#FAILFriday: Coca-Cola and the Super Bowl

By: Austin Jensen

This Sunday will be host to one of the greatest spectacles known to sports, the Super Bowl.  It is also a massive chance for some of the biggest brands in the world to be seen by millions.  The Super Bowl is no longer just a sport fans dream, it has become popular to almost everyone.  If you aren’t watching the Super Bowl for the actual football game, then you are probably watching for the amazing halftime shows, or the commercials.  This is the one time where people will not use their DVR, or TiVo to tape their show and then fast forward through the commercials, it is the exact opposite.  For this reason marketing and advertising teams will be given millions to spend on a 30 second time slot for the “big game.”


I don’t know about you, but to me that seems like a lot of pressure.  Everyone wants to see commercials that make them roll on the ground laughing, make their jaws drop to the floor, and even touch their hearts like they never believed possible.  For marketers, the approach to accomplishing this has changed rather rapidly in the last few years.  Not to long ago Super Bowl commercials were not worried about the immediate response.   Commercials were simply directed at driving sales for the company.  Things are different now, and most companies are catching on.  This Sunday you will probably see marketers seeking that immediate response from the enormous audience.  With social media being so powerful, brands need to be able to engage the audience right from the start and throughout the ad.  One slip up and your commercial could get ripped apart all over Twitter.

This brings us to our topic for this week’s Fail Friday, “Coca-Cola and the Super Bowl.”  Now, I would like to begin by saying that I love Coca-Cola commercials, especially the ones with the polar bears.  I think that Coca-Cola does a great job each year at engaging their audience, and they are a company that never falls short when it comes to the Super Bowl.   Last year Coca-Cola ran an amazing commercial where different groups of people were racing toward an enormous bottle of Coke in the dessert.  At the end of the commercial it asked the millions watching the Super Bowl to make a prediction on which group of people they thought would end up winning this race by going to CokeChase.com.  Check it out for yourself:

The commercial was very well done and had the right idea for driving immediate engagement from audience members, but there was one flaw that Coca-Cola seemed to overlook.  They did not have the infrastructure in place to accommodate the millions upon millions of people who instantly flooded the website.  People were forced to wait for pages to load, which let’s be honest, nobody has the patience for these days.  Many simply chose to give up and move on.  People even took to Twitter and other social media platforms to either vote or complain about the website they were told to go to.  So to sum this up, Coca-Cola had a brilliant idea to drive engagement in real time and they had a fantastic to commercial to do that, they simply did not back it up.


I predict that we will see more of these engaging commercials than ever this year.  I hope that companies can learn from Coca-Cola’s mistake, and be fully prepared.  All brands who have paid millions for their 30 seconds to 1 minute of fame better be functioning on all cylinders.  People ARE watching, and people WILL respond.  It is just the way things are now.  As long as viewers can engage quickly and easily, you better believe that they will.  Not only should companies be ready on their personal websites, but they need to make sure they are ready for an influx of interaction on all of their social media channels.  I think that what marketers are doing is great and genius at the same time, and I feel like this year is going to be flawless!

What do you think about Coca-Cola’s mistake?  Who will have the best commercial this year?  Let me know what you think with any questions or comments!

Hey everyone, “Are you ready for some football!?”

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