The ads used to be about monkeys doing tricks, men getting their private parts batted around, or talking infants engaged in wise-cracking. This year added the imagery of women and babies getting dinged -- all in the name of fun, apparently.
Desperation is in the air.
Here's some post-game evidence of that. Twice this week, marketers have re-edited their Super Bowl commercials for online viewing. Groupon did this first because of some fuzzy intent: Was the commercial spoofing celebrities who crusade for causes like helping Tibetan refugees -- or actually looking to help Tibetan refugees in a funny sort of way?
Then, HomeAway re-edited its Super Bowl spot that featured -- supposedly -- a baby being smashed against a hotel window. Mind you, even though the baby was immediately identified as a "Test Baby" in the commercial, apparently this wasn't enough. So HomeAway did its video tinkering.
YouTube and other sites, where you can witness the before-and-after results, are the beneficiaries here.
But forget about the re-edited spots for a second. Frito-Lay and sister company, Pepsi, each ran two spots produced from its consumer-fans. Couple this with some 14 movie commercials -- where traditional ad agency creatives do little to no work given that their content basically contains edited-down movie trailers -- and you have marketers slowly pulling away from big-time risky Super Bowl creative.
Talk to any TV marketer and you know that the stakes are high on Super Bowl day. Viewers are there to be entertained -- amidst the clutter and confusion of other messages that day. That seems like a hard road to travel down with $3 million in media spending per commercial on the line, and the USA Today advertising meter breathing down your neck.
Sure, the majority of the some 60 Super Bowl commercials were new and original. But many began running before Super Bowl day. Advertisers were looking to stretch expensive TV marketing dollars --and looking for an easy landing should things not go their way.
But if all else failed, they always could re-edit -- after the fact. It's TV, after all. Just wondering if the Pittsburgh Steelers can do the same.