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Which 2014 Super Bowl Commercials Won the YouTube Ad Blitz?

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Budweiser Puppy Love

We won't know which 2014 Super Bowl commercials won the YouTube Ad Blitz until Feb. 14, but digital marketers can still share some eye-popping video statistics and a couple of compelling Super Bowl ads with their more traditional colleagues when they gather around the office water cooler and chat about last night's Big Game.

In real life, 82,586 football fans watched yesterday's official NFL Super Bowl XLVIII for two halves at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, more than 100 million football fans watched Super Bowl 2014 for almost 3.5 hours in four quarters plus a half time on the Fox broadcast television network.

Meanwhile, in another alternative reality, millions of football fans started to discover, watch, and share their favorite 2014 Super Bowl commercials on the YouTube Ad Blitz channel back on Jan. 16 and they'll continue until Feb. 14 because this 30-day-long event takes place over three periods: The pre-game, Big Game, and post-game voting.

And based on YouTube's data for 2013, football fans watched Super Bowl ads more than 265 million times for over 3.2 million hours – which is the equivalent of watching 914,285 Big Game broadcasts! And based on YouTube's pre-game data for 2014, it looks like the online views of this year's Super Bowl commercials are running about 2.2 times above last year.

Now, everybody knows that Fox Sports is charging around $4 million for 30 seconds of air time during this year's Big Game. But digital marketers may want to show their colleagues the research by Adobe Digital Index (ADI) which found that Digital and TV "Double Coverage" is the key to marketing success at the Super Bowl.

In fact, ADI analysis of the past three Super Bowls demonstrates that Internet traffic starts picking up for advertisers prior to Super Bowl Sunday. Traffic is typically up 15 percent during the day of the game. It peaks 20 percent above normal during the actual event from more mobile traffic. Traffic also stays higher than average for a few weeks after as the lingering impact of the advertising continues.

And digital marketers will definitely want to let their colleagues know that YouTube videos – even ones that also happen to be Super Bowl commercials – can be promoted at no cost with YouTube Fan Finder. They can also be promoted with AdWords for Video, which currently has an average CPM of $7.60, according to TubeMogul. By comparison, the CPM for a similar pre-roll ad on the Fox digital platforms is $60.00.

Which Ads Won the Pre-Super Bowl Battle for the Web?

So, which of the more than 50 Super Bowl commercials won the pre-game in 2014?

Based on data from Visible Measures, Ad Age declared on Jan. 30, "It's Official: Doritos Won the Pre-Super Bowl Battle for the Web". Michael Learmouth wrote, "By sheer views, Doritos is crushing, with nearly 18 million so far and a couple days left until kickoff. Doritos' "Crash the Super Bowl" campaign, seven years old at this point, is a shop-worn concept, but it still works. Viewers will pick two from a cast of ads submitted by users to be shown during the game."

However, Ad Age declared on Jan. 31, "Further Review: Budweiser's 'Puppy Love' Grabs the Pre-Super Bowl Crown". Learmouth wrote, "Yesterday we called the pre-Super Bowl for Doritos, but a lot can happen overnight when you put a Clydesdale and a bunch of Labrador puppies in the same ad. Therefore, upon further review, we're reversing the call: Budweiser's ‘Puppy Love' is the pre-Super Bowl champion, really crushing on all fronts: views, shares, tweets, likes, plus-ones and collective aaawwwws."

According to Unruly's Super Bowl 2014 chart, which uses a different methodology, the winner was Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial – "Puppy Love". It had more than 33.9 million views and 981,000 shares as of Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

In second place was AXE PEACE | Make Love, Not War (Official :60) , which had more than 5.1 million views and over 126,800 shares.

This demonstrates not only how quickly momentum can shift even during the pre-game voting, but also how different methodologies can produce different results.

Nevertheless, the biggest winner of the pre-game Ad Blitz was YouTube itself. On Jan. 31, Kariyushi Casper, Interactive Project Manager, Ad Blitz, wrote on YouTube's Official Blog, "As of this week, commercial teasers on YouTube have been watched 77 million times--more than twice as much as this time last year."

So, why would some digital marketers want to tip their hand before the big game? Well, eMarketer reported on Jan. 31 that a recent study conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that US adults would spend an average $68.27 on Super Bowl-related items. With more than 100 million consumers expected to watch the game, total spending will reach $6.8 billion.

What were viewers planning to spend their money on? Nearly eight in 10 said they would buy food and beverages—the No. 1 category by far. So, the digital marketers at Budweiser and Doritos seem to know what they're doing by uploading the ads in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl Sunday.

Which Commercial Won During the Super Bowl?

In real life, the Big Game was a lopsided affair, with the Seattle Seahawks crushing the Denver Broncos by a score of 43 to 8. In a parallel universe, there was some concern that viewers would turn off their TVs before the fourth quarter ended. However, two commercials that both aired during the two-minute warning at the end of the game were ranked first and second in USA Today's Final 2014 Super Bowl Ad Meter results. They were Budweiser's "Puppy Love" with a score of 8.29 followed by one of the two Doritos ads, "Cowboy Girl", with a score of 7.58.

Budweiser's "Hero's Welcome", which ran in the third quarter, ranked third with a score of 7.21.

And the second Doritos ad, "Time Machine", which ran in the first quarter, ranked fourth with a score of 7.13.

So, it appears that airing a commercial in the fourth quarter of a lopsided game turns out to be an unfounded fear. And it also appears that running sneak previews a couple of weeks before the Super Bowl didn't spoil the surprise, either.

