Bor-ing! Super Bowl Ad Sharing Off By 29% This Year, Unruly Reports

Anybody else out there think the Super Bowl ads this year seemed a little meh? 

Well, you’re not alone. A new report from Unruly Media being released today shows that most of those super expensive commercials failed in at least one regard—consumers didn’t rush to share the spots online with friends and neighbors, even though many of the clever ads were released prior to the game and gave a window for consumers to spread the good works.

Unruly says ad sharing overall declined by 29% from the Super Bowl a year before, an awesome decline that has got to make some advertisers wonder what they’re doing wrong.  

There were a few exceptions to the Super bust, mainly Budweiser. Altogether online sharing was down 24.2% for the first quarter, with the Super Bowl being the big drag on the overall number. (On the plus side that seems so much less newsworthy because it’s not very alarming at all, overall sharing has increased 22% over the last year, Unruly says.)



What is going on here?  Unruly, which is in the business of measuring and predicting video sharing and advising clients how to get it, is preparing another report that takes a deeper dive into that question.

It gives a few tentative hints: Auto advertising, once the belle of the ball on Super Bowl Sunday, cooled off considerably this year.  Altogether, auto ad video shares declined 45.8% from the quarter before, in large part because a lot of car ads in the Super Bowl were non-sharing-starters, to coin a term we should crush right now.

For example, consider the clever spot for Jaguar, that started with the question, “Have you ever noticed how in Hollywood movies, all the villains are played by Brits?” and featured actor Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong. 

It seems laudatory, but, says Unruly, banking on famous faces won’t trigger the video sharing impulse like a good emotive story line.  If there’s a larger life-message in there, I don’t know. Unruly points out while the star power is cool, so was the reaction. Its 1.7% share rate “fell short of the mark,” the report said, in a bit of British understateness.

In broad strokes, movies still are a comfortable fit in the video sharing category—lots of action, famous faces, maybe some laughs—but in the first quarter, movie campaigns that succeeded veered a little bit. The most shared video was for a prankvert, titled Devil Baby Attack.  promoting the movie “Devil’s Due,” from 20th Century Fox. (If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth it. The ad, I mean.) The next was a promotion for Warner Bros’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - I See Fire,” basically a music video of Ed Sheeran singing the theme song.

But we’ve gotten off track: The news is that Super Bowl shares have declined, which if it continues unabated risks week’s worth of easy-to-write stories before the game speculating about the ads, and days of stories afterward, in which scribes monitor viewer reaction. So yes, it’s an advertising problem, but also a potential journalistic catastrophe.

A bright spot for Super Bowl ad fans was the Budweiser - Puppy Love spot, the kind of emotion-manipulating commercial that little dogs and big Clydesdales can create. But, certainly, besides pets and corporate horse mascots, the emotive well can’t be dry, can it?

There’s another Super Bowl coming, and the news from this Unruly report is—better get with it, ad folks. Consumers aren’t required to do your word-of-mouth work for you, and I get the feeling millions of Americans are looking for an excuse not watch the game. Boring ads seems like a good exit strategy.


3 comments about "Bor-ing! Super Bowl Ad Sharing Off By 29% This Year, Unruly Reports".
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  1. Jon Burk from roker creative media, April 24, 2014 at 2:20 p.m.

    Have they taken into account two things? (1) This year's Superbowl sucked. It was over after the play. Did they measure a correlation between viewership and social engagement? (2) Last year's Superbowl was not only a good game but also featured a blackout that lead to HUGE social engagement (Hello, Oreo!). Apples to Apples - there is no comparison with 2013 to 2014 unless these two variables are added in.
    Follow me: @MrJonBurk @rokercreative

  2. Jon Burk from roker creative media, April 24, 2014 at 2:21 p.m.

    Meant to say, it was after the first play. (we actually did tune out)

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 24, 2014 at 7:17 p.m.

    One aspect of many: The more millions the ads cost, the more pressure on the creative on up and much focus can be lost just on this one branch.

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