Prepare Yourself for the Big Game, and for Big Ads

It’s that time of the year again! This Sunday, Super Bowl fans will settle in front of their over-sized flat screen TVs, snacks in hand, and enjoy the biggest sporting event of the year. Except not all fans tune in just for the game – a large chunk of viewers said that they are even more pumped up for the commercials.

Marketers nationwide intend to capitalize on the estimated 78 percent of viewers who are more excited about the commercials than the big game itself. An average of 114 million people watched the 2015 Super Bowl, which indicates dollar signs in most brands’ eyes as they attempt to get almost half of America talking about their expertly crafted TV spots.

Every year we wait for the hilarious/out-there/emotionally moving ads. This year is no different as early released teasers have the PAVLOV team more than anxious about which ads will go viral this Sunday. Here’s a sneak peek at a few that caught our eye:

Much to everyone’s dismay, Bud Light has decided to abandon their string of adorable puppy commercials for the 2016 Super Bowl (cue Heinz’s wiener dog spot to fill the void). How will Bud Light’s new campaign compete with their “Puppy Love” TV spot, which was the most shared ad of 2015? Bud Light’s answer: Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen. Admittedly, if anyone were up for the task it would be these two over-the-top comedians.

On par with other big brands, Bud Light is taking the celebrity route this year, with Schumer and Rogen joining Bud Light’s campaign “The Bud Light Party is Coming”. The catch is, the party is made political as Schumer and Rogen are portrayed as Bud Light Party campaigners. The idea is that, while people may disagree on politics, everyone can rally behind Bud Light. Some light political humor might be the perfect way to encourage America to get on the Bud Light bandwagon.

For being the biggest e-retailer in the United States, it is hard to believe that Amazon will be making its first-ever debut on the Super Bowl stage. With a new product on the market, the Amazon Echo, the brand seeks to sell itself as more than just a same-day-shipping wizard. The commercial features the voice-controlled virtual assistant called “Alexa” helping Alec Baldwin and Dan Marino prepare for an epic Super Bowl party.

However grand Baldwin and Marino’s party may be, Amazon only has one chance to make a first impression. Unfortunately, the brand plays it safe with their 2 30-second spots, and there’s very little subtext as to what the Amazon Echo actually is. Let’s hope that the commercials generate enough interest for Super Bowl fans to set down their snacks long enough to Google what this new gadget is all about.

Super Bowl 50 will mark the tenth and final year of Doritos’ campaign “Crash the Super Bowl”. It’s hard to believe that after a decade of using user-generated ads Doritos has decided to end their iconic Super Bowl campaign.

Crash the Super Bowl grants Doritos enthusiasts the chance to interact with the Dorito’s brand by giving them the opportunity to create a commercial, as well as vote on the winning ad. According to Jeff Klien, VP of marketing for Frito-Lay, “The Doritos brand created a whole industry around user-generated content… We were the only brand willing to take this risk year after year. We had no safety net.” The numbers prove that their risk has been well worth it.

According to Adweek, “Crash the Super Bowl” has received more than 32,000 submissions since the campaign began in 2006. The Crash the Super Bowl campaign produced advertisements that were in the top 5 USA Today Ad Meter every year for 10 years and finished in the No. 1 spot for 4 years.

The numbers don’t lie, and you can bet this campaign will be missed. Make sure to tune in and see which of the finalists get their spot to air – the PAVLOV team is betting on “Ultrasound” to win the big prize.

You can’t read a PAVLOV blog without a little dose of our insight. Here are a few trends we’ve noticed from this year’s Super Bowl advertisers:

Teaser spots

We shared some with you already, but more and more teasers have been coming out as the days inch forward. Brands will continue to release sneak peeks of their commercials to generate as much buzz before the big day as possible.


It should be a huge year for celebrities. When you are spending $5 million for a 30-second spot, it is easy to justify some of the funds to hire a known spokesperson. Look for the usual big names, but also anticipate some surprise appearances. Hello, Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen!

Digital games and activities

Brands will work hard to engage with consumers through online activities and other forms of two-way communication. Look for companies to use a number of varied methods to get viewers to use social media to continue the conversation. Also anticipate more hashtags than you can keep up with.

What brand/commercial are you most excited to see during the historic Super bowl 50?