As of today at noon ET, Super Bowl ads on YouTube have been watched more than 212 million times. There are now more than 100 Super Bowl-related commercials and teasers posted by brands to YouTube. And the top five in views are:

  1. Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial -- "Puppy Love" with 37 million views.
  2. Duracell: Trust Your Power - NFL's Derrick Coleman, Seattle Seahawks with 16 million views.
  3. Hyundai Elantra | Big Game Ad | "Nice" with 12 million views.
  4. 2014 Volkswagen Game Day Commercial: Wings with 11 million views.
  5. Sorry, Coke and Pepsi. (Uncensored) with 10 million views.

According to Unruly, Budweiser's "Puppy Love" was also the runaway winner of Super Bowl 2014. The ad, created by Anomaly, benefited greatly from its early release date (January 29th, 2014). It managed 1.14 million online shares before the game had even begun, which makes it the second most shared ad in Super Bowl history prior to kick-off.

The cute commercial, which tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a horse and a puppy, was not only the most shared video online, but also the ad which attracted the most TV coverage. The ad has so far generated 1.31 million shares, according to data supplied by Unruly's Viral Video Chart, making it the sixth most shared Super Bowl ad of all time (so far). It crowned an incredible Super Bowl for the Anheuser-Busch InBev brand, which has now overtaken Volkswagen as the most shared online Super Bowl brand of all time.

However, Budweiser's domination has not been just online. According to data supplied by media tracking company Civolution, in the U.S., "Puppy Love" appeared on national television channels 75 times prior to the game and on local broadcasts 1,200 times, which is nearly 4 times the next most popular ad, Volkswagen's "Wings" commercial, with 318 local broadcasts.

The global appeal of Scarlett Johansson proved highly valuable for SodaStream on international television channels, leading to 755 broadcasts outside of the US. "Puppy Love" was the second most broadcast ad outside the US with 236 airings.

According to Unruly, here are the top five most shared ads of Super Bowl 2014:

  1. Budweiser: "Puppy Love" with 1,309,403 shares.
  2. Budweiser: "A Heroes' Welcome" with 202,556 shares.
  3. Axe: "Make Love, Not War" with 136,282 shares.
  4. Jaguar: "British Villains" with 125,896 shares.
  5. Bud Light: "Ian Up For Whatever" with 123,418 shares.

"Year after year we are seeing more Super Bowl ads being released ahead of the actual event," Andy Nobbs, CMO of Civolution, said in a press release. "And it's paying dividends in terms of reach for the brands. With ads being broadcast across the globe to millions of viewers who would not normally see the Super Bowl, this earned media is really maximising ROI and awareness for the brands."

Sarah Wood, co-founder and COO at Unruly, said, "With consumers sharing videos on a second screen device while they're watching the big game, it's not about a battle of the channels, it's about brands adopting an omnichannel approach, embracing TV and digital and reaching consumers wherever they happen to be socializing and sharing content." She added, "The smart brands have adopted a flare and connect approach. They use TV around a tentpole event to drive reach instantaneously, deploying digital to drive incremental reach, amplify their TV activity, and make their content discoverable and easy to share 365 days of the year."

Adobe also released some Big Game statistics about the advertisements that created the most social media buzz:

  • The top five advertisers in terms of social media presence were: Coke (169,013 mentions), Ford (164,300 mentions), Chevy (150,061 mentions), Anheuser-Busch (135,045 mentions) and Doritos (122,045 mentions).
  • RadioShack had 22x increase in social mentions, the largest increase for any advertiser this past weekend. Anheuser-Busch comes in second (19x increase), and CarMax comes in third (18x).
  • The phrase “Super Bowl” garnered 4.9 million mentions, more than 20x than normal.

In terms of how head-to-head competitors stacked up against each other, Adobe also said:

  • Coke beat out Pepsi with more than 68,000 social media mentions.
  • Anheuser-Busch beat out Coors with almost 10,000 more social media mentions.
  • Audi beat out Jaguar, BMW and Mercedes.
  • Chobani beat out Oikos and Yoplait.
  • And Axe beat out Old Spice barely with more than 5,000 social media mentions.

Which 2014 Super Bowl Commercials Will Win the Post-Game YouTube Ad Blitz?

So, that just leaves the original question unanswered: Which of the 55 commercials that aired during the Super Bowl will win the most votes in the post-game voting on the YouTube Ad Blitz?

As we've already seen this year, momentum can shift in this alternative reality, but that doesn't preclude the vote ending with lopsided results. In fact, if digital marketers had looked at the YouTube Trends Map this morning, they would have seen that Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial -- "Puppy Love" was the most viewed video in 141 out of 150 regions and the most shared video in 128 out of 150 regions:

YouTube Trends Map Puppy Love

Meanwhile, in another alternative reality, the YouTube Trends Blog was featuring Coca-Cola - It's Beautiful - Official :60. The YouTube Trends Team said, "Coca-Cola's 2014 Super Bowl spot was one of many trending ads from the big game."

Meanwhile, in yet another alternative reality, 2014 Volkswagen Game Day Commercial: Wingsis included in an expandable homepage masthead ad, a 970x250 pixel in-page desktop unit running the full width of the YouTube homepage below the navigation bar. If a viewer clicks on it, the unit expands to 970x500 pixels.

So, the post-game isn't over until it's over. And digital marketers as well as football fans can vote early and vote often. This means that we may want to keep a close eye on trends until the final results are announced on Feb. 14.


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