Every year, some of the biggest (or, at least, spendiest) companies in America drop millions of dollars on a Super Bowl ad spot. For Super Bowl XLIX, a 30-second commercial will run you a cool $4.5 million.
The companies, of course, are banking on their high-production-value adverts reaching not only the massive TV audience on Super Bowl Sunday, but also millions more viewers in the following days. (In recent years, the most popular Super Bowl ads have essentially gone viral, leading to increased value for the advertisers.)
This year will be no different. Avid football fans and casual observers, alike, will share their favorite Super Bowl ads on social media after the game.
We already know which companies will be advertising in this year’s game. We also know that Unruly will be posting numbers on which ads were shared and mentioned the most on social media (in effect, determining which commercials were America’s favorites).
With that in mind, we set the odds on which advertisers are likely to emerge victorious on Super Bowl Sunday.
Which advertisers’ Super Bowl commercial will be the most shared/mentioned on social media?
Budweiser – Clydesdales/Lost Puppy (Odds: 3/2)
Budweiser’s clydesdales have been a staple of the Super Bowl for nigh three decades and they have been incredibly successful. This year’s ad will have something to do with the lost puppy Budweiser has been hyping in the lead-up to the game. Our research indicates that the internet likes puppies. By almost every metric, Bud’s “Puppy Love” ad was the most popular last year. This is the heavy favorite.
Kia – Pierce Brosnan (Odds: 9/1)
The South Korean car-maker is back with a high-quality commercial featuring a Hollywood icon. Last year, it was Laurence Fishburne; this year, it’s Pierce Brosnan.
This year’s self-aware ad features Brosnan being pitched a role (in the commercial itself), only he thinks it’s a part in an action movie. Brosnan, who is instantly recognizable yet no-longer an A-lister, is the perfect casting choice for the slightly-out-of-touch celebrity. This is a solid commercial which should gain traction (unlike your Kia).
Nissan – YouTube Celebrities (Odds: 10/1)
Nissan’s first Super Bowl commercial in almost 20 years will reportedly feature a host of YouTube celebrities. Know who shares things on the internet? Fans of internet celebrities (among others, of course). Whether this is a quality commercial or not, the fans of the various online icons will likely be sharing the video with zeal.
Doritos – Crash the Super Bowl (Odds: 15/1)
Once again, Doritos is crowd-sourcing its Super Bowl commercial, calling on amateur filmmakers to submit 30-second ads which fans will then vote on. A shortlist of ten has been created and the voting is well underway. Doritos’ system is pretty smart in that the victor will already have proven mass appeal. Last year’s “Cowboy Kid” commercial was a hit among people who voted on their favorite commercials, but it didn’t a commensurate number of social media shares.
Snickers – Danny Trejo as Marcia Brady (Odds: 15/1)
Snickers has released a teaser of its latest “you’re not yourself when you’re hungry” commercial. It features Danny Trejo angrily brushing his hair qua Marcia Brady, and promises a special episode of The Brady Bunch come Super Bowl Sunday. Based on the teaser, this ad may just be strange enough to cut through the noise.
GoDaddy – UNKNOWN (Odds: 20/1)
The domain-name giant was poised to air a commercial playing off of Budweiser’s lost puppy motif (which you can watch here), but it doesn’t look like they’re going that route anymore. What will the frequently controversial company come up with instead? Something that’s bound to capture your attention, one way or another.
GoDaddy has long been one of the most successful Super Bowl advertisers, but they aired some of the least effective commercials last year and need to rebound in 2015. We don’t expect the company would have pulled the puppy ad unless it had something equally clever up its sleeve.
Mercedes-Benz – The Tortoise and the Hare (Odds: 20/1)
Mercedes has incorporated the age-old tortoise and hare fable into its 60-second Super Bowl commercial. Instead of opting for his standard slow-and-steady pace, the tortoise guns it in an AMG-GT. The ad is both smart and stylish and could wind up with quite a few shares.
Bud Light – Real Life Pac-Man (Odds: 25/1)
Bud Light’s “Up For Whatever” series of commercials are generally terrible. They are all show and no substance. Moreover, they are getting stale. (Bud Light also ran an “Up For Whatever” ad last year.) That said, a grown man running around a giant maze dressed like Pac Man is going to garner some attention.
The fact that this commercial has higher odds than BMW’s (see below) is an indication of our lack of faith in humanity.
BMW – Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel Perplexed by the Internet (Odds: 30/1)
BMW’s Super Bowl commercial is for its new, all-electric i3 car. The ad is exceptionally clever. It features Couric and Gumbel being confounded by the concept of the internet in real footage from 1994. (“What is ‘internet’, anyway?” asks Gumbel at one point.) Jump to the present, and the pair are equally confounded by the concept of an electric car, instantly invoking the notion that the i3 could be a game changer.
The fact that the commercial is more clever than laugh-out-loud funny will hurt its shares, though.
Nationwide Insurance – Invisible Mindy Kaling (Odds: 50/1)
Mindy Kaling is funny. She was funny on the office, and her show, The Mindy Project, is funny. That said, The Mindy Project doesn’t get huge ratings and Kaling doesn’t have the mass appeal she deserves. This commercial – which sees Kaling under the mistaken belief that she is invisible – is more likely to be underappreciated that overshared.
