We spent Monday discussing Super Bowl ads. How about you? Here are a few of my thoughts followed by a few thoughts by our team.
Two ads shook me with their awesomeness but for very different reasons. The “Like a Girl” ad for Always was perfect in every way. It reminds me of the great work Dove did for years. The 911 call audio PSA from No More was moving in a very different way.
A lot of people (okay, everyone on twitter) were disturbed by the Nationwide kid, and I’m struggling to find a difference between the core message of the Nationwide ad (2.8mm views on YouTube as of this writing) and the domestic violence prevention ad… IF… people’s argument with the Nationwide ad was that it brought down the mood. What? The domestic violence PSA didn’t?
If you want to talk about Nationwide’s money-waster on Sunday night, it was the Mindy Kaling / Matt Damon / Julia Roberts-voiced one (600k views as of this writing). So much talent… so much budget… so little relevance to whatever Nationwide’s message was supposed to be.
I loved Budweiser’s ad. No, not that one. I loved the craft beer troll ad. I loved how, like the ads that NASCAR and GoDaddy decided NOT to run, Budweiser wasn’t afraid to choose who to lose. You know who got mad? People who are NEVER going to buy Bud anyway. They raised their Bowling Alley Beer Flag and invited the people who like Bud to play hater on craft beer snobs along with them. I liked the dog one, too (almost 23mm views on YouTube!), but Bud’s done ads like that a dozen times.
I really like how Liam Neeson reinforced the sales message of the video game. This morning, though, I couldn’t remember which video game (it was for Clash of Clans). They all blended together, but then, I’m probably not the demographic.
I really disliked how The Dude didn’t reinforce the sales message. Having Jeff Bridges do something weird is a fun choice for the biggest tv event of the year, but it was such a poor tie-in with the sales message that I’m afraid Squarespace sacrificed clarity for cleverness.
Why did I like Katie and Bryant in the BMW ad using historical footage, but the Carnival ad using JFK’s archival audio left me hollow? I even remember that Katie and Bryant were pitching BMW.
The biggest gamble of the night was Loctite (even my spellcheck doesn’t know who they are). How many of you heard of them before Sunday night? How many people have heard of them now? They were weird, they showed their product regularly, they were… uh… weird. I’m imagining them begging, borrowing, and stealing to scrounge up the money to pay for that ad. They had to be pretty satisfied on Monday morning. Loctite won on a Hail Mary. Fitting for a Super Bowl.
I thought Toyota had the two most moving car ads that I wished were for a more moving product. I thought the most effective, most fitting car ad was for the Dodge Challenger.
More people asked me about the McDonald’s ad on my social media stuff, and I liked it, except it felt contrived, fake, and stagey to me. And my friend Jason Griffin was probably right when he wondered aloud on social media if it wasn’t an illegal lottery. It will be if they continue on with it.
What I know for sure is that if people were talking about you on Monday (and Tuesday if they didn’t write on Monday), you won at least a minor victory. There were a TON of other ads from a TON of other companies everyone ignored… so much money… poof… gone.
Here’s what our team thought:
As I think about the commercials, I put them in three categories: Sweet-Serious-Silly.
Top in the SWEET category was Dove’s Dad ad. Totally worked for me. Affirmed my impression of the brand. I buy their products. Budweiser came in a close second. (I used to buy their products!)
SERIOUS is an interesting category. The only serious ad that worked for me was the 911/Pizza Delivery ad. Given the recent spotlight on domestic violence in the NFL, the serious ad had context. The rest of them? Totally Wrong Bat Channel, Robin.
Now, for the SILLY category – We have options! My favorite was Liam and Clash of Clans. They seized the actor’s reputation for being invinsible yet made him approachable with the wrong-name-calling in the Starbucks-like offee shop. Perfect mix. In second place was the Dorito’s ad featuring the beautiful mom. We can all relate to the passenger’s quandry even though he played it over the top. The fact that she falls asleep and he gets ‘quality time’ with the infant expands the audience from male-only to moms who buy snacks! Well done. Always like Snickers and esurance was memorable, too.
Nissan’s Cats In The Cradle was awful. My opinion. When it was over, I looked at Tom and asked, “Didn’t they miss the point?” “Yeah, pretty much.”
My favorite was Liam Neeson Clash of Clans ad, and I also agree with the Nissan ad being the most puzzling…in a bad way. I felt, certainly during the first half, that the overall feel of the commercials in general was much more serious/somber than what I remember in years past. There didn’t seem to be the lot of funny ads. I didn’t like feeling bad/sad watching a (non-Chicago Bear) football game.
I enjoyed the Toyota Dad ad best of all. The actor was really good. And the lost puppy Budweiser ad pulled at my heartstrings but did not make me go buy Budweiser. (Also, I ate some really delicious mocha frosted brownies that my friend Sarah made.)
Ryan’s Super Bowl Commercial Wrap-Up
Best Use of an A-List Celebrity
TIE: Clan of Clans with Liam Neeson / Esurance with Bryan Cranston
Best Use of a D-List Celebrity
Worst Use of a Celebrity
Best Dad-Themed Commercial
Toyota “My Bold Dad”
Worst Dad-Themed Commercial
Nissan misguided interpretation of Harry Chapin’s Cats In The Cradle
Best Commercial That Nobody’s Talking About
Dodge – “Wisdom”
Worst Commercial That Everybody’s Talking About
Budweiser’s “Lost Puppy”
Best “What The?” Commercial
Loctite Super Glue – “Dance”
Worst “What The?” Commercial
Best Commercial To Watch With My 10-Year-Old Daughter
Always “Like A Girl”
Worst Commercial To Watch With My 10-Year-Old Daughter
Best “Whoa” Moment
No More’s domestic violence “911/Pizza Order”
Worst “Whoa” Moment
Nationwide’s Heart-Was-In-The-Right-Place-But-Still-Killed-My-Buzz “Make Safe Happen”
Commercials That Made Me Laugh But Didn’t Want To Make Me Buy Their Products
Avocados from Mexico – “First Draft Ever”
Doritos – “Middle Seat”
Snickers – “The Brady Bunch”
So, those are our thoughts? What are yours? Feel free to continue this discussion in our comments about this post on our Facebook page.