Super Bowl Ads Still Impact, Ask Betty White

by David Goetzl

Read More at: MediaPost

As the oft-nauseating frisson about Super Bowl ads is maybe two weeks away, it’s hard to recall a spot having more of an impact than the Snickers gambit last year. Not for the candy bar, mind you, but the favor it did for its star Betty White.

The spot has White in a pick-up football game, where the 88-year-old actress moves with hilarious creakiness and takes a brutal tackle. She then eats a Snickers bar and her identity is revealed: She’s actually a young guy playing poorly, who gets an energy boost from the Snickers and ups his game.

The day after the Bowl, USA Today listed it as the most-liked spot. Now, Nielsen reports it gets the same honor for all commercials in 2010.

White went on to have a super year — for octogenarians and everyone else. The Super Bowl spot was followed by a successful Facebook campaign lobbying for her to host “Saturday Night Live,” where she got the gig and won an Emmy.

Then, there is her role in TV Land’s comedy “Hot in Cleveland.” White signed on as a guest star before the Super Bowl, but then was slotted in as a lead, a no-brainer given her popularity. The show became a breakout hit, with White’s new stardom crucial to its ascendancy. A second season is scheduled for 2011.

Just this week, the AP named White the Entertainer of the Year. The news organization wrote that “her unlikely, age-defying success resonated deeply with people who saw in her a spirited, hilarious aberration, a woman not dimmed by age but enhanced by it.”

Her Super Bowl launching pad is a reminder that with some luck and the right creative, advertising in the Big Game still offers an opportunity to instantly impact American culture.