What 110 Million Viewers Gleaned from CBS

Posted on: 02/4/13 10:32 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Some might wonder why 110 million worldwide viewers gathered yesterday to watch a game, which, when the guys with the pencil protectors finish their calculations, will probably turn out to be the most-watched TV show in U.S. history.

Maybe it was the unique matchup of two teams, one from each U.S. coast, who barely scraped wins from some of the closest and most challenging championship games in years.

Or maybe… it was the commercials.

Americans love Super Bowl Sunday, an American holiday of sorts. I’ve shared my theories on why. But it’s undeniable that this television event is one where people actually want to watch the ads. Maybe that’s why these spots sell for $4 million for just 30-seconds.

This year, I had two favorites. I can’t tell you which is my No. 1, because I loved them both for different reasons.

My favorite funny ad had to be the Doritos ad, “Goat for Sale.” This little 30-second ad was hilarious, memorable, and actually made you remember the brand advertised. That’s a lot of bang for your buck… er… your 4 million bucks. Check it out:

But the sentimental side of me (or as my wife would call it, “the woman in me”) loved Anheuser-Busch’s heartwarming spot, “Brotherhood,” showing the raising and training of a young Clydesdale horse that is sold to Budweiser, only to be reunited with his former trainer for just a few seconds years later.

Yes… I cried.

This spot was the No. 1 spot of the day, according to Ad Meter, winning by a nose. Check it out:

USA Today posted all the best commercial videos, clickable and ready to watch, in order of popularity on this page, or you can view the whole list here.

My Soapbox
Let’s be honest. Watching TV is becoming a struggle for many parents today, regardless of religious belief, because when you sit down to watch a show as a family, you hope to not have to leap across the couch and cover little Josh’s eyes.

Yesterday was probably a pleasant experience overall for parents, but they definitely grew nervous a few times, like when the GoDaddy ad featuring gorgeous model Bar Refaeli began. But unlike previous years, where GoDaddy admittedly used eye-candy, this year they just used… awkward?

CBS definitely aired a few ads that made parents squirm in their seats: the racy Carls Jr. ad—sexy girl eating a burger, or perhaps the Gildan shirts ad where the guy wakes up Hangover-style in furry handcuffs and wants his shirt back from the girl lying in the bed. Maybe we should celebrate that ads like this ad for PornHub didn’t make the cut this year.

I think one of the most obvious ploys used by television networks over the years is the attempt to lure viewers to watch the program immediately following the Super Bowl. Often, networks use low hanging fruit like eye-candy or raunchy humor to entice viewers. (Did you notice the commercial for CBS shows where they advertised, “irresponsible”? I guess that’s a marketing draw now.) This year, CBS showed a special episode of their new show Elementary, usually airing on Thursday nights. As the show began, two girls in lingerie seduced Sherlock Holmes and tied him to a chair. I’ve seen this show numerous times and it’s never used this tactic before. I guess CBS had to bet “all in” if they were to try to win those Super Bowl viewers.

INSERTED NOTE: To those who are wondering why I decided not to even cast any opinion about the Super Bowl halftime show this year: Why? Because it was exactly what people should have expected. Beyonce always dresses like that, she always dances like that, and America, in general, embraces her, seeing no problem with her onstage antics. Celebrities who dress modest are actually the exception today. The most innocent of our daughters’ role models dress slutty, and our girls are learning that’s it’s readily acceptable to dress slutty. It’s a wonder why parents are sitting around scratching their heads wondering why our teenagers act the way they do at school dances. Our girls are slowly becoming sexualized; I’ve blogged about this countless times. So if you found the Super Bowl halftime show surprising… my only response is… where have you been? If you found the Super Bowl halftime show sad… my response is… good! You just saw a glimpse of the kind of entertainment media our kids are simmering in daily.

So my simple advice to parents is twofold: co-viewing and dialogue.

