It was an instant Coke advertising classic.
“Mean” Joe Greene, a star defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers throughout the ’70s, slowly made his way down the players’ tunnel when he encountered a kid who insisted on giving him a bottle of Coca-Cola.
After guzzling it down, Greene repaid the young man with the jersey he had been wearing. His iconic line: “Hey, kid—catch.”
The 1979 ad, which ran during Super Bowl 14, is still popular based on the 2.6 million views on this YouTube upload. This reinforces the fact that YouTube is the best advertising destination if your goal is generating awareness.
Which spot will capture hearts, minds, and views during Super Bowl 50 in February? And where will audiences see it first? YouTube or TV?
Pre-gaming the Audience
Many Super Bowl advertisers don’t even debut their commercials during the game itself; that’s happening days or weeks in advance on YouTube. Why? As a January 2015 “Think with Google” report indicates, “Commercials released on YouTube before they aired during the game drove approximately 2.5X more views on average than commercials that were released on game day.”
And that audience pre-gaming drives higher overall interest in Super Bowl commercials. Google says it sees a 14X increase in search interest during January for Super Bowl spots. Those searches add up to major minutes; Google says two years ago, YouTube viewers watched six-million hours of Super Bowl ads and teasers.
How Times Change
Back in the day, sharing the ad meant asking your friend, “Hey, did you see the commercial with the little kid and Mean Joe Greene?” If your friend hadn’t seen it, the only option was to sit in front of the TV to wait for it to return. (And don’t get me started on adjusting the rabbit ears so you could see it clearly. Google it, kids.)
Today, viewers would be tapping on their phones within seconds, finding the commercial on YouTube to share it, writing something akin to, “OMG! I can’t even! This is the best TV commercial evarrr!”
Shareability equates to free advertising. Can you ever go wrong with that?
Last year’s Super Bowl hit a high of 120.8 million viewers late in the game. Of course, millions of those viewers are in the Millennial demographic. But for advertisers that want to engage Gen Y members where they spend the most time, YouTube is the place. And according to Google, this doesn’t have to be an either-or proposition. In a study out this month, the company indicated that without spending any more budget, 46% of campaigns “would have benefited from a TV and YouTube combo, with an average increase in Millennials reached of 42% compared to TV alone.”
Turbocharge the Search Algorithm
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, behind only parent company Google. For that reason, brands do themselves a double favor when they put their ads on YouTube. They’re searchable, and can generate lots of earned views in the process. Ask video game developer Supercell about the importance of that. The company’s Clash of Clans Super Bowl ad, starring Liam Neeson, was the most-watched ad that ran during the game. To date, it has more than 88 million views.
In the War Room
There’s no shortage of military themes in football, and that inclination has spread to advertising on Super Bowl Sunday. Ad agencies and brands are tucked away in “war rooms” throughout the game to react in real-time to anything that might happen and is tweet-worthy. Remember the Oreos “dunk in the dark” tweet from a few years ago?
At AdParlor, we have a war room of our own, and we’re reacting in real-time to YouTube content that’s surging in popularity—like, for example, music videos from this year’s halftime entertainment, Coldplay. This means we’re ready—365 days a year, in fact—to inject our clients’ messages into trending videos. Plus, we do it in a brand-safe way.
Super Bowl commercials aren’t just playing out on the TV broadcast; they’ll also endure on YouTube—perhaps garnering millions of views for decades to come. And for those really creative brands, their classic ads might one day see new life: Coke re-ran the Joe Greene ad on NBC’s broadcast of a NASCAR back in September.
While the very ’70s music in that spot might have seen its best days, creativity never goes out of style.