Can’t be thankful enough for the great input on SuperBowl spots. Today, we continue. Yes, we’ll be getting back o the “who got what job, etc”, but not this week. Go pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy what your colleagues have to say. PS- tomorrow we get the scoop from Media General’s PAUL GAULKE, KOLD’s LEC COBLE and from down in New Orleans, KELLY DONNELL. Let’s kick off with one of my favorite, most insightful people on the planet:
From DIANA RICHARDSON, Mkt./Promo Survivor of Stations Too Numerous To Mention:
“OK, let’s hear it for the animals, and not the human kind, they were too beastly…I mean, ripping off chest hair for Snickers Candy Bars??? Keep your candy…I’ll vote for beer.
“My #1 Choice…Budweiser’s Faux Dalmatian, yes! I’ll adopt that dog, buy the beer, buy Bud stock! Then get the dog to replace David Spade in “Rules of Engagement”.
“#2 Choice…. Blockbuster’s mouse, rabbit and hamster (I think) hi-jinks…got the biggest laugh of the evening with my focus group (1 guy and 3 women) but then the guy couldn’t remember the product 5 seconds later.
“#3 Choice Taco Bell Taquitos “Talking Lions”…good copy, well done.
“In the people category, tho, applause to those who came up with the idea of the “Letterman/Oprah” spot.
“And for show promotion, the CBS show Promotion machine was a bigger juggernaut than the Colts. What do you suppose the retail dollar value was of all those promotion avails? And how many of the local affils do you suppose opened avails (other than Ids) for their own products? Here in Orlando WKMG had 1- 30” for a news series next week. Do we know CBS is the home of CSI? Survival? Katie Couric? Yes. A kazillion GRPs to beat the message home.
“As to all the testosterone and technology, it’s a blur that doesn’t sell to my gender or demo. And there’s a lot to be said about “Keeping It Simple”…for those of us who long for more Mean Joe Greens and a wide-eyed kid, or a chorus of flower children on a hillside singing a song you could not get out of your head….”I want to teach the world to sing…in perfect harmony….” For that I’d buy Coca Cola or their stock.”
From fair-weather Bears fan DIANE HANNES, VP, Creative Services, WMAQ-TV, Chicago:
“So everybody wants to work in marketing, eh? Well, there’s Super Bowl proof this year that it’s still lucrative. As far as funny spots, Anheuser-Busch sets the gold standard and they didn’t disappoint. My personal favorites were the “Reception,” where the groomsmen were so desperate for a Bud Light that the best man hired an auctioneer to move the ceremony along, and Bud Light “Hitchhiker/Ax man” perfect for the demo, made me laugh out loud. Yes, these were “chick spots” but Bud covered the full demo gamut with their face-slapping, rock throwing entries.
“I liked the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” challenge winner too. A beer budget spot worthy of the big time. No announce, bold graphics, targeted message really broke through the clutter and worked well even on mute.
“Sentimental favorites: Black History themed spots from Coke and Frito Lay.
“Best Kept Secret: Dave Letterman and Oprah…further proof why everybody wants to work in marketing!”
DAVID HERSHEY, Director of Creative Services at CBS 11/TXA 21 Dallas-Fort Worth calls his wrap-up: Super Bowl Ads Prove ‘Everything Old is New Again!’
“Modern TV advertising seems to go through different phases with the passing of each Super Bowl. Several years ago, during the dot-com boom, we were bombarded with quirky ‘what the heck was that’ ads for many companies that no longer even exist. Then, came the ‘animals-as-human’ phase for pitching everything from beer to insurance (wouldn’t you love to see the Budweiser Frogs put a hurtin’ on the AFLAC duck?). This year, some of those same techniques found their way into Super Bowl 41. And, I have to admit, I yawned through most of them. However, there were a couple of not-so-new trends that seemed to re-emerge from this year’s crop of super-ads. I like to think of them as ‘old school’ ads. They may not be the most flashy, but they did a really good job of selling their product.
