Wow. Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints. As a former season-ticket holder, during the worst season in team history, I’m very happy to see the Gold and Black win it all. And it was a great game to boot. But Sunday night, there were even more pressing issues at hand – namely, the airing of Super Bowl commercials. Since I was a kid, the ads were always an important part of the game. Sometimes more important.
As for last night’s batch of Super Bowl commercials, I was utterly underwhelmed. It seemed like the creative concepts were developed by people who were terrified to put the best ideas on the table. Either that, or the advertisers were scared. Someone was. Yes, I work in advertising, no I’ve never done a SB ad – and likely never will. But the fact that I’ve paid attention to advertising communications my whole life gives me the right to state what I think works and why. Click here for a look at the spots I liked from last year’s Super Bowl.
So without further delay, here’s how last night’s top three spots ranked for this ad guy.
#3 – Bud Light “Lost”
After several Bud Light spots that were downright stupid, the brand aired this one. I have never seen an episode of Lost, but according to Twitter, it’s a very popular show. Sure, all beer commercials either attempt to make you think that animals love beer, or that every human being in the world would drop everything for a sip of golden goodness, but this ad works. The acting (inflection) in this spot is fantastic, from the girl who finds the radio, to the guy who finds the beverage cart (to the actual use of the term beverage cart) – really smart. Made me laugh.
#2 Google “Paris”
Isn’t it ironic that one of the best spots that aired during the Super Bowl was for a brand that really doesn’t need to advertise? I guess that when you’re king, you can throw a few million around if you’ve got a really good idea to share. Thank you Google for sharing this one. Smart, funny, empathetic, resonant, shows real use of the service – all the components of great communications.
#1 Snickers “Betty White”
You’ve got to hand it to Snickers (Mars) – they’re ballsy. If you’ve been paying attention to their advertising the past few years, you know they’ve done some seriously ‘different’ work. Sometimes too different for mass appeal. But man, when they enlisted Betty White, they knocked it out of the park. This spot is as creative as it is funny. And a great reminder that Abe Vigoda is still alive.
A Couple of Parting Shots
The Budweiser spot with the pony and calf who are ‘best friends’ – what the hell is that? An alcoholic (aka legal and addictive drugs) beverage company trying to appeal to children is pure evil. When my daughters (6, 8) saw this spot, they were giddy with laughter when the bull crashed through the gate. When the Bud logo came up, my oldest turned to me and said, “Why did that company make that ad, Daddy?” I had to be honest, “Because you’re their future consumer honey, that’s why.” Hey Budweiser, why not just use unicorns next year? And butterflies?
As far as the Tim Tebow ‘Focus on the Family’ spot is concerned, I honestly don’t get the controversy. It’s funny, it’s part of a true story (whether you like that story or not) and it actually asks you to take further action to learn more – a tactic that was lacking in most every other ad that ran last night. Sure, the GoDaddy commercials asked you to sign onto their website for something like lesbian sex (I’m guessing) but when a GoDaddy spot runs, an angel loses its wings.
The line of the night belonged to Hyundai: “At Hyundai, we believe that a safety feature like electronic stability control is too important to charge a premium for…” That’s pretty smart.
Finally, to next year’s Super Bowl advertisers: Please stop with all the people in their underwear, the slapping, hitting and all violence altogether, and relying on rodents as core creative concepts. Thanks.