First of all, as a Michigan native I had the last laugh last night watching hundreds
of thousands of people sit in the rain and watch football. Last
year the NFL got tons of heat for hosting the Super Bowl in
Detroit. To the critics from last year I say this – yes Detroit
is cold in January, yes it offers only casinos and some ok restaurants,
but at least the stadium is INDOORS. I don't care where you are
in the country, I don't want to gamble with January weather, especially
in this era of global warming and climate change. I blame George
Now, the ads…
Disclaimer: Please note I missed most of the first quarter coming back from the airport, so this rundown has all the noteworthy ones I actually witnessed...as I find the others and have time to review I will add to this list!
Part I evokes a scene from LOST, as a group of office workers find themselves under attack - fleeing from pen darts, nets, a water cooler bottle gauntlet and the threat of an all day training seminar. Running past a concierge, the workers head off a cliff en masse. (See ad HERE)
Part II of this ad features a primitive jungle battle for a promotion, with workers clad in armor made of office furniture, computer components and various and sundry office supplies, as well as the delivery guy who "doesn't even work here!" The fight is kicked off by a post-it covered Orc like figure blowing a LOTR type war horn. (See ad HERE)
Part III highlights the jungle crew's performance management sessions, which includes walking across hot coals "I will improve my pie charts," management doling out wedgies - "Here's some positive feed back!", people falling from the tree tops screaming "I willl be a teeeam player." Ultimately a man emerges from the brush covered with those impossibly tight 3 inch binder clips. (See ad HERE)
Take Away: It's hard to out do the monkeys, but appealing to the inner office slave in all of us is once again a safe bet. (A)
We've come along way from the "Naaationwide is on yoooour siiiide" commercials as K-Fed moves into the spokesman role for this company. The spot features K-Fed rapping "Rolling VIP" with laughably ironic lines like, "fat rocks I got em… sugar daddy I'm the mac if you need a dollar holler because I got a whole stack," only to reveal a fry cooking Federline being chastised by his manager for rapping on the job.
Take Away: K-Fed really is like a car wreck you can't turn away from.
And the whole nation just rubber necked during this ad that appeals to our most base and superficial tendencies – Nationwide, I didn't know you had it in ya. (A)
See ad HERE.
Budweiser once again took the safe, but humorous, route to Super Bowl ad success. Using their time tested formula, Budweiser went with a few Y-chromosome spots (the "Fist Bump out, Slap Fight In" and Bud Hitchikers). Threw in a dash of salt and a few cutesy, but still funny, animal oriented spots that evoke the Bud Frogs (crabs stealing a cooler and worshiping it's crab-esque shadow and two zoo gorillas planning an ambush only to be foiled by one's vain desire to pose for a tourist's photo) - - and once again created Super Bowl Success.
Take Away: Easy laughs that appeal to all is par for the course for Budweiser. As AdRants poitns out, they went for quantity over quality this year - though their phoned in ads are still better than most company's best efforts. (A-) (See Hitch Hiker ad HERE, King Crab HERE, Fist Bump HERE)
Half time report
The Artist Currently Known as Prince, what a wack job.
Recycling the It All Comes Back to You ad that I've seen somewhere before (movie theatre?), Coke also threw in a feel good time line ad in honor of Black History month, which ended with a nod to Lovie Smith and Tony Dungee. The old man "What Haven't I Done" ad featuring a Coke sipping geriatric escaping the confines of his senior citizen home to run with the bulls in Pamplona, jump off a high dive, profess his love to an old crush and fly down the high way on a motorcycle was chuckle-worthy. The Happiness Factor parade was also a cool computer generated spot.
Take Away: Coke has used consistent branding and carved out its niche for fun ads that make you smile, but don't leave you busting a gut. (B) (See "Comes Back to You" ad HERE, See Happiness Factory ad HERE)
Chevy, a Super Bowl sponsor, made off with this years award for best car advertisements – if only because they were the only automaker to do anything out of the ordinary. The HHR car wash spot brought a smile to my face as what can only be described as a squeegee gang gone horribly, horribly wrong attacks a car full of girls and washes their car. (This spot was created by a 19 year old winner of Chevy's consumer generated commercial contest). A second spot, touting Chevy's 100,000 mile warranty, shows an endearing robot leaving an assembly line and looking for work – only to be turned away from job after job and end it all by jumping off a bridge, (and starting awake, still safe inside the factory).
