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Scarlett Johansson's SodaStream ad is closing in on 10 million YouTube views.

Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream ad is closing in on 10 million YouTube views.

“If only I could make this message go viral,” intones Scarlett Johansson in an ad for SodaStream produced for Super Bowl XLVIII this weekend. Indeed, while spots for the annual NFL championship sell for $4 million per half-minute (or about $134,000 per second), it’s the “free” pass-around exposure that is the real gold ring.

“Last year likes, shares and retweets for Super Bowl spots on FB and Twitter jumped 89% from 2012, with 3.3 million shares on Superbowl Monday alone, 9x greater than during the actual game” Morning Joe’s Willie Geist reported in an insightful preview that culminated with a mock-Super Bowl ad featuring the show’s namesake Joe Scarborough as “The Most Interesting Television Anchor in the World” (a take-off on the Dos Equis spots that reportedly drove the beer firm to double-digit growth).

“On Sunday, Super Bowl sponsors’ hashtags are going to be as ubiquitous as the hash marks on the field,” quipped CNBC economics reporter John Schoen, citing as a pivotal moment the now-famous “Dunk in the Dark” ad delivered via Twitter during a power outage at the 2013 Super Bowl.

Volkswagen's Passat ad "The Force" featured a pint-sized Darth Vader.

Volkswagen’s “The Force” ad holds the record for most social shares, at 5 million-plus.

Volkswagen’s 2011 “Star Wars” homage, “The Force,” still holds the social media record with more than 5 million online shares. It sent sales of the Passat surging by 70% the week the spot aired, the company reports, and helped Volkswagen to record sales that year, emphasizing social clout.

The most effective ads, whether measured by social or other metrics, is one that inspires sales and cements brand loyalty. The most effective way to do that is to ensure “everyone can connect on a human level,” said “Morning Joe” commentator Donny Deutsch, whose Deutsch Inc. is the agency of record for many classic Super Bowl spots.

From the famous 1979 ad where the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mean Joe Green swaps his jersey for a young fan’s Coca Cola, to VW’s “The Force” and GoDaddy’s “Nerd Kiss,” Deutsch Inc. has an enviable record. “The irony is, with all the technology and all the discussions about digital and online, the things that made a great ad with Mean Joe Green are the same things today: great human stories, well-told, that we all can relate to.”

GoDaddy's "Nerd Kiss"

“Nerd Kiss” struck a chord with NFL viewers and boosted GoDaddy sales.

“Nerd Kiss” reportedly helped GoDaddy add 10,000 new customers, boosting sales by 40% in the days following the game, and FedEx shares jumped 6% after its “Caveman Delivery” Super Bowl spot in 2006.

“The idea is to get attention, but get attention in the right way for your brand and create traffic,” Deutsch explained to “Morning Joe” reporter Willie Geist. Deutsch cautioned that there are a lot of attention-getting ads that, while memorable, don’t leave consumers with a strong connection to the brand product. “You need to do stuff that’s in concert with your brand, that’s not just a one-off, but really, really attaScarlett Johansson’s SodaStream ad was canned.ches long-term value.”

Among the most anticipated spots debuting at this year’s big game:

“Gracie” — The General Mills Cheerios brand’s new installment in its bi-racial family saga, in which little Gracie is about to get a new brother…and a puppy!

Audi "Doberhuahua" ad

Audi’s “Doberhuahua” ad riffs on the tagline for the A3: “Designed without compromise.”

“Doberhuahua” Audi demonstrates why its important to not compromise by demoing a new breed of dog. Complete with faux Kennel Club announcer admitting, “I’ve never seen a dog like this. It’s disturbing to look at it directly.”

“Up For Whatever” — Bud Light sends an average guy on an adventure that ends with Arnold Schwarzenegger in full “tiny tennis” mode and an onstage rave with OneRepublic.

And that Sodastrean ad with Scarlett Johansson? It was “banned” — at least the version featuring the tagline “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi,” deemed antagonistic toward the longtime Super Bowl sponsors. The controversey has done nothing but help SodaStream toward its viral aspirations: more than 9.4 million YouTube views since the “uncensored” clip was posted on January 27.

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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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