For many of us, life has been so busy lately that we’ve forgotten what time of year it is. But, on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, an average of over 110 million U.S. viewers will be watching Super Bowl LII at any given minute and up to 172 million total U.S. viewers will catch at least part of the National Football League’s championship game.
Now, the Super Bowl is notorious for attracting “bandwagon” viewers. According to the Super Bowl LII Report from Hitwise, this makes Super Bowl audiences very different from regular NFL football fans. The report says, “While NFL fans tend to skew older and more male, Super Bowl audiences skew younger and relatively more female.” Additionally, the latest Hitwise data shows that Super Bowl audiences are 17% more likely than the average American to visit social media and networking sites – particularly Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
A New Way to Look at Super Bowl Advertising
All this research begins to explain why social media has played a pivotal role in the Super Bowl for more than a decade and helps shed some light on why most video marketers will be more focused on which Super Bowl ads will win the 2018 YouTube AdBlitz than on whether the New England Patriots or the Philadelphia Eagles will hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Why do we care so passionately about how well some other brand or agency’s video ad performs? Because we band of brothers and sisters know that the NBC Sports network will get more than $5 million for a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl. And we also know what we could have done with an equivalent amount of money if the highest paid person in the office (HiPPO) could be persuaded to increase the percentage of the marketing budget invested in video advertising, branded content, or a sponsored campaign instead.
Other brands are headed in that direction. For example, Wix.com has ended a three-year Super Bowl streak to focus on digital. In fact, the website builder has moved away from TV advertising entirely — and is focused instead on digital campaigns and working with influencers to promote the brand. According to a story by Jeanine Poggi in Ad Age, “Wix has been hiring celebrities and influencers such as model Karlie Kloss, YouTubers Rhett and Link and comedian James Veitch.”
But, convincing the HiPPO to move money out of TV advertising and into digital video marketing is a battle for another day. In fact, it’s a battle that begins the day after the big game during the inevitable meeting when the HiPPO turns to you and asks, “What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial?” That’s your opportunity to politely point out that you watched and cheered for your favorite 2018 Super Bowl videos last week – because they’d already been uploaded to the YouTube AdBlitz channel.
How Super Bowl Videos Are Performing on AdBlitz
I know you turn to Tubular Insights for strategic insights, critical data, tactical advice, and trends in the digital video marketing business. But I feel a few tips and some guidance on managing your superiors will help you avoid making a career-damaging move. And that brings me to the primary topic of this column: which Super Bowl videos have a shot at winning the 2018 YouTube AdBlitz?
Now, you can always use your personal opinion to pick the winners, of course. For example, I happen to like “Beats By Dre | Tom Brady | Above The Noise,” which already has over 1.6M total views (all numbers correct at time of writing).
But, what if the HiPPO disagrees? If you grumble, “Well, that’s my opinion,” then you’re saying that you’re “wicked smart” (pronounced “smaaht”), which is kinda-sorta implying that the highest paid person in the office is a chowderhead (pronounced “chowdahead”). That’s almost certainly a career-damaging move.
That’s why I recommend using Tubular Video Ratings instead. Citing industry benchmarks for measuring online video success enables you to change the HiPPO’s mind by saying, “Let’s look at the numbers.” This also lets the highest paid person in the office “discover” that there are standardized metrics which rate every online video, publisher, and influencer according to views and engagement rates without wondering why you never mentioned these key performance indicators (KPIs) before.
Now, not all of the Super Bowl commercials that will air on Sunday have been uploaded to the YouTube AdBlitz channel in advance. And some of the videos which have been uploaded are “teasers.” As you will see from the 20 examples below, judging Super Bowl ads using total “views” can be very misleading. Why? Because some of the video ads and teasers for the big game were uploaded in early November 2017 and others were uploaded earlier this week. Here, then, are the top contenders:
“Did Alexa Lose Her Voice? – Teaser – Amazon Super Bowl Commercial LII” has 10.2 million total views, and a V3 of 140,000 views. Who knows, maybe the brand’s final Super Bowl ad will outperform the teaser. And maybe Boston or Philadelphia have a shot at getting selected for HQ2, Amazon’s new corporate headquarters. “Alexa, what’s over-under on either of these outcomes?”
