Super Bowl Ad Meter

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The USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter is an annual survey taken of television commercials by the USA Today newspaper in a live poll during the telecast in the United States of the annual professional American football championship game of the National Football League. The survey, which started in 1989, uses a live response on a zero-to-ten scale (zero being the worst, ten the best) of focus groups based in McLean, Virginia, the newspaper headquarters and one (or more) site(s) around the country.

Background[edit]

The Super Bowl became the must-see event for advertisers during the third quarter of the telecast of Super Bowl XVIII on CBS, when Apple Computer debuted a one-time-only advertisement for their Macintosh computer titled 1984, directed by Ridley Scott. As the Los Angeles Raiders routed the Washington Redskins, 38-9, the Apple commercial, not the game, was the most-talked about item around water coolers the very next day. Since then, major advertisers have used the game, paying as much as seven figures (averaging US $4 million for one 30-second slot as of 2013, excluding production expenses) to showcase their work and generate buzz that many people tune into television's biggest event of the year just to watch the commercials, not just the actual game. For those reasons, USA Today started the Ad Meter, a poll that gives live responses per second of each commercial. According to the newspaper, ads by rule are limited to those shown during the game - from opening kickoff to the end of the game, excluding those shown at halftime or local commercials - are officially qualified for consideration in the Ad Meter survey.

A new element was added for 2012, as users of Facebook and those logging onto the USA TODAY website were involved in a second survey that lasted until February 7 at 6:00 pm US EST. The online element was added to the regular meter for 2013.

Past winners[edit]

Year Advertiser Ad Description
1989 American Express Actors Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey (both starring at the time on Saturday Night Live) go to the big game with credit cards - Lovitz with Visa, Carvey with American Express.
1990 Nike Various announcers (Harry Caray among others) call a multisport event with the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan and Bo Jackson.
1991 Diet Pepsi When Coca-Cola pulled a humorous ad in light of the First Iraqi war, Diet Pepsi scored big with Ray Charles and others singing their "You Got the Right One, Baby" jingle.
1992 Nike Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny (calling himself "Hare Jordan") go to Mars and team up to take on an evil basketball team fielded by Marvin the Martian, with the fate of Earth at stake. The spot served as the inspiration for the movie Space Jam.
1993 McDonald's Michael Jordan and Larry Bird play an outrageous game of H-O-R-S-E throughout Chicago for a Big Mac.
1994 Pepsi-Cola A lab chimp turns into a party animal at the beach after drinking soda.
1995 Pepsi-Cola A boy on the beach tries to suck the last drop of Pepsi out of a bottle with a straw, sucking so hard that the backlash pulls him through the straw and into the bottle. His little sister then yells, "Mom, he's done it again!"
1996 Pepsi-Cola A fictional Coke driver takes a can of Pepsi and the whole shelf of cans tumbles onto the floor in a simulated security camera footage, with the Hank Williams song "Your Cheatin' Heart" in the background. This commercial was chosen as the best ever ad in the twenty year history in a special survey of the previous poll winners in 2008.
1997 Pepsi-Cola Computer animated grizzly bears do their Pepsi-inspired version of the Village People's 1970s disco classic YMCA.
1998 Pepsi-Cola A skysurfer does aerial tricks with a goose, and they share a Pepsi afterwards.
1999 Budweiser Two dalmatian puppies are separated at birth, and one becomes the mascot of the Clydesdale-driven beer wagon.
2000 Budweiser Rex the Wonder Dog imagines chasing a Budweiser truck, only to blindly leap headfirst onto a mini-van.
2001 Bud Light Cedric the Entertainer's dream date is ruined when he accidentally shakes a pair of Bud Light bottles which explode all over his girlfriend.
2002 Bud Light A girlfriend entices her beau into bed with Bud Light, but he slides on the satin sheets and flies out the apartment window.
2003 Budweiser Spoofing the instant replay challenge rule, a real zebra reviews a disputed call, holding up a football game between Clydesdale horses. One of the two humans watching calls the "official" a jackass, while the other, apparently oblivious to the epithet, seriously responds that it's a zebra.
2004 Bud Light Two dog trainers outdo one another, until one dog bites the other trainer in the groin. This came in the midst of the aftermath of the controversial halftime show that year.
2005 Bud Light A frightened skydiver (Jonny Lee) making his first jump is enticed with a six-pack of beer, but it only makes the plane's pilot jump after it.
2006 Bud Light A guy stocks his refrigerator full of Bud Light, and to keep his friends from drinking it, he installs it on a turntable. However, the turntable rotates into the apartment next door, and the guys inside are extremely happy to see the "magic fridge" return, even to the point of worshiping it.
2007 Budweiser Computer-generated crabs idolize a cooler filled with Bud.
2008 Budweiser Paying tribute to the 1976 Academy Award Best Picture Rocky, a Clydesdale is inspired by a rather unusual personal trainer to become a member of the hitch team for the iconic horse-drawn wagon: its dalmatian mascot.
2009 Doritos In the first ever fan-generated commercial to claim top ranking, two men use a snow globe to grant their wishes. One throws it at (and breaks the glass front panel of) a vending machine and gets his wish for "free" Doritos. The other wishes for a promotion, but accidentally throws it at his boss's groin. The ad makers, Joe and David Herbert of Batesville, Indiana, won US $1 million in a promotion sponsored by Doritos owner Pepsico.
2010 Snickers Octogenarian performers Betty White and Abe Vigoda play tackle football.
2011
(tie)
Bud Light Dog sitting. A guy sits intelligent dogs with a refrigerator full of Bud Light, and gets the intelligent dogs to cater a party for him serving said product. In a last shot, the dogs are playing cards with the guy picking up after them.
Doritos A boyfriend teases his girlfriend's pug with Doritos, closes and stands behind a glass door, causing the pug to run towards him, the pug knocks down the glass door to be on top of the boyfriend and gets the Doritos. This ad, because of the tie, was awarded $1 million from Pepsico, the second time in three years an ad created by online users won.
2012 Doritos (panel; online) Another low-budget dog ad from Doritos won the creator, Jonathan Friedman (who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia), the third $1 million bonus offered by Pepsico in four years by having the owner of a cat bribed by his dog with a small bag of the sponsor's product in the panel voting. Cost of the ad was $20. The online winner, announced February 7, was another fan-made Doritos ad called "Sling Baby", created by West Los Angeles resident Kevin Willson. The ad featured 17-month-old Jonah Folk, who was used by his grandmother to steal a bag of Doritos from a boy who was taunting them with the bag. They achieved this by using the baby's chair as a slingshot. The prize money of $1 million was divided among cast and crew, including Folk's father, who worked on the special effects.
2013 Budweiser A Clydesdale is born. Three years later, the Clydesdales come to town. The owner has an emotional reunion with the Clydesdale born at his farm. (The real life foal was born eighteen days before the ad aired.) The ad is set to "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac.
2014 Budweiser A puppy from an adoption agency runs off to a farm to play with a Clydesdale horse. Every time he does that he goes back to the adoption agency. When he is adopted by a customer, the Clydesdales run out and take the puppy and the horse owner decides to keep it. The ad is set to "Let Her Go" by Passenger.

Multiple winners[edit]

  • Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser, Bud Light brands) - 13 (1999-2008, 2011, 2013-14)
  • Pepsico (Pepsi-Cola and Diet Pepsi drink brands, Frito-Lay Doritos) -10 (1991, 1994–98, 2009, 2011–12)
  • Nike - 2 (1990, 1992)

See also[edit]

  • Adbowl - A popular website with a similar system

External links[edit]