think? What Super Bowl ads were your favorites, and why did they work well?

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