Skittles – Small-town Arm Wrestling (Odds: 50/1)
Like Snickers, Skittles released a teaser of its Super Bowl spot. Sadly, Marshawn Lynch is nowhere to be found. Instead, we see a bunch of down-home folks with bulging biceps preparing to “settle” something. We assume this will culminate in – or at least feature – a massive arm-wrestling match. Is arm-wrestling popular? We shall see.
T-Mobile – Kim Kardashian (Odds: 75/1)
T-Mobile’s ad is a mock PSA in which Kim Kardashian appeals for people to “save the data” (by switching to T-Mobile and its new data rollover system). Kardashian has massive appeal, the commercial is chuckle-worthy, and data rollover is a good product; that said, this commercial will be overshadowed by the more ambitious spots with higher production values.
Victoria’s Secret – A Bunch of Lingerie (Odds: 100/1)
The underwear company will be airing a 30-second spot full of scantily clad women. Shocking. We’re sure it will be massively popular with the portion of the population that knows how to share videos online, but isn’t familiar with the massive amounts of pornography readily available for free on the internet.
The most popular Super Bowl commercials almost always have an element – if not a heaping spoonful – of humor or nostalgia. This one has neither.
The Field (Odds: 5/1)
We have neither the time nor the energy to preview every Super Bowl commercial, and there are some massive companies that we haven’t been able to get to, such as Toyota, McDonalds, and Pepsi (all of whom will have poured large sums of money into creating effective commercials). The field has a decent shot at taking home 2015’s “Most Popular Super Bowl Commercial” crown.
While every company wants to have the most popular Super Bowl ad, most would settle for beating their main rivals. Kia will want to out-do the other automakers, while Doritos will be aiming trump the other snack-tycoons. (It’s like how any football season at Michigan isn’t a complete disaster as long as the Wolverines beat Ohio State.)
On that note, let’s take a look at a few category-specific odds.
Which automaker’s Super Bowl commercial will be the most shared/mentioned on social media?
Kia – Pierce Brosnan (Odds: 5/2)
Nissan – YouTube Celebrities (Odds: 5/2)
Toyota – Amy Purdy (Odds: 3/1)
Toyota scored big last year with Terry Crews and the Muppets. This year, they’re going the heart-felt route with U.S. paralympian Amy Purdy. The company has shown a knack for Super Bowl advertising and could have another hit on its hands. But Kia and Nissan will be tough to beat.
Mercedes-Benz – The Tortoise and the Hare (Odds: 6/1)
BMW – Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel Perplexed by the Internet (Odds: 8/1)
Lexus – Make Some Noise (Odds: 50/1)
Lexus was one of the first companies to release its Super Bowl commercial. Not only will it be old news come Sunday, it’s also boring.
Which snack food company’s Super Bowl commercial will be the most shared/mentioned on social media?
Doritos – Crash the Super Bowl (Odds: 6/5)
Snickers – Danny Trejo as Marcia Brady (Odds: 6/5)
Skittles – Small-town Arm Wrestling (Odds: 4/1)
Which newcomer’s Super Bowl commercial will be the most shared/mentioned on social media?
Mophie – God’s Smartphone (Odds: 3/2)
Mophie will be advertising its portable smartphone charger. According to adage.com, God will be having cell phone issues in the commercial. Sounds funny enough. We’ll have to wait to see what the execution is like.
Avocados from Mexico – Jerry Rice and Doug Flutie (Odds: 5/2)
Avocados from Mexico enters the Super Bowl ad ring this year. Their 30-second teaser features Jerry Rice, Doug Flutie, a CGI rhinoceros, and not much else. Consider us skeptically intrigued.
Wix.com – Brett Favre’s Charcuterie Website (Odds: 3/1)
Wix.com is a web-development company that aims to streamline site creation. Its first-ever Super Bowl commercial features Rex Lee (who you know better as Ari Gold’s assistant on Entourage), Brett Favre (who you know better as a man with a penis), and a host of other NFL legends.
The commercial is cute enough, as Favre uses Wix.com to start a charcuterie website. But they really should have played up the Favre-showcasing-his-meat angle.
Carnival Corp – Fans’ Choice (Odds: 6/1)
Still trying to rejuvenate its image after the Triumph fiasco, cruise company Carnival is airing its first Super Bowl ad this year.
Carnival asked fans to vote on which of its four potential commercials should air during the Super Bowl. Like Doritos, this method ensures some mass appeal for the winner. However, voters were also tempted with free cruises for life. I wonder how many people voted without sitting through four whole commercials.
Jublia – Fungus Ointment (Odds: 50/1)
Jublia spent $4.5 million on a commercial for toenail fungus ointment. Ick. I wouldn’t share it, no matter how good it is, lest people think I have toenail fungus.
In the days and weeks after the big game, track the shares and mentions of the commercials above on sites like Unruly. Then come back and congratulate us on our excellent predictions/upbraid us for being way off.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.