Bow your heads, folks. Let’s have a moment of silence for the end of an era— that of Monday-morning quarterbacking. How antiquated it seems to have to wait until the game’s guacamole dip has browned to share key takeaways about the ads. I cut my teeth as a copywriter at Sports Illustrated and laugh to think how woefully late reader response to the Super Bowl showed up in our pages.
Now consumers can talk back in real time (or as social media brand consultant Gary Vaynerchuk quips, “Now the deer have rifles”). And nothing has quite the rat-a-tat-tat impact of a tweet. Of the 20.9 million Super Bowl-related tweets sent during last year’s game, nearly 30 percent were about the ads.
And who’s posting and sharing the most? You got that right—women.
Increasingly, brands are making it a priority to connect with female consumers on Super Bowl Sunday for solid business reasons. Consider these stats: According to Nielsen demographic data, 46 percent of the Super Bowl viewing audience is female, and more women watch the game than the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys combined. She-conomy.com reports that women influence the majority of consumer spending across all categories, and onlineMBA.com published a report that found women comprise the majority of Twitter users (59 percent). Finally, women out-tweet men by 60 percent, per a study of 1,000 British Twitter accounts by Brandwatch.
If all these stats had to be mashed up in one tweet, I’d sum them up with these 140 characters: Women watch equally, buy + share in greater #s than men on Super Bowl Sunday. Ads with female appeal = best return on $4 million price-tag.
So what do women who make ads for a living think about the $4 million Super Bowl spots? On Feb. 2 the world will find out. I’ve invited female advertising creative directors and creatives on both coasts to gather at two host agencies—Hill Holliday in Boston and The Hive in San Francisco—to watch the big game and live tweet their opinions of the commercials. Hundreds more ad women across the country will add their voices to the mix by live tweeting using the hashtag #3percentsb. Some of the participating creatives include DeeAnn Budney, The Hive; Kelli Robertson, Goodby, Silverstein; Kammie McArthur, Swirl; Sue DeSilva, Hill Holliday; Libby DeLana, Mechanica; Alyssa Toro, Connelly; Helen Keighron, Mullen; Jenn Maer, IDEO; Christine Pillsbury, Beam; Libby Brockhoff, Odysseus Arms; Jen Putnam and Melanie Nayer, SapientNitro; Lotus Child, Liquid; and Rebecca Rivera of The 3% Conference.
Of course, men are encouraged to follow along too and retweet and chime in with their own hashtag #admen.
This will be the third year I’ve personally live-tweeted responses to the ads, and, frankly, I just got tired of shushing friends and family during the commercial breaks. It will be so much more fun to invite other female creatives to bring their phones, laptops and sardonic wit and humor to call out the good, the bad and the ugly Super Bowl spots the creative ad community has to offer.
Sadly, so far the track record of the work has been pretty degrading in their depictions of women. In 2013 we saw waitresses turned strippers, scantily clad women tackling each other in the dirt, and a supermodel sloppily kissing a computer programmer.
Those were the major marketing fumbles of the day. Not only were these ads off-putting to women, but many men also tweeted their wish for something other than lowest-common denominator creative. And the old adage that “sex sells” is being refuted with research that says that brand recall dips when the brain is busy processing ta-tas.
This year will be full of new surprises. Pinning all your hopes on a 30-second spot that sets you back $4 million is the ultimate Hail Mary pass.
My female creative director comrades and I are eager to see who completes it.