The New England Patriots and their "love 'em or hate 'em" quarterback and coach are Super Bowl champions. Again. Their comeback win was one for the record books and one advertisers will appreciate after spending up to $5 million for their chance to reach most American households.
Super Bowl LI will go down as the fifth highest rated Super Bowl of all time with an average of 111.3 million viewers over the course of the game, according to Nielson. That's a touch behind last year (111.9 million) and the all time record of 114.4 million set by, who else, the Patriots in 2015.
But let's get to everyone's favorite part of the Super Bowl: the commercials. This year's time-outs were filled with ads that aimed to make you laugh or think, ads that focused on entertainment and surprise, and of course, ads featuring celebrity appearances. These days, a brand's strategy for engagement surrounding their commercial almost as important as the creative itself. This year saw a couple new strategies including social media contests, brand integration into the Fox broadcast and a live commercial.
Justin Bieber danced his way onto primetime television this year with the T-Mobile ad during the Super Bowl. The commercial, titled #UnlimitedMoves, takes viewers on a journey through the history of touchdown dances alongside New England Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski, and NFL 6-Time Pro Bowler, Terrell Owens. Bieber encouraged fans to get involved through his personal Twitter account:
This year, Super Bowl ads took on a whole new level of integration with the Fox broadcast. Rather than plaster a logo on screen during a break, Tide took the next logical step: a stain on Terry Bradshaw's shirt. Audiences were left wondering about the stain following a break from the game in which Bradshaw and Fox's Curt Menefee discuss the upcoming halftime show. They soon got their answer to #BradshawStain (it was barbecue sauce):
Finally, the moment many advertisers were waiting to see: a live Super Bowl commercial. Snickers presented Adam Driver in a frontier town - and the commercial immediately went off the rails. After all, you're not you when you're hungry:
The Super Bowl remains the undisputed champion of live TV. Yet, brands continue to find new ways to engage their consumers on their second screen as well - a lesson that will be valuable throughout the rest of the year as live TV consumption continues to decline.