“Tostitos – Super Bowl Ads for All – :15” has 13.0 million total views, and a V3 of 7.8 million views.
“Groupon 2018 Super Bowl Commercial | ‘Who Wouldn’t’” has 6.9 million total views, and a V3 of 3.2 million views.
“Budweiser 2018 Super Bowl Commercial | ‘Stand By You’” has 6.1 million total views, and a V3 of 2.6 million views. Again, this video’s high views and low engagement rate implies paid media (a seemingly popular strategy still despite views not always meaning a win across the board).
“Tongue Twisters: Doritos Blaze” has 4.3 million total views, and a V3 of 1.7 million views.
“Pringles | WOW 2018 Commercial (Official)” has 3.7 million total views, and a V3 of just 600. Uploaded on Jan. 19, 2018, this video ad appears to have flown under the radar for a week and was then “discovered” on Jan 25, when both Ad Age and USA Today wrote stories about the video ad. So, this sleeper may have an outside shot at winning the 2018 YouTube AdBlitz.
“Little Heroes of Game Day” has 2.4 million total views, and a V3 of 53,100 views. Tyson Any’tizers Snacks and Crispy Chicken Strips aren’t even featured in the video’s title. Come to think of it, maybe that’s a blessing in disguise.
“Save on Groupon like Tiffany Haddish!” has 1.5 million total views, and a V3 of 1.5 million views.
“M&M’s Super Bowl Teaser 2018 (featuring Danny DeVito) :15” has 620,000 total views, and a V3 of 441,000 views. Now, I realize that this is just a teaser. It isn’t the final Super Bowl ad. But I think we’ve just spotted the first video that has a shot at winning the 2018 YouTube AdBlitz.
“Should You Make A Website? Here’s Why Keanu Reeves Did” has 310,000 total views, and a V3 of 60,800 views.
“Lexus LS 500 F SPORT / Marvel Studios’ Black Panther Commercial—Full Length” has 288,000 total views, and a V3 of 73,900 views.
“Skittles ))) Possible Super Bowl Ad – Sandwich” has 486,000 total views, and a V3 of 253,000 views. So, that makes this a possible contender out of all the Super Bowl videos. But there are three other Skittles video ads that are also contenders. So, kudos to the brand for pre-testing four possible creative executions and running the one with the best shot of winning.
“Skittles ))) Possible Super Bowl Ad – Being” has 265,000 total views, and a V3 of 59,600 views. Hmmm. Even David Schwimmer is wondering why he has a strange haircut and a pair of glowing eyes.
“Skittles ))) Possible Super Bowl Ad – Floating” has 150,000 total views, and a V3 of 44,600 views. So, my money’s still on “Sandwich” to make the cut.
“Make It With Keanu Reeves | :30 Online” has 90,400 total views, and a V3 of 35,900.
“Skittles ))) Possible Super Bowl Ad – Puppet” has a V3 of 62,100 views. Now, imagine what the brand could have accomplished by partnering with four different video influencers and pre-testing their creative content in advance, instead of making four different creative executions featuring the same TV actor?
“Red Sweater | Old Spice” has 39,600 total views, and a V3 of 33,800. So, it has a good shot at winning the 208 YouTube AdBlitz. Besides, views and engagement rates are only a means to an end. As the YouTube video’s description reminds us, “When selling deodorant there is really only one language that is the most appropriate to feature in a commercial. Some may say it is the one that the audience understands, but Old Spice disagrees. The correct answer is the language that sells the most deodorant. Bon appétit.”
“Pay-Per-Mile Car Insurance Could Cut Your Bill in Half” has 26,900 total views, and a V3 of 26,700 views. When this commercial comes on, you can safely head to the kitchen without anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening on television.
Now that you’ve seen the top contenders, here’s my final advice for managing upwards during the upcoming meeting on the day after the Super Bowl: if the HiPPO happens to say that 75% of the commercials aired during Sunday’s big game appeared to be a total waste of money, then be prepared to propose moving away from TV advertising entirely and investing in video advertising, branded content, or a sponsored campaign instead. That’s as good a shot as you’re going to get to finally beef up your shoestring digital video marketing budget. And this well-timed appeal drastically lowers the odds that you’ll be making a career-damaging move!