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Super Bowl XLVIII was a National Football League (NFL) championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos to be held at the MetLifeStadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on February 2nd, 2014.
On January 19th, 2014, the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks were victorious in their final playoff games, sending them to play against each other in the upcoming Super Bowl.
On December 31st, 2013, the marijuana enthusiast blog High Times published an article noting that the Seahawks and Broncos come from two of the largest cities in the United States that had recently legalized the use of recreational marijuana. On January 17th, MSN reported that lobbyists were urging the NFL to refrain from punishing players who tested positive for marijuana and referred to the upcoming Super Bowl game as the “Marijuana Bowl.” According to the Twitter analytics site Topsy, tweets containing the keywords “marijuana bowl” peaked on January 19th, with over 39,900 mentions.
On January 20th, Redditor Jonathan_71 submitted a two-pane image macro featuring a Broncos player and a Seahawks player with a caption pointing out the recent legalization of marijuana in each team’s home state (shown below). Within the first two weeks, the post garnered more than 33,000 up votes and 1,000 comments.
Richard Sherman’s Postgame Rant
On January 19th, 2014, Seattle Seahawks won against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game after cornerback Richard Sherman managed to tip a pass thrown to 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree, assisting Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith’s interception during the closing minute of the game. As a result of the victory, Seattle Seahawks advanced to to Super Bowl XLVIII. Immediately after the game, Sherman taunted Crabtree in an impassioned rant in an interview with Fox Sports sportscaster Erin Andrews (shown below).
During the game on February 2nd, 2014, the cable television channel Animal Planet aired its 9th annual Puppy Bowl television program, in which puppies are placed in a model football stadium to play with each other and a variety of toys. The show’s opening coin toss featured a LEGO character from the upcoming The Lego Movie (shown below).
The episode was shot with a total of 66 puppies, allowing 12 to 15 puppies on the field at a time. The cat Lil Bub was featured as a Chicago studio “commentator.” The “Kitty Half-Time” part of the show featured a performance by a cat named Keyboard Cat, although the original Keyboard Cat is known to have passed away in 1987.
On January 27th, the soft drink company Coca-Cola uploaded a Super Bowl commercial to YouTube in which a young grade school football player runs off a field during a game all the way to a professional football stadium (shown below, left). On the same day, the automobile manufacturer Audi released their Super Bowl ad featuring a hybrid doberman-chihuahua dog (shown below, right).
On January 28th, Heineken unveiled its Super Bowl commercial for the Newcastle Brown Ale featuring actress Anna Kendrick via the company’s YouTube channel. The commercial opens with Kendrick explaining that she had been hired by the beer company to do a Super Bowl ad, but after mentioning that they ran out of money, she quickly digresses into a rant-like, bleep-ridden monologue (shown below, left). On the same day, the automobile company Chevrolet released their Super Bowl commercial, featuring a bull being introduced to several female cows (shown below, right).
Also on January 28th, the Cheerios YouTube channel uploaded a commercial in which the same mixed-race child from their previous “Just Checking” commercial is informed that her parents are having another child (shown below, left). Meanwhile, the automobile manufacturer Toyota released an ad in which actor Terry Crews is confronted by several Muppets while driving (shown below, right).
On January 29th, Budweiser uploaded their “Puppy Love” Super Bowl commercial, featuring a puppy who befriends a Clydesdale horse (shown below).
The week leading up to the Superbowl, the snack food company Doritos revealed the top five finalists for their annual “Crash the Superbowl” contest, two of which would be aired during the football championship game.
During the game on February 2nd, 2014, an ad was broadcast for the American electronic store franchise Radioshack, which featured cameo appearances from a variety of 1980s film and television stars. On the following day, the business news blog Forbes reported that Radioshack stock saw a 7% increase that morning.
Internet Meme Ads
The web hosting service SquareSpace aired a commercial mocking several Internet memes and other Internet phenomenon, including Joseph Decreaux, duck face photographs, FAIL image macros and manbaby photoshops (shown below, left). The automobile manufacturer Volkswagon released a commercial mocking several viral video tropes, including the use of FAIL humor, cute animals, twerking and babies (shown below, right).
Esurance Twitter Contest
Immediately after the game ended, the American auto insurance provider Esurance released a commercial announcing they would be giving away $1.5 million dollars to a Twitter user who tweets the hashtag “#EsuranceSave30” (shown below).
According to the tech news blog Mashable, more than 2.1 million tweets containing the hashtag were posted within one hour of the commercial’s broadcast, leading the brand to become a trending topic and increasing the @Esurance Twitter account by 90,000. Additionally, Esurance’s ad agency Leo Burnett claims the campaign received one billion impressions. Several fake Esurance Twitter feeds were created, urging users to follow their account for a chance to win the $1.5 million prize.