The Ravens upset the 49ers, squares paid and hundreds of thousands of chicken wings were consumed (along with quantities of my cousin Barb’s Mystery Salad – oh, yum). The Showgirls won the Chase for Coke, marvelously integrating internet media and building web hits. Watching the Badlands get sabotaged by a chicken crossing the road was not quite worth the eternity it took to download the voting screen to my iPhone – and I would have liked to have seen one more stage of the race on television instead of just the winners, completely after the fact and almost missed as we headed out the door.
What other winners were out there this evening? Here’s my take on it – please reply or post yours.
The Century 21 series was effective, giving me a nice little chuckle about how these real estate agents solved problems. The best part was that they solved it with their own “product”, finding houses, clearly showing the benefit of Century 21. I do like a continuing story in advertising throughout the game and while the mega-lottery winner and the mother-in-law at the wedding weren’t one story, there was a well-defined thread. Kudos to Century 21.
McDonald’s, with the All American jersey pulled out of the bag by a young player, made my throat tighten just a bit. But I am always and forever a sucker for a kid getting recognized for achievements. Not a real touchdown, but not a shanked punt either.
Hyundai and Flaming Lips took a wild ride through museums and zoos and skate parks and more. While I like the slogan “Make Every Day Epic,” the child’s question of “what now?” made me feel that this kind of “every day epic” encourages the need for instant gratification. (Kids, really, it’s okay to be bored! Boredom is what makes you creative!) A little better was the small boy picking his team from all the local heroes (what kind of accursed town does he live in?). Hyundai’s best was “Better To Be In Front” showing the negatives of following others on the road, from motorcycling butt cracks to toxic waste to dog drool, and the positive of being in a Hyundai that can pass.
Audi scored a big winner with the dateless boy who, fueled by the power of his dad’s car, strides up to the prom queen and gives her a kiss to remember. The flash to him back in the car, shouting joyfully and sporting a beaut of a shiner was not only a good laugh but a stellar way to communicate the feeling of overwhelming confidence an Audi will give you. Mercedes Benz’ fantasy of life after signing the deal with the devil was nicely avoided by the affordable price, and nicely executed in story and in visuals. Not outstanding, but certainly not ineffective. The blonde geni was fun and while they did try to integrate the car into the creative, the only reason I know it was a Toyota is that I wrote it down. Except for the trip into space, the car seemed an afterthought. Could the princess have been in the car instead of on a horse? Could the car have been filled with chocolate to combat that deficiency? Infinite witches? What? Fun is fun, but you’re spending millions on Superbowl air time so people will remember your product, not the witches.
The Kia Sorento was the same. The car is a perfect place to have a true conversation with your kids, but Babylandia went too far away from the car and seemed dreadfully outdated. People still can’t give their kids a straight answer to a simple science question? Kia and the protective robots, you’ve put me in a quandary. Yes, we want devotion to our product, and it was cleverly conveyed, but do we want someone interested in taking a test drive thrown into a wall?
Only one word for the Lincoln commercials – BOOO-RRRRING.
Budweiser, where are the frogs? Oh, please, bring back the level of creativity that developed those frogs! The Black Crown commercials completely destroyed my affection for continuing stories. This bland, this unimaginative, this … nothing! at Superbowl prices? The Clydesdale story of the unbreakable bond between pony and breeder just tried too hard to induce sentiment – and it did not work for me. I understand that New Orleans has a history with voodoo, but I don’t imagine Louisiana’s Tourism Bureau is doing backflips over those strange commercials. And I really wasn’t either. The lucky chair made no sense to me at the first viewing because the two white guys looked too much alike. Redds Apple Ale was just too obvious and stilted.
I have never understood the M&Ms being alive but still edible – and my confusion was not cleared up by this evening’s romance and subsequent “cannibalism.” It’s weird, Mars. Way too weird. Blackberry confused me too. If the phone does so many amazing things, why do you have to make stuff up?
Doritos scored with the Princess Party men, lured by the promise of chips. Great detail with the chips all over the tough guy’s beard as he’s clad in her wedding gown. The Goat For Sale – eh, not so much. Who buys a goat on impulse, for cripes sake?
It’s okay to duct tape someone to the ceiling as long as it’s powered by Pepsi and not alcohol? I’m not clear on how lower sugar made that all acceptable. A grin maybe, but not a laugh. Coke, on the other hand, did a beautiful and inspiring job with the montage of all the positive things security cameras catch. How lovely to emphasize all that helpfulness, all that trustworthiness, all that love. It made me want to teach the world to sing all over again.
Sodastream was also very effective. The graphic visual of all those soda bottles popping open and spilling out of trucks, onto floors, was exquisite shorthand for what the product is meant to do for the buyer.
Amy Poehler was adorable for Best Buy, but with the slogan about “thousands of experts”, it would have been nice to see the Best Buy guy actually answering some of her questions (perhaps in that same rapid fire delivery).
