Very Different Super Bowl Predictions

There are lots of things I’m excited about regarding this year’s Super Bowl. There’s Eli Manning’s brother‘s big chance, more opportunities to watch the Bears’ 1985 “Super Bowl Shuffle” on hundreds of blogs, the fun times (and wings) with my family, and, of course, the commercials.

But not for the reason you might think.

Advertisers have been trying to get our attention with big-budget blockbuster commercials during the Super Bowl for years. The game of one-upmanship has been played more times than Janet Jackson’s halftime show on my friend’s TiVo. This year is different. What the Super Bowl will bring us this year will be talked about for years to come.

There Will Be Ridiculed Failure on a Massive Scale

At least one spot may not be ridiculed by consumers, but it certainly will be by the ad industry. For all the hype that’s built up around certain advertisers’ spots, at least one will fall very flat. It will be played (not to mention commented upon) ad nauseam on numerous influential blogs and, ultimately, in major publications. It will seem as if many spots’ strategies are all too similar (e.g., “solicited” spots from consumers). Some will inevitably not live up to the hype.

Online Parody Will Offer Weeks of Mileage

Certain spots will be completely ripe for online parody. Enterprising auteurs will have their way with them. Many spoofs of many spots will be created, but one spot will emerge as the most imitated. It may not seem to be the best thing for the brand, but the way that brand responds (or doesn’t) may actually improve audience perception.

Metrics-Driven Success Stories Will Abound

Many advertisers will issue press releases, grant interviews, and generally gloat about the their spots’ post-game performance: the traffic to Web sites that was generated and the number of views. The problem is lots of this data will be unfounded and inaccurate. Numerous advertisers will claim victory. But someone, at least one third party, will deliver a definitive, detailed report on spots’ performance after the Super Bowl. My money’s on one search engine or SEM (define) firm, and one video sharing Web site that will stand out from the rest.

GoDaddy.com Will Have a Top-Three Spot

At the end of the day, GoDaddy will still be responsible for one of the top three most-viewed spots online (and it won’t be its ad featuring Danica Patrick). As a matter of fact, GoDaddy’s most viewed ad may actually be the one that doesn’t air, the one that was killed by the censors. It might happen — especially if GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons has his way. I’m confident about this one; the safest predictions are usually the ones that involve men and scantily clad women.

The Most-Viewed Spot Won’t Be User-Generated

Commercials will air during this year’s Super Bowl that are created by ad agencies not named “You.” The most popular (i.e., most viewed) commercial online will ultimately be a professional, agency-produced spot.

There’ll Be No “1984” or “Mean Joe Greene” This Year

Every year, we expect more from Super Bowl commercials. Yet, the Super Bowl seems to become less important to advertisers each year. As online becomes a more pervasive (and more buzz-inducing) medium, as media consumption becomes more fragmented, as we begin to see steps made toward true convergence, advertisers (especially those new to the game) might feel it’s just not that important to spend $2.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime amid 47 minutes’ worth of commercials. In many cases, a video taking off virally on YouTube can generate more qualified exposure and conversation — for a lot less money to produce.

There you have it. My predictions for Super Bowl XLI. Let me know how many I got right. Oh, I almost forgot: Colts 23, Bears 20. It will come down to Adam Vinatieri. Again.

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