Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Take On The Super Bowl


I have to chime in on my thoughts about the Super Bowl.  There are two ways to watch the commercials.  First, is as a consumer.  Second is as an advertising/marketing professional.  Because I was an account guy for so long, it is difficult me to do the former without letting the strategic and advertising creative side dominate.  But I have tried to be objective.

The interesting thing is that as a consumer, there were a number of spots which I thought were funny, entertaining and very likable.  A good example is Matthew Broderick.  It was a very clever idea to age Ferris Buehler. The commercial was funny and smart and I am sure will score well with consumers, but cynical advertising people like mewill all be saying that Matthew Broderick would never be driving a Honda SUV.  But then again, I don’t believe that consumers are as analytical as advertising professionals.  They probably don’t care if MB owns and drives one, but they may think better of the product for it.  According to Liz Gumbinner’s blog, that is exactly what happened.

I don’t like sophomoric humor so commercials like the Pepsi Elton John spot go right past me.  Ditto some of the Budweiser stuff, e*Trade (although I know people like cute babies), Doritos went right by me also.  Tax-Act (who?) may have had the worst spot in the Super Bowl; that they find humor in a kid peeing in a pool is disturbing.  John Stamos getting head butted is not funny and certainly doesn’t make me want to buy Oikos Yogurt. 

I thought that the Chrysler Clint Eastwood spot was a tour de force, both in terms of entertainment value and marketing smart.  Congratulations W+K.  It was the best spot in the game (even if it was at half time), from every point of view.  (As an aside, Clint Eastwood is an avowed conservative and was not doing a pro-Obama spot. It was just a good commercial for Chrysler.) 

Second best was the Goodby spot for the Chevrolet Sonic.  I thought it was brilliant.  It seems to have gone unheralded, but it should be given kudos from every quarter. It is totally believable and said a lot about the quality and durability of the car.  It is also fun to watch.   My number two favorite.  

What I simply don’t get is why when ad agencies (and their clients) decide to put a spot on the Super Bowl, they seem to both over think and over produce.  Whatever happened to plain old-fashioned good advertising?  The VW spot is a perfect example.  Who doesn’t love dogs?  Nice story.  But the secondary ending with the tribute to Star Wars was both incomprehensible and unnecessary.  I can only guess they wanted consumers to reference the spot they did last year, which was unnecessary.  
For a really good analysis, read the Steve Hayden/Lee Garfinkle analysis on Forbes.com.  They give a professional analysis of some of the spots which were released in advance.  My daughter’s blog post, referenced above, gives an unbiased (well, almost) female perspective..
Celebrities don’t hide a bad idea.  Elton John was funny in the Pepsi spot, but where is the idea behind it?    As Lee and Steve point out, Matthew Broderick absolutely does not drive a Honda SUV and neither does Jerry Steinfeld or Jay Leno drive an Acura. I always believed that a celebrity has to have some relationship to the product.

One last thought.  I think that what happened by NBC previewing commercials the commercials lost some of their specialness.  I am sure that advertisers did not think it through and merely thought that NBC, for their $3.5 million was giving them extra play.  Unfortunately, by doing this, consumers could actually leave the room during the commercial breaks because they had already seen the spots.  Too bad.

All in all, it was an average year.  Some good spots, some lousy.  But that is to be expected.

1 comment:

  1. Liked your take on the Superbowl ads. Here's mine on the Chevy truck ad http://www.speiser.com/chevy-apocalypse-fail/


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