Here’s What The Ads Looked Like On The Super Bowl Live Stream
There was a surprising amount of repetition and a few glitches, but many advertisers made decent plays during the live stream.
If you weren’t among the estimated 2-3 percent of the 115 million or so Super Bowl watchers that tuned in via NBC’s free live stream on Sunday, here’s a look at what you missed.
In the weeks leading up to the game, NBC said digital sales were brisk and that they wished they’d had more digital assets to sell ads around. The digital ad inventory was only available to those advertisers that bought broadcast TV spots, and NBC told Ad Age they had room on the live stream for 18 of the 70 TV advertisers.
That said, there was a surprising amount of ad repetition — an experience that would have felt familiar to any Hulu Plus viewers. In some cases, I lost track of the number of times some ads ran.
The biggest visiable difference on the live stream was the ad banner at the bottom of the screen. Advertisers rotated in and out of the banner throughout the entire game, not just when their ads appeared. This is where advertisers could offer a call-to-action wit the option of letting viewers could click on during the game.
Avocados From Mexico held the banner spot while John Legend sang “America” and Idina Menzel performed the national anthem.
Like many live stream advertisers, Avocados From Mexico used the banner to promote its TV ad. But instead of linking to the spot directly like many others, the ad was one of the few if only to use a hashtag, asking digital viewers to watch the ad and interact on Twitter with the hashtag #FirstDraftEver, the ad’s title. According to Topsy, there were over 17 thousand tweets featuring the hashtag in the past day.
Advertisers could also use interactive calls-to-action in the banners. Pizza Hut, for one, had an “Order Now” button in its banner. When you clicked it, the live stream paused and Pizza Hut’s online ordering interface popped up.
Though the live stream offered advertisers a rare chance to reach a younger, relatively captive crowd of 2 to 3 million digital viewers, just one advertiser, T-Mobile bothered to create a separate ad for the digital audience. It starred comedian Rob Riggle promoting the company’s data roll-over plans. T-Mobile also ran its TV ad featuring Kim Kardashian promoting its data plans.
Despite the separate ad creative, the copy and call to action in the ad banner on both ads was exactly the same.
Both were among the ads that reached Hulu Plus levels of repetition.
Like T-Mobile, many advertisers used the basic “Learn More” types of calls in their banners, with most of the car ads following this route.
A similar variation, though Toyota worked the Camry brand into its call-to-action.
I’m not sure how many people want a car insurance quote during the Super Bowl, but Geico made it easy for those that did with an explicit call to “Begin a Quote”.
Microsoft’s “See Her Story” banner took users to a landing page at Microsoft.com featuring the TV ad embedded from YouTube, a Twitter feed and links to more stories.
The Fast and Furious film franchise promoted its Super Bowl TV spot instead of the full trailer.
Which was the same call made by the coming Jurassic World Park.
Perhaps the least inspired or digital-friendly use of the banner was from Coca-Cola. First, the logo was cut off at the bottom, but the call to action was simply the GoMakeItHappy.com URL with nothing obviously clickable.
Were there any glitches? Live streaming can still be an iffy proposition. I did hear some grumbling about the feed breaking up from others in around the country, but with one brief exception, mine was smooth. The one exception was a few instances where the ad banner was completely blank. The longest stretch affected three ads consecutively. It looked like this.
The biggest issue I found was that the live stream was delayed anywhere from 2 to 3 minutes from the regular broadcast. It was a somewhat lonely experience if you were watching it anywhere in the vicinity of TV viewers or trying to follow second-screen conversations on Twitter or Facebook. It’s an odd feeling to participate in the digital viewing experience but get left out of the digital conversation.