Super Bowl Ads 2014: Bare-Chested Men, Beckham's Bod, and Beer Tweets

Your kids are invited to participate in this year's Super Bowl ads, where advergames, online video, branded websites, virtual worlds, and social marketing entice kids to become a part of the products being sold. By Caroline Knorr
Super Bowl Ads 2014: Bare-Chested Men, Beckham's Bod, and Beer Tweets

If you want your brand to get noticed at the Super Bowl, go small -- as in, screen size. Online activity -- shares, views, hashtags, posts, comments -- are the new measures of a Super Bowl ad's success. According to Unruly Media, the top 10 most shared ads from Super Bowl 2013 generated a total of 10.2 million shares across Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere. Of course, big, splashy TV commercials are still a driving force behind Super Bowl Sunday. What better way to get viewers to Tweet about your ad than with David Beckham's bare bod or Danica Patrick in a muscle suit?

Take a look at these examples:

The "Doritos Crash the Super Bowl" ad contest featuring homemade commercials (many with kids) has been seeking votes all over the Web (including kids' game site Addicting Games).

Super Bowl movie trailers (not age-appropriate for younger kids) -- from Transformers 4 to Amazing Spider-Man 2 -- have been running on YouTube, racking up likes and shares in advance of their releases.

H&M, featuring David Beckham, will let viewers with certain Samsung smart TVs use their remote controls to engage with the commercial and buy products from his Bodywear line.

GoDaddy presents Danica Patrick in a muscle suit running to a tanning salon with a cast of scantily clad bodybuilders.


Lots of these commercials are fun, and let's face it: they're a part of our cultural conversation. But they also make viewers -- and kids -- a part of the product-selling cycle. According to Common Sense Media's new white paper, traditional advertising and its effects on kids has been well researched, but no one knows the impact of these new-media platforms on kids. And the lack of research has implications for kids' health and well-being.

It's not only that many of the Super Bowl advertisements are for junk food, beer, age-inappropriate movies, and violent video games, it's also that the new marketing is insidious. Advertising to children and youth used to consist primarily of 30-second TV ads; now it includes product placements, immersive websites, advergaming, viral marketing, mobile ads, social-media marketing, and precise behavioral and location targeting. More than ever before, advertising and entertainment are inextricably linked. And when these ads are for products that aren't age-appropriate -- like this year' s Anheuser-Busch Bud Light ads -- it's really difficult for parents to manage kids' interactions.

These new methods mean that parents will have to re-strategize to help kids develop ad awareness. No longer can you simply hit the mute button during beer commercials or fast-forward through the Viagra ads. Now, teaching your kids to view media critically -- to understand what's being sold and what methods are used to sell products -- is an essential skill. With Game Day advertiser revenue climbing to $300 million, Super Bowl Sunday seems like the perfect time to start. Learn how to begin the conversation.

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About Caroline Knorr

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As Common Sense Media's parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids' media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you're wondering "what’s the right age for…?"... Read more
Do you think interactive Super Bowl commercials are harmless entertainment? Or, do you think they're bad for kids?

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