Tech industry uses the spectacle of the Super Bowl to launch products [video]
Yeah, I'm going to talk about Super Bowl ads, and will freely admit I'm a bit late to the party. I couldn't help coming away from the game feeling like more than just the football season had ended. Some of these tech ads felt like they marked the end of a long period of rumor-mongering for their products.
Best Buy's Buyback service got its first big exposure via a commercial. I talked about it in my last post so won't rehash it here, except to say Best Buy coordinated things pretty well. They sent out an email, launched the site and aired the ad all on Sunday. For as un-sexy a service as Buyback is, they did a good job trying to make a splash.
Of course the Motorola Xoom commercial aired. We all knew about the Xoom so it wasn't a big reveal to us geeks but to the general public it probably was. Motorola went high concept with this one and I'm willing to bet the average Super Bowl viewer had no idea what was being advertised. The ad was quickly followed by a Best Buy flyer being leaked to Engadget. The flyer says the Xoom will be available in Best Buy stores on February 24th for $799.99. Making it all feel a lot more official, Motorola's Xoom site went live during the Super Bowl as well. At this point all we have left to talk about when it comes to the Xoom is product reviews.
Next up, the Playstation Phone, or more properly the Xperia Play. This wasn't a national commercial. The ad aired during the game in parts of the country but here in the North East it was on during the post-game show. Another example of an ad that doesn't do a lot to convey what it is selling, though the last few seconds probably clue most people in. But the first reaction most people I talked to had was: "Gross!" Not sure that's the best message to put across. Anyway this ad too was followed up by confirmation of some earlier rumors. The Android phone will launch on February 13th at Mobile World Congress, according to Sony Ericsson's Facebook page. We can still speculate on launch dates for another six days, I guess, but we're close to wrapping up the 'speculation' phase of the Xperia Play.
This next one has nothing to do with rumors or speculation, but The Daily had a pretty good ad. Not super flashy but it did showcase the product. I guess it's not a stretch to have a News Corp product advertised on FOX but having an ad during the game still gave the new app some 'legitimacy' I think. Though I suppose the reputed $30 million News Corp spent developing the app should have already done that.
On the other hand, Chatter.com had a commercial that features a CGI version of Will.i.am showing us what a cool CGI life he leads. The ad left me very puzzled as to exactly what Chatter.com is. Turns out it's a private social network for companies, but I had to hit the website to learn that. Hopefully it does better than Yammer.com seems to be doing. I question the value of advertising a service like this during the Super Bowl; it isn't something individuals will be choosing and it won't impact many of our lives. I guess Salesforce.com has money to burn in their advertising budget.
Anyway I could go on and on; I just find it fascinating that a football game has become such a popular platform for introducing new tech (and a ton of other products) to the masses. I'd be very curious to know how much impact these ads actually have.