Take Away: Both of these fared better in my mind thanks to the dearth of competition from the industry. The Car Wash spot was clever and more impressive as a consumer generated piece. (B+) (See Car Wash HERE, Robot HERE)
Note: how come guys get the Go Daddy girls, and women have to settle for a mob of (mostly unbecoming and old) men stripping their clothes off?!
Doritos Consumer Generated Spots
Live the Flavor, which shows a Doritos-snacking guy making eyes at a snacking girl as he drives, only to have both of them befell by painful looking acts of clumsiness, came off well - better I thought, than Check out Girl, in which a plump cashier becomes orgasmic with a customer over various types of Doritos. However, both were creative and better than your average bear when it comes to any ads, but especially Super Bowl spots. (See ads HERE, along with the three runners up)
Take Away: This further illustrates consumer's assumptions that they are just as capable as agencies in coming up with creative advertisement.
After catching a flight back from Chicago (yes I left Bear land on Super Bowl Sunday) I tuned on my tv just in time to see the end of a GoDaddy commercial with a man giving a tour of the marketing department only to reveal an office full of scantily clad sluts jumping up and down. This was the final spot to air, after many rejected spots that were too hot for prime time.
Take Away: If it ain't broke don't fix it. Go Daddy continues to entertain with boobs, leaving a generation of men certain of the fact that they love GoDaddy, but unclear that it is actually a website name registration site. (B-) (See ad HERE)
Sprint Mobile Broadband & E Trade Financial
In an otherwise unremarkable take off of clinical study drug commercials, Sprint Broadband coins the phrase "Connectile Dysfunction" for a sad looking guy with slow internet at the airport who is ultimately saved by women packing
broadband. E Trade features a group of bank customers "held
hostage by their bank" with throw away lines like "don't try to be a
hero!" Etrade's second "What you can use one finger for" (summon
an elevator, prove your sobriety, identify a murderer, save Holland,
etc.) ads were a big improvement.
Take Away: Decent efforts for Super Bowl spots, and as always, sex (or sex problems) sell, though neither spot was especially memorable. (B-) (See Sprint ad HERE, ETrade Bank spot HERE, ETrade Finger spot HERE.)
In a take off of Modernista's famous Hummer Godzilla/Monster spot from a few years ago, this ad features a lost driver opening a map only to have it grow larger and form a giant monster, "Maposaurus". The driver then becomes what can only be described as a robotic Power Ranger(?) and fights him. I found this ad kind of bizarre and cheesy, but apparently YouTube viewers are hailing it as a fantastic tribute to "Ultraman", so it certainly seems to appeal to a certain segment of the population - probably the one that wants to buy GPS - so kudos to them!
Take Away: Personally I give it a C for seeming like a spin off of the H3 Monster ad, but it seems that other consumers think it is, " is the greatest commercial of all time, ever," so who am I to argue with that? (See ad HERE)
Accord, Acura, Fusion, Toyota
Chevy seemed to have the lock on creative Super Bowl ads as Toyota, Ford Fusion, Accura and Honda ran "just another car" ads that you'd find in between segments on your nightly news. "Total appreciation for the pure pleasure of driving, blah blah blah, perfect reflection of you yadda yadda yadda"… I just fell asleep.
Take Away: Did you just pay $2million for that? Really?! Really. (C-)
When your energy is low, Robert Goulet can apparently enter your office and "mess with your stuff". When my energy is low I usually zone out for a bit and go for a walk… anyway, seeing Robert Goulet frolic around an office is mildly amusing. (See ad HERE)
Take Away: OK, I only blogged about this ad because I'm 65% certain that Robert Goulet was on my flight back to DC tonight, is that possible? (No grade, just a freak coincidence)
The Final Report
Overall, almost any ad that elicits a chuckle is a vast improvement over the day to day horror that consumers are forced to sit through during an average night of regularly scheduled programs. Now, whether or not that chuckle was worth over $2 million is another story. In the world of Web 2.0 (blogs! YouTube! buzz!), these ads have legs much longer than they used to - so the good, the bad, and the ugly, tend to march on for days after their original air date. Sure the good may get recalled years from now, for that unexpected boost everyone hopes for, but those ads really are the exception not the rule.
Take Away: In this case I say any press is good press, after all, who had heard of Sales Geenie before last night?