Super Bowl Ads = Visual vs. Audio

Super Bowl 51 is steadily approaching. Whether your team is playing, or was beaten by one of the teams playing, or didn’t even make the playoffs, you’ll be watching the game from a friends house, your house, or the bar.

Either way, you’ll be at a social gathering.

Well, advertisers know this. With all the chatter that comes from a large gathering, it will be hard to decipher what you’ll be hearing on TV.

Advertisements for Super Bowl LI will see a different approach to catching the attention of viewers.

During the regular season, most advertisements focus on audio.


Well, when the game cuts to a commercial break, most viewers (by today’s standards) are still on the couch with their gaze pointed at their phones. The focus on audio is meant to break that gaze so the viewers will look up at the screen.

Simple, right?

The mentality changes during the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl is known for the parties. Living rooms explode with chatter, people get up to grab their chips and dip, their buffalo wings, and their beer.  During commercial breaks, chatter increases significantly thus eliminating the option for an audio-based advertisement.

Nobody is going to look at the screen unless the ad is screaming at them, and although that might work for one or two selective advertisements, the rest will not be following suit.

How do you break the chatter? How do you, as an advertiser, create a spot that is more important to watch than listening to your neighbor discuss his trip through the cornfields of Nebraska?

Visual is key.

Already, we’ve seen some pretty interesting ads debuting before the big game.

Jon Lovitz with his hypnotic Mexican Avacado commercial:

Turbo Tax with their grotesque Humpty Dumpty spot:

Even Mountain Dew’s obscure ad from last year that gained a lot of buzz:

Puppymonkeybaby -Mountain Dew

These ads were effective due to their visual spectacles. They made the viewers react with confusion as well as intrigue.

The effectiveness of this years’ Super Bowl won’t come from what the ad is saying, but what the ad is depicting.

The objective is still to turn heads. With a different approach, we will see some really creative visual spots.