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Victoria’s Secret Super Bowl 2008 Commercial – Most Watched

Victoria’s Secret decided to take a gamble this year and splurge for a $3 million plus commercial during the Super Bowl. The gamble paid off.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie commercial in the 2008 Super Bowl was seen by 103.7 million viewers, more than any other.

Why was the ad buy a risk?

Unless the game is close, a 9:45pm commercial in the Super Bowl runs the risk of being seen by far fewer people than a first quarter commercial which is the most consistent quarter for peak viewership during the Super Bowl. For lots of people, the Super Bowl “event” ends at half time. Unless, of course, the game is close.

To make a long story short, here’s the risk: most Super Bowl games are not close. And the commercials that get least watched during a blowout are the commercials in the 4th quarter.

Why Victoria’s Secret Took The Risk

Company spokespersons indicated that the reason they took the risk was because of the proximity to Valentine’s Day which happens to be the biggest calendar event for the lingerie industry. With the Super Bowl creeping further and further into February, and happening less than 2 weeks before Valentine’s day, Victoria’s Secret could position themselves for a massive spike in sales.

Hedging Their Bets

Victoria’s Secret had an ace up their sleeve for this Super Bowl. For one, they knew that more than most Super Bowls, this one had historical implications. For that reason alone, there would be a peak in viewership to the very end of the game. Millions of men (the true audience of VS ads) would want to brag about having seen the Patriots go 18 and 0. Even if the expected blowout took place.

Lucky for Victoria’s Secret, the Super Bowl was not only historical, it was extremely close in the 4th quarter.

So what’s the lesson to learn for advertisers? You should always have an intimate appreciation for the context in which your ad will appear. And if you do your research, you might be able to play your cards better than the dealer and win out big.