“One ‘old school’ technique to come back this year was the ‘product test.’ Like the old days where those Ginsu knives cut through the tin can, some advertisers this year couldn’t wait to show how their products ‘pass the test.’ Toyota ran a series of ads for their Tundra series truck. The first ad literally showed an extreme testing track for speed and braking. The second ad showed the Tundra hauling 10,000 pounds up a huge inclined ramp, then back down the other side to show effective braking. I noted this ad because it actually made my wife (who could care less about a pick-up truck) say ‘whoa.’ The next product test was actually targeting women. Of all advertisers, Revlon caught my eye when they ran a proof-of product ad featuring Sheryl Crow. The spot showed the pop singer being convinced to use their hair-color product for an entire tour. Of course, her hair looked great the entire time. And, in another ad (which may have only been seen regionally here in Dallas), Lexus decided to drop a car from a plane; while another Lexus had to travel the same distance on land before the airborne reached impact. Of course, it did and we were shown to believe a Lexus is faster than gravity. Good visuals, proving strong points about the product. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
“This was also the year advertisers apparently decided to fire their big-time ad agencies and let average, everyday people generate their creative. Several ads for Doritos were done this way…one of them showing a guy crashing into an airbag of his Doritos. And, an ad for Chevy featured near-naked men washing a new car driven by a group of women. It proclaimed it was a ‘college ad contest winner.’ Even the NFL got into the act. The Gods of Football executed a season-long campaign asking ordinary folks to pitch the concept for their big Super Bowl ad. The winning concept came from a guy in New Hampshire who thought it would be wildly creative to show fans from other non-super bowl teams sadly saying goodbye to their season. One problem; I distinctly remember this being the concept of a series of spots promoting the World Series/post-season on Fox this past year. All in all, the ‘amateur ads’ gave those of us in the ad business renewed optimism. None of them seemed to break through the clutter in the big game. Let’s hope the season-long contest promotion is where the advertisers really reached their potential customers.
“Of course, there were plenty of the ‘Make Me Laugh, Maybe I’ll Remember You’ ad techniques. Bud Light has a patent on this. And, their ads this year were clever as usually, especially the Best Man whom hires and auctioneer to perform the wedding ceremony. Then there was the one that showed how the fist-bump evolves into a face-slap for guys.. And, of course, the couple that picks up an Axe-murderer/hitchhiker because he’s got Bud Light. But, some other ads weren’t as effective using this technique, like the Sierra Mist spots featuring a guy that does a ‘beard comb-over’ and a Karate class. I’m really not sure what they were going for with either, but I’m sure somebody somewhere thought they would be funny. Garmin’s one ad showed an everyday guy turning into a superhero (ala Ultraman) to do battle with a ‘map monster.’ Editors note- Since Ultraman was one of the coolest shows I ever watched as a kid, I’ll have to endorse this ad in a completely biased and unfair manner. However, Careerbuilder’s ‘survive the workweek ads’ were only mildly funny, but at least supported their marketing premise for finding you a new job. These ‘make me laugh’ spots are a sure way to get buzz around the watercooler…and if they sold beer there too, maybe they’d be a success. This ‘make me laugh’ technique can be very effective for creative that’s actually funny and consistent. Those that try for the one-time prat-fall seem to fail miserably.
“Of course, some of the grand-daddy advertisers showed up in force to evoke emotion from us. Budweiser and Coke are world-famous for this (who could forget the cute Polar Bears who drink Coke?). That’s the place I thought Bud’s Dalmatian/dog ad was going. A stray dog eventually realizes he can pass for an adored Dalmatian after he’s splashed with mud. He then takes his place in a parade on the Budweiser fire wagon but then gives the real Dalmatian a CGI-generated wink…as if to say, ‘hey, when you don’t get what you want, cheat!’ For me, it ruined the moment…whatever the moment was supposed to be. Coke also spent the entire night trying to convince us there’s a better slogan than ‘It’s the Real Thing.’ Now, it seems they want us to embrace ‘The Coke Side of Life’ as a slogan. Their ads featured everything from an old man’s last attempts at living an exciting life to a video-game-looking ad telling us to ‘spread the love.’ Both were only mildly effective at making me want to grab a Coke. And, I still think they should just admit ‘it’s the real thing’ should be their permanent slogan, like it or not! These ads were generally well done, but none of them evoked the kind of buzz as in years past.
“One other important note about this year’s crop of spots. There were some pretty big advertisers who were visibly absent at this year’s game (either that, or I completely missed them in my DVR!) Among the no-shows were Apple, Microsoft, AFLAC, McDonald’s and Pepsi (unless you count the fact they sponsored the half-time show featuring Prince). And even super-ad giant Fed-Ex only had one ad that I saw featuring a moon colony trying to send packages back to Earth.
“CBS also ran a lot of promotion for everything from CSI to the Grammy’s. But I thought the most magic moment for them was the simple: 10 spot showing David Letterman in his Colts jersey snuggling up on the couch with Oprah and her Bear’s jersey…purely brilliant.
“Overall, I came away from this year’s game with renewed optimism in our industry.
Amateurs will finally realize what we do isn’t that easy! And, I also took away some solid reminders that will help me become a better ad professional.
“First, it’s easier for viewers to trust the brand that’s not afraid to really show you/or talk directly about their product. Right before the game began, Ford actually showed us every single part of their new Super-duty truck coming together.
“Secondly, viewers tend to be wary of the ad that tries to do everything BUT show you the product (I’m still not sure what the heck godaddy.com will do to make my life better…but I don’t trust them!).
“All in all, it was a mildly entertaining crop of super ads this year. But just like in the good-old-days, the real excitement wasn’t during the commercial breaks in Super Bowl 41, it was on the field!