For some viewers, the big game is all about the game. But plenty more tune in just for the ads.
On February 5, more than 100 million viewers throughout the US tuned in to catch the pro football championship between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots. According to Variety, the big game had a 48.8 household rating from Nielsen. Although some were genuinely interested in the game (which went into overtime for the first time ever), a great number of people were excited to see the 66 commercials that aired .
Some ads grabbed people’s attention for being funny, others for being poignant. Some offended, while others were a bit embarrassing. Let’s take a look at the ads that got the most attention on social media.
Any publicity is good publicity, right? Budweiser might be hoping so after Twitter users created the hashtag #boycottbudweiser in response to its football championship ad. The ad told a fictionalized version of the company’s origin, in which Adolphus Busch travels from his homeland of Germany to the US to create the beer.
At the time of writing, the hashtag #boycottbudweiser had appeared in more than 17,000 tweets. Whether all those tweeters will actually stop drinking the King of Beers remains to be seen.
Most Controversial Runner-Up
Audi waded into the waters of controversy with its ad “Daughter,” which argued for equal pay and opportunity for women. As you might have guessed, some people praised the ad and its hashtag #driveprogress, including actor Octavia Spencer, who tweeted:Others, such as political commentator Tomi Lahren, weren’t feeling it:Most Surprising
84 Lumber, a building supply company, came out of seemingly nowhere with what might have been the most surprising, controversial, and touching ad of the game. The full commercial, which featuring a mom and daughter attempting to cross a border, was actually censored by Fox and could only be seen online. Shortly after the ad ran, 84 Lumber’s website crashed due to the influx of people trying to watch the full ad.Over on Twitter, people used the hashtag #Journey84 to praise the end of the ad or to lament the fact that they couldn’t see it. And, as you might expect from an ad that took a strong stance on immigration, it also gave birth to a #Boycott84Lumber hashtag.
Most Likely to Start a Brand War
But some really got under the skin of competitor Verizon, which took to Twitter to respond to the ads. Featuring the hashtag #thesafewordisunlimited and comedian Kristen Schaal, the ads were a bit #NSFW and argued that Verizon and other competitors were only a good choice for people who were into being punished by their wireless providers.
Verizon’s initial response was pure gold:It got better from there:It wasn’t just T-Mobile that got Verizon’s hackles up during the game. Sprint also had an ad that led Verizon to respond with this tweet:
Who knows what Yellowtail wine was thinking when it put together an ad featuring a man in a bright yellow suit and a kangaroo trying to seduce a woman in a bikini—but Australians weren’t having it. Perhaps Australian journalist Josephine Tovey summed it up best with her tweet:
Best Celeb Cameo
What’s the recipe for a great ad? Add Christopher Walken. What’s an even better recipe? Add Christopher Walken, then add Justin Timberlake, then give people an easy way to remember how to say your name.With a commercial that featured Walken speak-singing the words to *NSync’s hit “Bye Bye Bye” before cutting over to a distinguished-looking Timberlake nodding, Bai, the previously confusing drink, told millions just how you pronounce it. And the Twitterverse went wild.
At the end of the game, it didn’t really matter who won or lost (though, for the record, it was the Patriots). What mattered most for the brands who shelled out for commercial space during the game was who’s talking about theirs ads on social media and what they are saying.