Thought Leadership
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The game within the Big Game - Super Bowl Bingo:

Tim Dodd
3rd February 2017

The Super Bowl is officially the most-watched event in America, with an average of 112 million U.S. viewers tuning into last year’s game at any given time. If you’re a marketer, that’s 224 million eyeballs on your ad, so it’s no wonder that brands typically bring their A-game (and their marketing budgets) to the commercial break.

With brands prepared to pay $5 million for a 30-second spot, and some viewers skipping the game altogether but still tuning in for the commercials, the stakes are high on game day. Since Anna and I are the two token American interns at Mediablaze, we felt it was our duty to give you the inside scoop on what to expect from this Sunday’s sporting extravaganza– including the ad tropes and conventions that crop up year after year.

Celebrate the Super Bowl like Yank

So if you want to celebrate the Super Bowl like a Yank, listen up. Gather your friends and family into one room, choosing a location based on who has the biggest telly and the best sound system. Make sure all sofas are pointed at the screen, and don’t be so British worrying about your guests getting along– that’s why you fill the fridge with beer and enough salty snacks to soak up the tension.

With the essentials in place, you’re ready to kick back and watch the ads. All you need to do is print out the bingo cards, enjoy the commercials, and prepare for a heated competition. From beers and Clydesdales to talking babies, there are many notorious commercial themes that seem to come back year after year. If any of these themes need clarification, check out our footnotes. The first person to get five in a row wins the game, a prize of your choosing, and of course, bragging rights.

To download your bingo boards, click here.


Footnotes for the commercial clichés

Clydesdale + Puppy = Budweiser

Budweiser is onto a winner with its ad series starring puppies and Clydesdales – will they return in 2017?

Shirtless person

Cheap marketing trick? Sure, but at $150k for a second of advertising it’s anything goes.

Cute animals

People love cute animals and advertisers know it. Thus, you will see many ads that incorporate little, furry creatures to sell a product that actually has nothing to do with animals.


Many brands are looking to target this video consuming generation, and they are often featured in the ads as well.

Brand slams their competitor

Only the most daring of brands will directly take on their competitors during their commercial airtime.

Award shows

Oscars, Emmys, and BAFTAS... Be on the lookout for a commercial or reference to one of these upcoming events.


The trend of taking selfies has become so prominent in today’s culture that even advertisements often include images of the models taking their own selfies.


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Cute baby

Cute babies and cute animals have equal weight in commercial power.

Use of drone footage

The introduction of drones will bring lots of fascinating aerial shots to Super Bowl ads.


Be on the lookout for themes of excessive patriotism and the embracing of American stereotypes.

A Kardashian

Though we can’t understand why they’re famous, there is a good chance you’ll see a Kardashian featured in at least one commercial.

Car driving off-road

Jeep, Ford, Chevy, and others love to show their vehicle’s ability to take on the path less-traveled.

Political reference

Watch out for a subtle reference to U.S. politicians or government. Many brands have taken the risk of joining in on the controversial conversations.

“Bro” theme

A favoured term of the past few years, many commercials will feature typical college-age frat guy stereotypes.


Many brands will use a hashtag in their commercials with hopes of creating a trending topic.

Dramatic athletic montage

Brands such as Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas love to showcase their performance apparel through dramatic workout montages.

“The Big Game”

While brands often aren’t allowed to use the term “Super Bowl” in their commercials, many of them will work around the issue by referencing “The Big Game.”

Action scene

Many advertisements have high production budgets, which means the commercials are beginning to resemble thrilling movie scenes.

Bold statement on controversial topic

The U.S. has split opinions on many different topics these days. Some brands take the bold move to a pick side - a risky choice that could either receive praise or alienate customers.

Movie trailer

This is one of the biggest times of the year for film companies to release new trailers for their latest and greatest movies. Many blockbusters will see their first light during the Super Bowl.


Most advertisers go one of two ways -- they either want to make you laugh or hit you with the feels.

The feels

If they aren’t trying to make you laugh, advertisers are probably trying to tug on your heartstrings. Be ready for some shameless tear-jerkers.

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