Despite all the usual trappings of Super Bowl fun -- party-attending, party-avoidance, party-fighting --the big game’s commercials have begun to require more and more work from consumers.
We needed to create our own commercials for the likes of Doritos and others. And when we weren’t doing that, some big marketers insisted we go online to see how their commercial ends, or worse, to vote on an ending, or even worse than that, to create our own ending and then vote on it. Gee, isn't that what creatives at advertising agencies get paid for?
Abandoning its usual polar bear-themed spots, Coca-Cola embraced this trend with a ragtag group of characters chasing a big bottle of Coke in the desert: a bus load of mad-driving Las Vegas show girls, a bunch of cowboys -- a posse, really -- and rough-looking motorcycle guys, akin to an early Mel Gibson movie. The spot then told us to vote for our favorite ending.
A Budweiser commercial was about a man raising Clydesdales who sends a young horse to become part of the Budweiser horse-pulling team. We were asked to go online to give a name to the new horse.
There's more work to do. A GoDaddy spot showed married men with their wives around the world mulling a big idea to make them rich. Too late. There was already a guy in a private big jet drinking champagne, with Danica Patrick as the pilot. Hmm.
With so much for viewers to do, marketers tried to make it, by releasing their messages days before the Super Bowl, allowing media and consumers to ruminate over bits and pieces.
If that wasn’t enough, this year’s Super Bowl was slow-moving, at least in the first half when much of this heavy lifting occurs – before people tire of all the marketing messges.
Beyonce at halftime gave us the usual -- more or less. In the middle, virtual Beyonce did her own thing while real Beyonce continued to entertain. She then bought on her early pop singing incarnation -- Destiny's Child.
The third quarter quickly brought a kickoff return touchdown by the Ravens -- and then a much need 34-minute power outage.
Recent history has shown that the game itself has staying power. In four of the last five contests, the game has gone down to the final play -- or plays.
The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens didn't disappoint. U.S. consumers -- and those around the world -- were rewarded. But I'm exhausted.