Ads for the pro-life organization “Focus on the Family” featuring college football star Tim Tebow and gay dating site ManCrunch earned some of the most pre-game buzz for their controversial subject matters.
Controversial Ad Obtains Buzz without Being Accepted
“Focus on the Family” earned 33.4% of total Super Bowl buzz in a two-month period ending January 31, 2010. ManCrunch achieved 6% of the total online buzz in that time, even though its commercial will not air during the Super Bowl after CBS declined to run it. Similarly, Pepsi was the second most discussed advertiser associated with the Super Bowl in the last two months, despite the company’s decision not to advertise during this year’s game.
Political Sites Generate Super Bowl Buzz
Even though the “Focus on the Family” ad earned the most pregame online buzz, 75% of it was not directly linked to the organization. Consumers instead often referred to it as the “Tim Tebow ad” or the “Tim Tebow pro-life ad” without directly mentioning “Focus on the Family.”
The emergence of hot-button social issues altered the landscape of where Super Bowl marketing is discussed. While online sports communities remained the primary driver of Super Bowl marketing dialogue, hosting 42% of pregame discussion, political message boards drove 21% of the pregame buzz. Entertainment sites drove another 18%, and in another non-stereotypical result, women’s sites generated 9%.
More Consumers Like Ads than Football
Slightly more consumers watch the Super Bowl for the ads than for the game itself, according to other recent Nielsen research. A slight majority of respondents to a survey on trends and effectiveness of Super Bowl advertising, 51%, said they like the commercials more than the Super Bowl itself. Forty-nine percent of respondents would rather watch the football action. Nielsen said this year’s Super Bowl held the potential to be a “marketing bonanza,” meaning advertisers had reason to pay close attention to what ads were getting buzz from where.