Imagine a world without Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. A world without Tim the Toolman Taylor. A world without Beats by Dre.
It’s a grim world indeed.
In all seriousness, the United States of America has brought us some of the best pop culture icons of our time, and one of the things we couldn’t do without is their unofficial national holiday – Super Bowl Sunday.
There’s nothing not to love, so here are some of our favourites.
The passion for the game
Fans and supporters of the Super Bowl come with a level of enthusiasm that’s even more infectious than glandular fever.
Earlier this year, some 111.5 million viewers watched as the Seattle Seahawks demolished the Denver Broncos 43 – 8, according to research company Nielson.
And that passion exists even before the Super Bowl takes place. Business Insider tells us 68,401 people turn up to every regular season game. Globally, that is easily the the largest average attendance for a sporting league.
The Super Bowl is Uncle Sam’s biggest sporting event, but for countless Americans, the real party is at home. Super Bowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving for food consumption in the US according to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the parties thrown on this special day are becoming almost as famous as the event itself.
The coin toss
Only in the country’s biggest NFL tournament could something as small as the initial coin toss become such a phenomena. This is the part where the teams – who represent the champions of the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC) – figure out who gets to kick first and who receives. Even though the odds are essentially 50:50, and no evidence exists to suggest the team who picks correctly will take the game, the coin toss is one of the most popular bets in the Super Bowl. Then there are bets on the colour of the Gatorade dumped over the winning coach, how long the national anthem will last, and even whether or not the singer will mess up the national anthem.
When advertising meets entertainment
We live in a world where we mute or fast forward the TV during ad breaks, watch video content online and upgrade to Spotify’s paid account just to get rid of ads.
And yet, the whole world stops to watch the ads during the Super Bowl.
The time, effort and funding that goes into a single ad is comparable to some films. In 2014, companies paid US$4 million for a 30 second spot. For 60 seconds, an eye-watering US$8 million. That’s on top of the months of work that go into creating each ad, which, according to Forbes, rolls in at an average of US$1 million.
When you’re spending that much, you’d want to get a lot more than your usual intrusive TV ads. Just check out this Super Bowl ad for Lynx (what the Americans call Axe) – who knew you could relate the smell of teenage male so strongly to international politics in such a visually stunning, powerful way? This one won the top spot in 2014 according to superbowl-commercials.org.
On the flipside, some of these commercials can go down faster than a quarterback without all his protective padding on. This arguably confusing ad for the Hyundai Elantra was named the worst ad of the 2014 Super Bowl by superbowl-commercials.org. “Why does the road start blowing up all of the sudden? Why is there suddenly a ramp in front of that man’s Elantra? Why the (heck) is Richard Lewis in the back seat?”
Think it’s time to see all of this for yourself? Check out the Virgin Money’s Super Stars and Super Stars 2 competition which ends 31 October 2014, where one lucky winner will get to choose between a trip of a lifetime to the NFL Super Bowl in 2015, a music gig in the city of their choice or the 2015 Grand Prix in Monaco.
Read about our 2014 winner here!