2014 Super Bowl Ad Roundup: The Winners and Losers

Well the football game was a bit of a let down. But what about the other game, the #BrandBowl, #AdBowl or whatever other hashtags people were using on Twitter? Social consensus is, it was a bit of a let down too. And there were a lot of brands that chose to make a splash on social media instead of shelling out the big bucks for a TV spot. Here are some observations:

Doritos. The snack food company has been pretty brilliant in recent years, outsourcing its Super Bowl creative with its Crash the Super Bowl contest. Anyone who wants can create an ad and submit it for consideration to Doritos. The two winners have a shot at a cash prize, and both get the opportunity to work on the set of the Avengers sequel. Not surprisingly, the two winning commercials were funny and refreshing. It also helped that they had cute kids in them. The Cowboy Kid was one of our favorites of the evening.

Cheerios. Cute kids win again. An interracial couple was featured in this spot, with the father pushing Cheerios across the table to his daughter, each representing a member of the family. And surprise! A new Cheerio (big brother) is on the way. The daughter furrows her brow and pushes a fifth Cheerio to the group, announcing, “And a puppy.” It was cute and heartwarming. Also one of our favorites of the evening.

Radio Shack. We love when brands are able to poke fun at themselves and their image. Such was the case with Radio Shack, when at the outset of the ad an employee gets off a phone and says “The ’80s called, they want their store back.” After that line, a bunch of iconic ’80s characters burst through the door and ransack the store. “It’s time for a new Radio Shack,” says the voiceover. Anyone who’s been in a Radio Shack store recently knows that that’s true.

Tide. This brand took a completely different approach to Super Bowl advertising this year, by staying off TV and instead running a Twitter campaign while making use of clever Vines. After many of the ads aired on TV, Tide tweeted a response Vine utilizing the hashtag #GetsitOut. The tweets were directed at the brands and were fun ways to communicate Tide’s message of being able to clean any stain.

J.C. Penney. This one was confusing. At the beginning of the game, J.C. Penney sent out what looked like drunk tweets, and generated a flurry of responses. Many assumptions were that the person in charge of tweeting was drunk, or that the account had been hacked (which is what we thought). It turned out, the stunt was on purpose and was intended to promote the company’s Olympic-themed mittens, using the hashtag #TweetingWithMittens. It’s clear the brand was trying to create buzz, and although it did, we think it was a miss.


Brand-to-Brand Interaction. One of the fun things to see during the #BrandBowl was the interaction brands had with each other, liked Snickers tweeting at J.C. Penney or Budweiser and Cheerios sharing a conversation (pictured below). It’s fun when brands interact, especially in a humorous way, but may Twitter users were noting that brands were talking to each other instead of consumers. Definitely a missed opportunity there.