This was one of those rare years when the Super Bowl game outshone the Super Bowl ads, declared CMO.com. The declaring was actually done by my friend Constantine von Hoffman.
Kid care took me away from the TV, and hence the Super Bowl, at the end of the first half. That means I missed what seems to have been an excellent second half. On the bright side, it means that I was spared the BEP’s halftime show.
As for the ads, consensus seems to be that they came in second place, behind the game and ahead of the BEP. I’d seen the Darth Vader VW ad before the game, thought it was great, and even enjoyed seeing it again.
Then there was that other ad that got a strong reaction: the Tibetan Groupon ad. It struck me as clumsy more than anything else. I think that reasonable people (e.g., Marshall at RWW) may differ on this.
For the most part, the ads simply weren’t interesting. I’m glad that the game was.
Hulu is a web site where you can watch TV shows, and some other content. It is free and ad-supported. It was one of the web success stories of 2008. Like many legal sources of content on the web, it violates the spirit of the “world wide web” by being unavailable to much of the world.
So Hulu, the web site where you can watch TV shows, ran a TV ad during the Superbowl. It was one of the more highly-rated Superbowl ads this year (sources for this include Fred Wilson), and so many people will want to see it.
Now, it would make sense for Hulu to make it easy for people to watch its ad. In fact, Hulu has a gallery of all the Superbowl ads. Perhaps it is to Hulu’s credit that its own ad doesn’t seem to be particularly prominent in the gallery. But that’s another way of saying that Hulu puts up barriers to its own ad.
So if you go to Hulu.com in order to watch the ad the web site paid to run on TV, you have to first watch… a regular ad. That’s if you are allowed to watch the Hulu ad. If you’re outside the Hulu zone, you won’t be able to watch the ad.
I know that there are contractual restrictions on making content available across borders. But it would make sense for Hulu to not impose such restrictions when the content is its own ad. You can see more at Erick’s TechCrunch post. The “more” includes the Hulu ad itself… but of course, people in the USA will see an ad before the ad, and most people outside the USA won’t see much of anything.
By the way, I think that the Hulu ad is pretty good. “They say TV will rot your brain. That’s absurd. TV only softens the brain, like a ripe banana” is one of Alec Baldwin’s better lines. The Superbowl itself wasn’t bad either.