The game was exciting. The ads were mostly...feh. The Who, I'm sad to say...well, let's just say that we were NOT fooled again (I recommend blasting "Who's Next" on your stereo and remembering just how great they REALLY were).
Since all the world seems to be offering their perspective on the Big Game's ads, I thought I'd take just a marketing minute to offer my observations as well. After all, that's one thing a blog is good for, right? For the record, I've taken the "everyman" approach - not fancy analytical models, just thinking and reacting like a "normal" person...the ones who these ads are supposed to influence.
Old Dogs and New Tricks: I liked VW's twist on the old vernacular, "punch buggy" to "punch dub." Engaging and very much in keeping with the brand heritage. Good acting, including ending with Tracy Morgan and Stevie Wonder. And, it looks like VW is extending this into the social sphere.
Oops I Forgot My Pants
- CareerBuilder - For their "Casual Day" spot. I almost couldn't believe I was watching that one (how far the network censors have moved since days gone by!). I give them kudos for not making every actor a glamorous, sculpted Adonis or Venus. Although, after about 10-seconds, it was TMI for me.
- Dockers - All I could say is: WTF was that!? I know there was a strategy or message in there somewhere, but I couldn't find it.
- The media executive who scheduled the above two commercials to run next to each other - Need I say more?
Strange Bedfellows: Late Night with Letterman - Who'd have thought we'd see Dave, Oprah and Jay on one couch (other than a therapist's couch). Read that this was Letterman's idea - he wrote the spot and they filmed it in secret last week. Well performed. But...what was Jay Leno doing in an ad promoting Late Night with Letterman?
Sad to See You've Lost Your Touch :-(
- Budweiser - I remember when I looked forward their ads; they were a highlight of the game. Now...nothing memorable. Mostly tired. Even the clydesdales spot looked like a retread.
- Coke - "Open happiness." Maybe a good line, but the commercials didn't really lead you there. Maybe the Simpson's spot (although that suffered from 'borrowed interest'). That guy sleepwalking? Wished that hippo had snapped him in two instead of the boat.
- Bud Light - A little humor here and there (e.g., parody on Lost), but nothing really stood out for me. Hmm...maybe that InBev takeover has something to do with this?
Maybe You Never Had It To Begin With?
- Dr. Pepper - The band Kiss for a "kiss of cherry." Why spend $2.5MM for a limited appeal line extension, using a washed up glam-rock group and throwing in some insults to little people?
Consumers Make Good Copywriters
- Doritos - Liked the dog getting even with that dude in the park
- CareerBuilder - Maybe it's the fact that there are so many people unemployed or underemployed, but these were pretty good spots in my estimation. Each with its own twist on how a job you are in can be a "bad fit."
Consumers Make Bad Copywriters
- Doritos - A 'chip ninja samurai'? Dude in the casket was pretty dumb. And what's with that kid slapping his mom's date? Overall, the consumer did lots better for Doritos last year.
- CareerBuilder - "Worst Seat" spot. Potty humor never really works for me (although I like the punch line of the boss handing over his lighter to the gas-emitting, flaming dude). I get the point, but it's pretty low brow.
Our Tax Dollars at Work? U.S. Census Bureau - Comedy ensemble was pretty funny (especially for fans of Seinfeld, The Office and shows of that ilk). But I blanche at the thought of the U.S. government paying $2.5 million of taxpayer dollars to air that spot. Let alone produce it. And, the thought that this is the first in a campaign (as intimated by this "teaser") positively frightens and infuriates me. Can somebody help me understand the objective or value of spending our tax dollars this way? Maybe the payoff will be worth it...it sure as heck better be, since we're paying for it!
So Bad They're...Good? I can't figure this one out. Millions of consumers turned to social networks including Twitter to discuss their favorite ads. According to social media monitoring service Trendrr, the three top gaining Super Bowl ad brands on Twitter within the last 24 hours were Dockers (+307%), Boost Mobile (+161%) and Emerald Nuts (+150). Those may have been three of the worst commercials on the Super Bowl (depending on your pov, but most polls and experts agree). Maybe these three were so low in their twittersphere trending that it's just a big bump off a low base? Sorry...I broke my "everyman" promise here.
I Want That and I Want It Now: I didn't feel that way about any products I saw advertised. The greatest pull for me came from the world of entertainment. I'm now primed to see The Wolfman, Alice in Wonderland, Shutter Island (seems like we've been waiting for that since last fall...oh wait, we have). And, if that upcoming video game Dante's Inferno has the gameplay to match its trailer, look out!
The Year of the Emasculated Man
- Dove Men Care - I give Dove/Unilever props for trying to find growth opportunities for their brand. And, I can see the "insight" of helping men feel "comfortable in your own skin." Overall, didn't really appeal to me. Yeah, the execution was uneven -- some engaging moments, some cliche. But the biggest problem: I'd never use Dove brand...I'm not handing in my man card for that brand. Nice try, though.
- Dodge Charger - Similar "insight" as Dove, but a better execution in my estimation. Maybe because they didn't try to foist the William Tell Overture on us guys. Maybe a bit of hyperbole of what men will put up with and do in order to do the one thing they want for themselves...that muscle car! Are these really big problems? No. Are they close enough to reality to catch attention and engage? In my opinion, yes. But, I don't think I can go quite as far as "watching your vampire TV shows with you," even for that Charger.
- FloTV - The "Injury Report" spot with Jim Nantz (reporting on Jason Glaspy, "as you can see, his girlfriend has removed his spine.") hit most men, well, you know...where it hurts. A lot. Great delivery of a good script by Nantz ("How 'bout not.") made this worth watching for me.
Funny and a Pretty Good Ad
- FloTV - "Injury Report." It's all about the script and Jim Nantz's performance.
- Hyundai/Favre - I laughed out loud at Brett Favre accepting the 2020 NFL MVP award (at age 50). Kudos to Favre for being cool enough to poke fun at himself. Great spot for the Super Bowl (would have been even better if the Vikings had made the game, but so be it). And, I got the point about Hyundai quality lasting (their 10 yr/100K mile warranty is still a great deal).
- Late Night with Letterman - Given that Dave himself wrote the spot, it's a good thing this was funny!
Funny, But Not a Great Ad
- Motorola/MotoBlur - "Megan Fox" ad sure played up on her sex appeal and her effect on men (or, boys..."Timmy, what are you doing ?!"). Kind of funny. Did it sell Motorola technology? Not in my opinion. I better review that commercial one more time just to be sure...
- TruTV - "Punxsutawney Polamalu" was a funny bit (Troy's sure getting a lot of mileage out of that hair - love that pose he strikes!). But, what the heck is TruTV?
- Diamond Foods (Emerald Nuts/Pop Secret) - The first few times I saw the men and women coming out of the water like dolphins, I laughed (and wondered: 'how did they do that?'). By the end, I was bored. A bit over-the-top...and good lord, "awesome + awesome = awesomer..." Huh?