By Sue Zeidler and Liana B. Baker
Feb 3 Chrysler's Jeep ad featuring a patriotic
salute to U.S. troops and narration by Oprah Winfrey, an Oreo ad
asking viewers to vote cookie or creme, and a scantily clad male
Calvin Klein model were among standout commercials during a
Super Bowl that suffered a half-hour partial blackout delay on
Ads by Budweiser and PepsiCo's Doritos were
less engaging, according to advertising experts, in the game
that is annually the largest showcase for U.S. consumers with
more than 100 million viewers.
The Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 after
the 49ers staged a furious comeback following a 34-minute
partial blackout of the Superdome in New Orleans.
During the blackout, CBS filled the time with recaps by the
network's commentators and did not use any of the ads, but the
game broadcaster said it would honor its commitments to
advertisers who paid an average of $4 million for a 30-second
commercial. As a result of the delay, the game ran until 10:45
p.m. on the East Coast.
"Hands down, the winner was Chrysler because of American
pride," said Jim Joseph, president of North America division for
Cohn & Wolfe. "Unlike other carmakers, they didn't talk about
their features. Instead they showed what they're doing in
partnership with USO to bring home troops to their families."
The National Football League's big game started off on a
somber note with a rendition of "America the Beautiful" by
Jennifer Hudson and the chorus from Sandy Hook Elementary School
in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were killed
in a Dec. 14 shooting.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, including more than 800 mayors
led by New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, ran an ad in the
Washington, D.C., area that urged U.S. lawmakers to pass rules
requiring background checks on gun buyers.
CBS spokespeople did not elaborate on how they would honor
commitments from advertisers. Jim Joseph of Cohn & Wolfe said
that by "honoring their commitments," CBS guaranteed that the
placement of ads would not be affected, with those in the third
and fourth quarter appearing where they had been contracted to
While the game was being played, advertisers offered the
kind of humor-laced ads that have annually been a part of the
An M&M ad featuring "Glee" star Naya Rivera romancing a red
M&M was a crowd pleaser, while an Oreo ad asking viewers to
visit the social network Instagram to vote on whether they
prefer the cookie or creme of the iconic sandwich cookies was
"That was brilliant marketing and generated thousands of
hits on Instagram within minutes," said Joseph.
Chrysler's salute to U.S. troops was in keeping with
patriotic messages that appear to becoming a hallmark of its
ads. Last year, Chrysler's commercial featured a surprise guest
appearance by Clint Eastwood who proclaimed it "Halftime in
Chrysler was one of the holdouts that did not reveal its
marketing strategy prior to the game, while many released online
teasers and contests to engage viewers ahead of the game. This
year many ads stirred controversy, touching off online debates
One spot by Coca-Cola was denounced as "racist" by
Arab-American groups, who received an apology from the soft
drink giant. In an online teaser for its longer advertisement,
the ad showed a person who appeared to be an Arab falling behind
in a race to reach a gigantic Coke bottle, as his camel refused
to move, while cowboys, Las Vegas show girls and a motley crew
fashioned after the marauders of the apocalyptic "Mad Max" film
raced by him.
The ad encouraged viewers to vote online on which characters
should win the race, but failed to allow a vote for the person
on the camel.
SodaStream, which makes a home carbonation system, generated
hefty publicity for a spot that didn't even make it to the big
game. It issued a statement that CBS rejected its original Super
Bowl commercial showing bottles of Coke and Pepsi, two of the
game's biggest sponsors, combusting spontaneously as they were
being delivered to a store as someone used a SodaStream product.
Other 30- and 60-second spots stretched the boundaries with
scantily clad Kate Upton pushing Mercedes-Benz, while
domain name registrar GoDaddy caused a stir with its ad showing
a nerdy looking man schmooching with super model Bar Refaeli.
But Derek Rucker, professor Kellogg School of Management at
Northwestern University, said by the time the ad finally ran
during the game, viewers felt "the GoDaddy close-up was too
Taco Bell scored a hit with its ad featuring a geriatric
joyride, with graying consumers enjoying the fast food.
"Right now it looks like Taco Bell is going to be the winner
tonight with the geriatric commercial and the reworking of the
song, 'We Are Young' done in Spanish," said Brent Poer,
president of LiquidThread, a division of media agency Mediavest,
about the spot showing senior citizens behaving badly and
Another favorite was an Audi commercial about a kid getting
to take his dad's car to prom and kissing a girl.
"We've all been in high school where you didn't feel like
you fit in. It's funny but there's a core human quality they
pulled from," said Poer.
The Calvin Klein underwear ad got a lot of traction on
"The response from women was pretty overwhelming. It
reminded me of the H&M spot with David Beckham a year or two ago
where it was a slow pan of his body," said Claudia Caplan, chief
marketing officer at advertising agency RP3, based in Bethesda,
CBS also expanded its so-called "second-screen" offerings to
complement the television broadcast, said Jason Kint, senior
vice president and general manager of CBSSports.com,
The enhanced features on CBSSports.com include a first-ever
live stream of the Pepsi-sponsored halftime show featuring
Beyoncé, additional camera angles to see the action from
different perspectives and immediate access to the commercials
as they are broadcast on CBS.
"The moment when an ad runs, it becomes a true Super Bowl
commercial and people start talking about it. Now they can
immediately watch it again online as they are talking about it,"
Kint told Reuters.
"Any advertisers will consider that as value for the ad. It
becomes immediately social and played again and again," he said.