America still loves big TV! As you probably know by now, Sunday’s game was the most watched event in television history, surpassing the 1983 finale of “M*A*S*H.” No amount of marketing can come close to the ability to reach almost one-third of the population. It’s television that engages them and entertains them.
It was a terrific game, and the NFL organizes and runs a flawless event. There were so many moving parts. Kudos to its skills at pulling it off.
I spent the game in a trailer with my counterparts in Sales and Operations. We watched the broadcast on a large HD screen and stayed tied into the control trucks in case there were any issues. We monitored each commercial and promo break (or as we like to say, we were watching some spots when a game interrupted us!) to be sure the right stuff aired. We checked off the chart, break by break, and enjoyed the game, as well.
The coverage by CBS Sports was sensational. Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, and the NFL Today pregame gang did an awesome job.
The biggest news off the field was about the commercials and, of course, the CBS promos. I noted in a previous post that we look at this as our opportunity to show off our marketing to the biggest audience in the world. Little did we know it would be as big as it was, but we had a feeling it would draw a lot of attention.
In terms of total time, you could say that CBS itself was the “biggest advertiser.” We produced and selected promos to air in the game based on our network priorities, building on our strength this season. Those included the Monday night comedies, as well as “CSI: Miami,” “NCIS,” “NCIS: LA,” and “Criminal Minds.” And, of course, launching “Undercover Boss” after the game and the season premieres of “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” later this week.
Special versions like the “NCIS” head slap, the Tuesday night Are you following me “NCIS”/”NCIS: LA” spot, and the network image spot take us beyond the weekly topical spots about what’s on each episode.
And of course, much has been written and said about the Letterman-Oprah-Leno spot. Clever in concept; brilliant in execution–thanks Dave! It was a masterpiece. We challenged Dave and his crew to top their spot with Oprah for the 2007 game, and they did! You can read about how their masterful ad happened from The New York Times.
All our shows were represented in some spot during the day’s coverage, which began at noon and ran until just after 10 p.m.
By the way, my favorite part of the occasion was the fighter jet flyover. The jets fly in tight formation; four thundering fighters streak by overhead. Before you can even hear them approach, they are gone. Your camera shutter has to be really fast to catch them. I could only capture the last one as they sped away (see picture in slideshow below).
The Super Bowl is a national celebration, a commercial and promotion festival, and a technological masterpiece. Take a look at some of the pictures from my few days down there to get a peek behind the scenes.