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The Data Analytics of Super Bowl XLVIII and the Best Data Geek Commercials

Sometimes when you make predictions based on the available data – they just turn out wrong. Really wrong – especially when it comes to sports. And that’s the takeaway from Super Bowl XLVIII. Three predictions gone awry. Very awry.

shutterstock 88721260 300x225 The Data Analytics of Super Bowl XLVIII and the Best Data Geek CommercialsLet’s start off with the hope we all put in Punxsutawney Phil, American’s favorite weather forecaster. We weren’t really surprised by his forecast, but we were hoping (predicting) that he would give this cold, snowy nation a little glimpse of warmth ahead.

Nope. He saw his shadow. And it’s six more weeks of winter.

At least the snowstorm held off for the game. But by the time you read this post, nearly half the U.S. will be covered in white (again). Well, if the data’s right, it will be.

Now, for another big prediction. The POTUS didn’t choose sides. He predicted a good game of 24-21 either side. (He probably didn’t even look at the data.) We won’t go into the details of his pre-game interview, but that prediction was a little off. Just like the whole night.

It was supposed to be such a fun game, according to all the data. The anticipation of the best defense against the best offense. History for Peyton Manning. 

But with one big play – a safety to start the game – the anticipation of an epic game became an epic one-sided blowout. 

Here are some other interesting stats from the game:

  • When Seattle followed up its safety with a field goal, it became the first team ever to lead a Super Bowl 5-0.
  • Seattle became the first team to ever score a safety, interception return for a touchdown and kickoff return for a touchdown in the same game.
  • Seattle led the game for 59 minutes, 48 seconds, most in Super Bowl history.

The game was a rout. The Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 43-8 and forever more Super Bowl XLVIII will be known as the “Not So Super Bowl.” But the Las Vegas casinos aren’t complaining.

The casinos will “post a profit on the biggest annual betting event for the 21st time in 23 years, since [Nevada] began officially tracking the Super Bowl as its own entity,” according to the Las Vegas Sun,

While numbers haven’t been released, the paper predicts a “substantial figure for the house” with the “sheer volume of bets on the Broncos.”

But there are some people complaining about the third prediction gone awry – the number of trains needed to get people to the game and back to their hotels and homes after the game.

The public transit systems were a mess post-game. The New York/New Jersey Host Committee got a prediction quite wrong, according to ESPN New York.

The members of the committee “underestimated by half the number of riders who would use the train to get to the game and those 28,000 strained capacity and set a record for single-day traffic on the line.”

Oops. Where the heck did the committee gets its data?

Now, let’s get to the fun part. The commercials. But before we share the hits and misses for the $4 million-per-minute spots, let’s look at the impact of the blowout game. Poor second-half advertisers. They didn’t get the viewers they were predicting. This year, we didn’t get a power outage to poke fun at with social media. We just got a game outage.

This year’s game yielded the fifth highest viewership ever for Super Sunday, according to most reports. It’s hard to tell the impact of the blowout on the second half until more numbers are in later this week.

So, the commercials. Lots of cars. Lots of celebrities. Lots of humor. Lots of puppies and heroes and an apparent Twitter uproar over a Coca-Cola commercial. Most reports said the commercials were a snooze, but USA Today gave us data geeks what we like – a ranking based on views and likes.

Now, we’re going to do our own unofficial ranking of the top three Super Bowl commercials for data geeks.

3. GoldieBlox/Intuit “Come On Bring the Toys”

This data geek (girl) loves that there’s a company making waves in toys for girls. GoldieBlox was the winner of the Intuit Small Business, Big Game challenge. It was a refreshing display of how girls can be just as innovative as boys in building flying rocket ships with their pink princess toys and dolls.

2. Esurance’s “Save 30″

What brilliance from a data-decision standpoint. Rather than buy a $4 million spot during Super Bowl XLVIII, the company bought the slot right after the end of the game, saving $1.5 million. The company saved 30% off the cost of a Super Bowl ad and then offered that savings to one individual to build its social brand.

One lucky person who tweeted #EsuranceSave30 before today was entered to win the money. The name of that person will be announced on an episode of  “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Esurance wins with this clever ad. The analysts looked at the spot, gathered data and made a decision. We’re so proud of the company’s data geeks.

1. RadioShack “The 80s Called and Want Their Store Back”

What a fun concept from a forgotten geek brand. All of your ’80s heroes storm the store to take back their “stuff” – fax machines, VCRs and boom boxes.

Forbes is reporting that the retail brand got a “7% stock surge in early trading on Monday” in response to the excitement the ad generated.

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