Advertising is as much a part of the Super Bowl experience as the beer, chicken wings, and the game itself. A survey by Harris Interactive and Hanon McKendry found that 56% of respondents who will watch will tune in as much or more for the commercials as for the game itself. And while nine in 10 viewers believe that TV is somewhat important for the best game day experience, 59% of 18- to 34-year-olds said the same about their computer: which means we expect an uptick in unique viewers streaming this year.
Every year a handful of ads win over audiences across the country. These ads will be the topic of conversation around virtual and real water-coolers the day after the game. And an even smaller group will make such an impact that they sneak into our cultural lexicon.
We’ve measured Super Bowl viral ad success since 2009, finding both surprising and expected winners. Last year, the big winner was Toyota’s “#WishGranted,” which had the most views of any campaign released before the game as well as the largest share of post-game views. In fact, automotive was the most viewed vertical sector for the Super Bowl; the day after last year’s game, six of the top 10 most viral brands were automotive companies.
A month later, five of the top 10 were still auto brands, although Samsung’s “Big Game”nudged Toyota out of the top spot.
And Volkswagen was the only auto brand to make the list of the 10 most viral Super Bowl ad campaigns in recent history, from January 2009 to January 2014. The No.1 most viral ad campaign was indeed Volkswagen’s “The Force,” from 2011, created by Deutsch Los Angeles, which generated a whopping 82.5 million views; Volkswagen made the list two other times. Doritos also made the list three times, as its wildly popular “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign wooed consumers in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Rounding out the list was another snack brand, M&Ms, with its 2012 “Just My Shell” campaign; Samsung with its "Big Game" campaign from 2013; GoDaddy with 2013's "Perfect Match, and E*TRADE’s “E*TRADE Baby” 2010 campaign, which came in last, no. 10, with 27.6 million views.
The importance of those campaigns also translates into our list of the most viral Super Bowl brands since 2009:
Most Viral Super Bowl Brands
So which brands will unleash the most viral Super Bowl ads this year?
Expect automotive to dominate the game once again. Toyota has already released a teaser for its campaign starring Terry Crews and some Muppets. And Super Bowl favorite Volkswagen dropped its teaser for a campaign that supposes a German engineer has created an algorithm for "the most successful Volkswagen ad." Meanwhile, Jaguar is looking to make a big splash this year in its first Super Bowl ad. The British brand started teasing its campaign in November. Directed by Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper, it’s slated to star a gaggle of favorite British villains.
Other interesting campaigns to watch out for this year include a battle between Greek yogurt brands -- Chobani and Dannon -- and a new campaign from Wonderful Pistachios starring Stephen Colbert.