Years ago, only a few ad trades and USA Today would weigh-in on which Super Bowl ads were well-received, successful and effective. Now, with the Internet and social media being an essential free-for-all, everyone and their mother weighs in with previews, rankings, thoughts, reviews and post-mortems.
However, a quick look at a smattering of the major reviews, polls and top 10 lists, won’t reveal an intriguing sleeper ad among this year’s Super Bowl advertisers – one for YouTubeTV. Yes, YouTubeTV opted to advertise on the world’s biggest stage this year. They didn’t include any celebrities (except for a background track by Dua Lipa), gags, babies or horses, just two simple messages – “70+ Channels” and “free” they hoped would resonate with America.
While launched in February 2017, the service has been a somewhat slow build over the past three years, and arguably may have been a tad confusing of an offering to a majority of consumers who are used to typical YouTube fare. In that time, they have added major partnerships, boasting more than 70 marquee channels and can now claim to be a viable streaming player, including for live programming.
As a business, of course, YouTube overall is killing it. Just last week, it announced (as a portion of its parent Alphabet’s overall revenue) that, on its own, it topped $15 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “b”) in annual revenue in 2019. However, clearly, YouTube could not ignore the massive opportunity to tackle the white-hot streaming industry head on. Hence, it makes perfect sense for them to go mass with a Super Bowl ad. And they did it intelligently – no frills, gimmicks, just the clearest message to the American people – streaming video content, live TV, ease of use, and a cloud-based DVR service. Hmmm, sounds like one more reason for consumers to cord-cut.
Let’s hope for their sake that it didn’t go entirely unnoticed.