As expected, Super Bowl 48’s many commercials garnered just as much attention as the game itself. This was especially true this year, as the game was decided about a third of the way through, allowing the commercials far more opportunity to burrow into our skull and stay there.

But we’re not here to simply recap our favorite ads, or complain about the ones that creeped us out the most (we’re looking at you, Doberuahua.) No, we’re more interested in the commercials that worked the hardest at hooking us beyond the commercial. Online content marketing is increasingly important, and smart companies know how to use the Internet to spread their message as widely as possible.

These are the ads that marketed their content in the most viral manner possible:


In many ways, this was two ads in one, as well as a tremendous flip-off to corporate America. Obviously, there was plenty of focus on GoDaddy’s website-building capabilities, but there was also a huge focus on one customer. Gwen Dean, a machine engineer, appeared in the 30-second spot and, with the aid of a puppet, told her boss “I quit.” And as far as we can tell, this was 100% real. A woman quit her job live during the Super Bowl. Her boss probably felt dumber than Peyton Manning ever could.

But that wasn’t all. The ad directed us to a website called, a real-live website that advertises Gwen’s new career as a children’s puppeteer. Obviously, GoDaddy is heavily featured on the site, which makes it clear that Gwen is an official spokeswoman for the site.

But it’s not a scam — the site is real, Gwen is legitimate, and you can even book her for parties if you so desire. Thanks to GoDaddy’s marketing campaign, she should expect a very busy schedule for a good long time.

Wonderful Pistacios:

Stephen Colbert’s Wonderful Pistacio’s commerical ran in two parts. The first segment was straightforward enough. The second, however, involved far more “branding” of the Pistachio name, including Colbert cracking his head open to reveal a Pistachio Colbert. It was certainly attention-grabbing, if not slightly nightmare-inducing.

But if you could turn your eyes away from the pistachio head for just a second, you would have seen a rather unique URL: Don’t worry, it’s family-friendly. There, you can watch the ad again, and then attempt to win $100,000. That’s right, is giving away $100,000 to whoever guesses closest to the total number of pistachios in Colbert’s library.

There’s a lot of them, so if you want to come up with a decent estimate, you’re going to have to stare at that ad A LOT. That’s a lot of eyeball time for Pistachio’s pistachios.

Hashtags, Hashtags, Hashtags

Viral websites aside, the undisputed champion of viral marketing for this year’s Super Bowl was the Hashtag. A whopping 58% of ads featured during this year’s game featured a hashtag, designed to keep conversations about the product going long after the Broncos had resumed losing. Some of the highlights included:

#hugfest, attached to Bruce Willis’s request that we hug everybody in the room because we care about them and their safety, just like Honda does. It was simple and sincere enough, though the random guy refusing to stop hugging Willis was more than a little eyebrow-raising.

#cuptherapy, attached to Butterfinger’s campaign for their new peanut butter cups, where chocolate and peanut butter get their marriage spiced up with the arrival of a third partner: Butterfinger himself. This explains why they canned Bart Simpson as a spokesman. Even when animated and yellow, sticking a 10-year-old in a commercial about an implied threesome would have been just plain icky.

#EsuranceSave30, attached to Esurance, along with the possibility of winning a ton of cash. Literally all you need to do is Tweet out the hashtag before Tuesday February 4, at 4 AM EST, and you’ll be entered to win $1.5 million (which is the exact amount Esurance saved by purchasing the first commercial to run AFTER the Super Bowl ended.)

Only time will tell what the content marketing trends will be like come Super Bowl 49. Will it simply be more hashtags than ever before, or will more companies put time and effort into entire websites devoted to the content, a la GoDaddy and Wonderful Pistachio? We have a year to wait for the answer, which is hopefully enough time for at least one team to figure out just how you’re supposed to beat the Seahawks.

Jason Iannone is a Patriots fan, and may or may not be a tiny bit giddy over Manning and the Broncos getting absolutely slaughtered.