Oreo was a good giggle, with creme versus cookie supporters wreaking absolute havoc in a library while continuing to whisper. This was charming, but will I remember this was about Oreos? Or will I just remember everyone being quiet while breaking up the book stacks? Who is allowed to eat Oreos in the library anyway?
Was it just me or was the spot for Fast and Furious extremely ill-placed (and out-and-out inappropriate) following the chorus from Sandy Hook? and the baby wolf communicated their concept of “no drama” deals exceedingly well. And made me want to go buy a Huskie puppy. Skechers foray into the animal kingdom was executed even better. The wink between the human and the gazelle after he had tackled and tied up the cheetah created a bond of trust  – and the fist bump just sealed the deal. Clever, clever.
Calvin Klein missed with their underwear commercial. As Mark noted, “so I put on that underwear and I’ll look like that?” Agreed – were they selling underwear or the Slendertone Flex Pro Abdominal Muscle Toner?
VW Bug was a happy surprise. The Jamaica/Minnesotan was charming, but I figured he was shilling for the Jamaican Tourism Department, or maybe even Red Stripe. Loved that the boss got a little Rasta in him after a ride in the Bug. Yes, I believe a Bug can make you feel like that. Another happy surprise was the Gildan t-shirt spot. Dismayed and confused, he has obviously blanked on why he’s there, but he knows he shouldn’t be. But the love of this t-shirt causes him to take a risk that he wouldn’t otherwise consider. Nicely done! Speed Stick presented a funny little story about the sudden need for help with perspiration with its panty folding – wonderful wordplay and expression play between the actor and actress.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson doesn’t thrill me and neither did the milk commercial. The outlandish scenarios were too predictable. I had the same problem with eTrade, where the baby (is someone cloning this kid? How many videos did they make of this little guy so many years ago? isn’t anyone creeped out that he’s never getting older?) blows his extra money on hot tubs, airplanes and champagne. No one put much thought into these – or at least much original thought.
Paul Harvey, even though he is dead and gone, did a marvelous job with the voiceover for Ram. Although the product placement was too subtle for my tastes, the spot was elegant, heartwarming and stirring. As a branding piece, it succeeded.
Jeep, why Oprah? The story was more than enough, your role in Safe Return, understated and subtle, hit the perfect tone. Oprah didn’t add to the message, she actually detracted, as my initial thought was this was a promo for an upcoming piece about soldiers on her show. Another narrator and you’ve got a touchdown. This one was fumbled at the 3-yard line.
Also fumbling was the Axe Apollo spot. Girlfriend, this man punched out a shark for you and you’re going to leave him for a guy who isn’t even a REAL astronaut? He’s like some strange Dungeons-and-Dragons space adaptation with perfume? I hope my daughter is never that stupid.
Honda, Jimmy Johns – Really? Psy Pistachios commercial – ditto.
Tide’s Miracle Stain, with Joe Montana in salsa on a 49ers jersey was a gem, right down to the wife’s sneaky “Go Ravens.” Also a gem was the Samsung spot with Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan each thinking they are the Next Big Thing and then agreeing that it’s really LeBron James. Well acted (I would hope), well written and a great show piece for all of Samsung’s technology.
Subway had one in the loser column and one in the winner column. “February” is just not that difficult to pronounce; that’s the loser. Jared celebrating 15 years of keeping the weight off with Subway; ding! ding! ding! Winner! It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t clever, it wasn’t even fancy. It was promoting the benefit of the product, simple and true. Well done!
As Taco Bell has seemed to replace White Castle as the place to “carb up” after a night of debauchery, the tale of seniors clubbing, setting off fireworks, trespassing and skinny dipping, getting tattoos, exposing their “breasts” and then ending up at Taco Bell with the police giving them the stink eye was genius. The attitude was spot-on, the adventures were perfect and the last scene, as they drift back into the retirement home, with the huge tattoo visible, was masterful. A+, Taco Bell.
So what’s my best and what’s my worst?
GoDaddy’s stupid, pandering, exploitive commercials have always offended me on SO many levels. Smart Meets Sexy had the entire party I attended open-mouthed, staring at the TV and listening to the slurping, sucking sounds. The universal reaction? “That. Was. So. Wrong. On every level. Just. Wrong.” And disgusting too. Yep, that’s my worst.
But my best is also GoDaddy. The couples from around the world, all with husbands talking about this original, fantastic, no-one-has-ever-thought-of-this-idea to their wives was FABULOUS. It was funny, it got my attention and I could relate to their enthusiasm. It communicated this concept so well – that everyone thinks they are the ONLY ONE with this idea, yet it pops up at the grocery store or an infomercial. And the smart guy is the only one that registered with GoDaddy. A standing O for this commercial! I’m so glad someone thought of it.
Which commercial was your favorite? Post or reply your answer and I’ll randomly select an answer to win a $10 gift card to Panera Bread.