I am a sports fan. However, I don’t pretend to care about all sports equally. I will talk your ear off about Joakim Noah’s heart, hustle and muscle and my gutsy prediction that he will make the Basketball Hall of Fame, but my interest in other sports is more…fleeting
Here is a very scientific ranking of my level of caring for each major US sport:
2. College basketball
3. College football
6. Wii Sports
7. That skiing with tricks and jumps when it’s randomly on TV
*When the Olympics are on, sub that in for #1. USA! USA! USA!
As you see, the NFL is only #4, which means I’m familiar with most of the players on the Bears and know the big name dudes around the league, but I’m not going to pretend like I understand the strategy behind all the plays. I only learned what play action was in 2011, when it briefly became my favorite thing ever as executed by the Illini’s Nathan Scheelhaase—and then we lost six games in a row and I remembered what an idiot I am for caring about Illinois football.
That means while I certainly enjoy the Super Bowl, it’s not my favorite day of the year. (I won’t make you read my scientific ranking of holidays, but Independence Day is UP THERE.) However, I love Super Bowl parties. I very much enjoy unhealthy, homemade dips and finger foods, yelling at the TV and wearing comfortable, sports-themed clothing. The only thing that would make Super Bowl parties better if there was more of a focus on my favorite part of the big game—the ads.
As an advertising/marketing geek, I love Super Bowl ads. And I’m not alone in digging the ads over everything else. A recent study conducted by Lab42 found that 39% of viewers said the commercials were their favorite part of the game, followed by 28% who said the football part of the football game was the best. So for my ad-loving majority, I’m providing some tips to convert the traditional Super Bowl party into a Super Bowl ad party so we can get maximum enjoyment from those talking animals and babies.
1. Invite more ad nerds
I attended a Super Bowl party last year, and all the attendees were paying close attention…until we got to the commercials! Then it was a chatterbox convention in there. During the Clint Eastwood Chrysler commercial, there were so many Clint-Eastwood-is-old jokes that I couldn’t hear what his gravely voice was saying about America’s spirit.
The answer here is to carefully balance the number of football fans with ad lovers. I did not feel comfortable shushing a big pack of football people, but I would have totally stood up to them with more ad aficionados on my side. Or better yet—only invite people who you know are in it for the commercials. Then you will have blissful silence during the ads and plenty of time to make jokes during the game itself.
2. Quieter snacks
If you don’t have control over the guest list, then try to damper the second biggest source of noise: the gametime snacks. Sure, tortilla chips are delicious, but they make a LOT of noise when you mash them around in your mouth, and that noise is making it hard for me to follow this baby’s financial advice. As a handy substitute for chips, I suggest flatbread. And wings are quiet. Meatballs are quiet. Italian beef is quiet. Make meat the centerpiece of the Super Bowl meal, and you’ll be fat and happy, with a sonically excellent commercial viewing experience.
3. Scout the ads in advance
No self-respecting football fan would sit down to watch the Super Bowl without reading up on the teams and players, and neither should you. Business Insider and SpotBowl have both compiled handy lists of the participating advertisers so you can get familiar with the spots’ backstories and pick out favorites to root for. I’m on Team SodaStream.
Boost excitement for the spots by printing up scorecards and encouraging partygoers to rate each commercial on a scale from 1 to 10. It will be just like the USA Today ad meter, except with on-trend, vintagey paper instead of those newfangled dials.
To really immerse your friends in the commercial viewing experience, play a game of Super Bowl Advertising Bingo. Created by BatesMeron’s resident fun times expert Nina Altadonna, the Bingo card above will have your whole party glued to the commercials and cheering for The Rock to pop up. Winner gets the leftover quiet times meat.
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