I used to love those ads, especially the first one I saw in 2010, but I was convinced when I saw E*TRADE Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: ETFC) running them on that Super Bowl Sunday that they were throwing another "Hail Mary" pass. Fittingly for a commercial spot during a football game, the term indicates a last-ditch, desperate effort to win in the late stages of a game.
The flaw with my reasoning back then was that I had no concept of a commercial going "viral." In fact, I don't think that anyone did at that time. We were barely coming out of one of the worst periods of U.S. history, when banks, mortgages, and real estate failed, seemingly at once.