Consumers, creatives and even advertising characters gathered Sunday night at virtual Super Bowl chat parties set up specifically to discuss the commercials in real time. And while the sheer volume of reactions made it difficult to gauge a consensus opinion, there were some clear winners and losers among the ads -- and a general feeling that the spots, by and large, underwhelmed.
At least three separate large discussions sprang up concurrently on Twitter, grouped under different hashtags. The major ones, #superads09 and #sb43ads, were swamped with messages all night, each receiving several hundred posts per minute.
Instead of live-blogging the spots, which has been customary in recent years, several big advertising blogs chose to stream the Twitter chats -- a step forward in creating a convivial, communal forum for live, on-the-fly Super Bowl reviews.
Adweek organized its own Twitter chat at #superadfreak09, featuring seven creative directors and two Adweek writers, and simulcast that discussion on Adweek.com and AdFreak.com.
In terms of the work, Pepsi's "Refresh Anthem" spot got an enthusiastic reaction early in the game from consumers and creatives alike. Among the other ads that seemed to do well: Doritos' snow-globe spot, Pedigree's "Crazy Pets," Monster.com's moose ad, Hulu's "Alec in Huluwood," E*Trade's two talking-baby spots, Denny's "Serious" and CareerBuilder's "Tips."
The latter particularly impressed Adweek's group. Todd Grant of Cole & Weber United, Peter Nicholson of Deutsch, Patrick O'Neill of TBWA\Chiat\Day, Erich Pfeifer of Venables Bell & Partners and Eleftheria Parpis of Adweek all picked CareerBuilder as the best ad of the night.
Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light offerings largely fell flat among the Twitterati, and reactions were mixed on the Budweiser Clydesdale series. The GoDaddy commercials with Danica Patrick drew some particularly vocal animosity, with a number of people referring to the company as "Go Away Daddy."
Coke Zero's remake of "Mean Joe Greene" generally failed to impress. And the 3-D efforts of DreamWorks and SoBe mostly prompted a flurry of grousing from people who hadn't picked up the glasses.
David Armano of digital agency Critical Mass, author of the Logic + Emotion blog and a top Twitter user, was a fixture on the #superads09 chat throughout the evening. He chose Pepsi's Bob Dylan spot as the most memorable. Asked by AdFreak at the end of the night to sum up the commercials in a single Tweet, he replied: "import cars, talking flowers, punched koalas, generations, bad remixes, moose asses, boobs, + babies."
Several brands that advertised on the game joined the Twitter chats to stoke the fires before and after their commercials aired -- and to get feedback from viewers. Pepsi's PepSuber, the SoBe lizard and the E*Trade baby were among the ad characters who joined the party, posting with their own Twitter accounts. (After his second ad aired, the E*Trade baby wrote: "Best ads are behind us, headed to the bathroom. Ahhhh.. That's better.")
As the game drew to a close, viewers generally seemed to agree that the ads could have been better. As guiltyofcraving wrote: "not as good as last year, lots of hype, not a lot of follow through. A few surprises, but generally uninspired." Also, of course, the ads may have suffered in comparison to the game itself, the second straight Super Bowl with a classic finish.
When the Cardinals took the lead late in the fourth quarter, the general good humor at all of the Twitter parties suddenly turned to palpable excitement, something that was missing for big stretches of the evening. As LizardSoul wrote: "Yay!!! At least this makes up for the ads!"
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