In its 50-year history, two expectations of the Super Bowl remain constant: 1. People want to be entertained and 2. People want to be able to share their Super Bowl experiences with other people.
Super Bowl 50 (not to be confused with Super Bowl L), delivered on both. From Lady Gaga’s incredible rendition of the National Anthem to Dorito’s hysterically disturbing ultrasound spot, from Bruno-n-Bey’s dance-off to the on-field drama of the Fumblebowl, I can say that I was adequately entertained. Was it the most memorable Super Bowl of all-time? No. Was it the best football game I’ve ever watched? No. Do I secretly wish Michael Jackson somehow manifested himself into that half-time show*? YES. Was I more interested in the commercials and my Twitter feed than the game itself? Guilty.
*(Ed. note: I saw it mentioned that Super Bowl halftime shows would be immeasurably improved if they simply reran MJ’s XXVII performance every year from now until eternity. I’m sort of persuaded…)
So, let’s talk about those ads for a second. I mean, how often is it that people ask to see ads? In the age of DVR and on-demand streaming, consumers have taken a pretty definitive stance against TV spots. We not only dislike them, we’ve created whole new electronic devices that prevent us from ever having to see them. Yet one day in the entire year we don’t just tolerate commercials, we actually look forward to them! Why? Because we want to be entertained.
But it’s not just enough for us as individuals to be entertained. Sure, some of you locked yourself in a room with chicken wings and Bud Light for a private viewing for one. But I’ll bet you were live-tweeting or live-blogging the entire event. You were still connected to others in some way. So the real value of Super Bowl night hasn’t changed over the years. It’s still all about the pass-along. But we don’t have to wait until Monday morning at the water cooler to relive the best Super Bowl moments. The world gave its collective feedback almost instantly, thanks mostly to Twitter. You know, that social media channel that just last week was all but written off with cries of #RIPTwitter.
So what did I love most about Super Bowl 50? That I was simultaneously laughing out loud with friends in my living room while sharing giggles with my digital friends online. My room of five was filled with five smartphones, two laptops, one tablet and one TV. I was sharing my experiences with others physically and virtually. That’s pretty cool. And ads from Jeep and Subaru and even the NFL itself made us feel part of a community. That we were sharing in something special.
I’m irrationally excited to see the final counts from this year’s virtual activity. Last year, 1.7 terabytes of data was shared during Super Bowl XLIX. That’s equivalent to 4.8 million social media posts with images! No, Super Bowl 50 didn’t break the Internet and there was no unexpected, disruptive moment to define it. But in my book, it succeeded in keeping us entertained for four straight hours and making our worlds a little smaller and more intimate.
Amanda Vasil is a Change Agent, and her favorite Super Bowl 50 commercial was Subaru’s #DogApproved ad. Follow her on Twitter at @amanda_vasil