The trends that last and the trends that are relevant are the ones that make you look pretty.—Aerin Lauder
Whew, I am so very happy the Super Bowl is over if for no other reason than it’s likely to take a week for my indigestion to die down. There is still wing residue on my keyboard this morning and the over-abundance of dip and chips tells me what the kids will have for afterschool snacks this week. With some wacky weather moving in later this morning, it will be nice to talk about something else, once we tidy up a few loose ends around here.
Super Bowl ad watching has become just as much a part of the event as the football game itself. Some years, it’s been more exciting than the game, and let’s be honest, there were moments during the third and start of the fourth quarter when we might not have minded a few more ads to break the monotony of three-downs-and-punt. There were, as always, some very good ads, some horrible ads, and some that didn’t get the attention they deserve. There are also several rankings of the ads this morning. AdWeek and USAToday’s AdMeter are two decent lists if you’re interested. A lot of people look at Twitter response as well, but that can hardly be considered accurate, especially after half-way through the second quarter when a good portion of those tweeting are clearly drunk.
I’m going with a slightly different ranking system from what others use. Since we saw the vast majority of commercials before the game, what I found interesting was how some commercials actually felt different when viewed during the game than watching them cold beforehand. I was more likely to be entertained by an ad after one of the three touchdowns than one during the third quarter when the game fell into a rut. Reactions of friends also influenced my opinion, as happens for everyone. People viewing ads as a group almost always score them differently than when watching them alone. Overall, I was less entertained by the humor and more struck by the emotional ads. Let’s take a look at my top five:
Reaction to this one likely depends upon one’s age, whether one has children, and whether one was n a group when it came on. Kat and I had very different reactions. I thought it was hilarious. She thought it was a bit gross. We were both thankful the children were already in bed. This was the last of the Doritos “Crash The Super Bowl” contests, though, and one gets the feeling that no one was quite as enthused about it this year as with previous games. Given a choice between this one and the dogs, this is the clear winner.
Kia, ‘Walken Closet’
I still have questions about this one, including whether the dude in the tan suit is driving that care barefoot. Christopher Walken makes an excellent case for a car I probably wouldn’t otherwise consider, though, and that’s what Kia needed. The fourth-quarter ad really helps them stand out from all the other automobile ads in the game and came late enough, when people were actually paying attention, that they might stand a chance of remembering the ad when they pass a Kia dealership on the way to work this morning. The add didn’t hit the trends hard, but it works.
NFL, ‘Super Bowl Babies Choir’
I fear the NFL may have shot themselves in the foot a bit with how they teased this one in five-second spots throughout the game. By the time the 60-second version showed up late in the fourth quarter, it felt as though we’d already seen it before and I have a feeling a lot of folks just weren’t paying attention so it completely missed the trends. Millennials without children didn’t seem to get the concept at all, which is not new. Still, the commercial is probably one of the few times the NFL has actually made me smile this season. The little ones are cute. Seal doing a parody of his own song is hilarious. And you know damn good and well there are going to be some babies in Denver come October.
Hyundai, ‘First Date’
Those of you with daughters understand. Actually, anyone with teenagers of driving age understands. The tracking technology built into this car has many potential uses. Live in a high crime rate area? Catch a car thief with this tracker. Suspect that someone’s not where they say they are? Follow up on them. There’s a potential creepy element here because if that thing is using GPS to do the tracking, then it can be hacked. Hello, stalker alert! Still, there’s not a dad alive who doesn’t want to send a message to the guy dating his daughter. This was funny.
Hands down, my favorite of the game. That may well be a reflection of my age, though. While the ad trends really well with the Baby Boomers of my generation, it resonated less with younger generations. Millennials didn’t get many of the references, some of which were a bit of a stretch in the first place. There are dangers to reaching too far back into history and the ad flirts with that line but doesn’t quite cross it. AdWeek has a nice article on the relationship between the faces and the vehicle, in case you missed a few. The ad touches on the nostalgia of the vehicle and its universal reliance as a vehicle that gets one through the rough patches. I’ve always wanted a Jeep and this ad really stoked that fire. Too bad I can’t drive.
There were some major disappointments along the way, too. The Coca-Cola ad with Marvel’s Hulk? Not a winner. Butterfingers big reveal? A complete letdown. Taco Bell’s new product? More of the same, just given a silly name. Perhaps most disappointing was the complete strike-out by all the Budweiser brands. When they’ve done so much better, this year’s crop fell well short of the standard.
But we’re done with them now. Hooray! Just in time to make fun of the gooey Valentine’s Day commercials!