Don’t let your kids watch TV by themselves. Do what the AAP recommends and watch TV with them. I would go further and recommend recording shows with a DVR so you can use my three-button approach to watching TV with your kids, opening doors of opportunity for dialogue. Yes, dialogue, not monologue. In other words: don’t lecture, but ask questions. After seeing a guy waking up from a one night stand wearing furry handcuffs, ask your teenagers some questions,

“So what do you think this commercial is saying?”

“Is it telling the whole story?”

If you keep up on youth culture, like when you need my new Youth Culture Window article about teenage binge drinking I’ll be posting this weekend (sign up to receive these articles in your inbox HERE), you can even cite a recent study and ask your kids’ thoughts about the truth on the subject.

Bottom line: don’t let CBS determine what’s okay and not okay for your kids to watch. Walk along the road with your kids having these conversations, equipping then to make good choices when they are on their own.


What iTunes Reveals about Teenagers

Does My Daughter Dress Slutty?

Consuming Music… (Do the Lyrics Affect Me?)


6 Replies to “What 110 Million Viewers Gleaned from CBS”

  1. Very interesting take. I honestly don’t remember seeing the goat commercial, and barely remember the “fuzzy handcuffs” commercial. I thought that the majority of the commercials were pretty lame, at best. We got 10 second snippets of trailers for Iron Man 3 and the new Star Trek movie, and a couple of pitiful excuses for attempts to pull heartstrings with the Budweiser and Dodge commercials (both of which I found a little patronizing). The only commercials I actually liked were the Doritos spot where the guy played dress-up with his daughter (which ANY dad should do, whether there are Doritos involved or not) and the cars.com (I think) spot with the wolf pup. For me, everything else was as pointless as the halftime “show.” And please, I beg you….don’t even get me started on that LOL.

  2. Jonathan,
    i thought that the commercials were a bit less humorous, a bit less entertaining and a bit less racy than in years past – not that they didn’t have their moments. more than the commercials, one lasting impression that stuck with me long after the game was over was that of the halftime entertainment. As soon as Beyonce took the stage i was wondering if i wasn’t seeing a victoria’s secret commercial by mistake. the whole performance looked like one giant wardrobe malfunction. i know she does a lot of dancing on stage and she needs some kind of outfit that doesn’t hinder her moving around but honestly she looked like she was wearing nothing more than lingerie. here we have a successful, iconic and influencial entertainer on perhaps the biggest stage in entertainment and what message does she send to all the young woman watching the show? that woman are nothing more than sex objects to be lusted after? that if you dress sleezy and dance seductively you too will be the center of attention? that your value as a woman can only be measured by your ability to arouse members of the opposite sex? i think beyonce is a beautiful lady but somebody’s gotta tell her that sleezy insn’t pretty! our young women deserve better.

    1. Yeah, that halftime show was exactly what I expected it to be. Sadly, if our kids watch the “guest performances” at American Idol, SNL, the Grammys, the MTV awards, etc… that’s exactly what you get everytime with Beyonce. And we wonder why our kids dance provocatively at school dances.

  3. I am quite disappointed in your commentary for leaving out the most racy moment of the evening – the half-time show. My 17 year-old son came in the room in the middle of it, looked at my husband and I in shock, and asked, “Really?” I repeatedly thought I was watching a strip show with missing poles. Beyonce never even sang – she just yelled into the microphone a few times. I guess her “dancing” left her too breathless to voice her signature number at the end. If you’re going to nitpick about a flash of handcuffs and the word, “irresponsible,” and leave out the half-time show, you’re losing credibility.

  4. I did not get to see halftime or the 2nd half of the Super Bowl. Our church is kind of “crazy” and still has Sunday night services and I was preaching so I had to pay attention! Sounds like some of the ads were excessive as usual, the Go Daddy ad made me think it must be okay to bully and make fun of awkward people (until they are your boss someday making millions selling websites on Super Bowl ads). As far as Beyonce, the pictures and replays I did see confirm what she is about and I still can’t believe she was asked to sing the National Anthem in close proximity to a Bible. Thank you for pointing out how bad “normal” can be.

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