As a one-off event, the Super Bowl beats everything. The stage, the numbers, the marketing. There is truly nothing like it and it was a privilege to be in Phoenix for an epic game of American football and see Katy Perry, possibly inspired by London 2012’s opening ceremony, take to the air like a modern day Mary Poppins.
Despite the match going down to the wire with the New England Patriots beating the Seattle Seahawks with the last play of the game, it was the Pepsi Halftime Show that sparked the most interest on social media.
The centrepiece of Pepsi’s long-term flagship deal with the NFL dominated the social media space with Katy Perry (accompanied by dancing sharks, a giant robotic tiger and her firework finale) the top trend on Twitter globally for much of the second half despite the staggering conclusion to the game.
This year’s show took the integration of a brand and an event to a new level, with 70,000 fans in the audience wearing Pepsi-branded rings to light up the arena in red, white and blue, and a giant illuminated Pepsi logo on the field of play to start the show. Coke who?
As always, the Super Bowl is almost as much about the brands and ads as the game itself. UK bookmaker Betfair got in on the brand conversation with #BrandBowl odds tracking which brand would be most mentioned in tweets, and Twitter itself did its best to find a definitive winner of the #AdScrimmage.
Users were voting by hashtag through a Twitter card – similar to the match winner vote.
On this occasion, Jaguar USA came out on top with its #GoodToBeBad commercial, while less successful was Nationwide Insurance, which was heavily criticised for its advert focusing on the fatal accident on a young boy. Not quite the tone for a family event.
Whether or not the brand investment in the Super Bowl was justified is another bone of contention.
‘The cost of the Super Bowl’ was a popular phrase in the blogosphere this year, and the eye-watering $4.5m cost of an ad is the world record for the most expensive ad slot, according to yesterday’s City AM.
The X Factor, one of the UK’s highest, demands around £150-200k – quite the difference. Is it worth it? Big question – and one that’s dividing the best in the business.
If you were following on TV in the UK, you would have found Channel 4 fighting with Sky for viewers. The differing approaches were stark, with Channel 4’s #C4Rookie educational offering to newer fans compared with Sky’s in-depth analysis.
And at the other end of the scale you had monster.com, which was a bit quick on Twitter to congratulate Seattle on a win. Genuine mistake or deliberate ploy; it’s yet another example of the opportunity for brands to get in on the action of the Super Bowl.
And regardless of whether you were sitting in the stadium, watching into the early hours from the sofa or you caught up on Katy Perry’s pyrotechnics on social media after the event, Super Bowl has something for everyone. It’s a staggering show that leaves no stone unturned in entertainment value.
Roll on Super Bowl 50. You can trust that it will just be bigger. Somehow.