A bad review is like baking a cake with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it.—Danielle Steel
I feel as though I have spent the entire week doing nothing but looking at Super Bowl ads and teasers. I haven’t, mind you, it just feels that way. I’m now hungry, want a new car, and need a cold beer. CBS managed to sell a tremendous amount of air time for this game. In fact, I’ve wondered more than once if, once the total times are tallied, there might be more ad than there is game; that is certainly a possibility with a variable-length broadcast. We’ve seen previous games that went long and ads had to be re-run in order to cover all the timeout spots. I don’t think we’re in much danger of that this year, though. There are more than enough ads to go around.
Not all of them are going to be good, however, and I fully expect to see some pushback on the commercial from SoFi, which classifies people as great or not great without ever explaining exactly what they mean by “great.” In the same category, the new PayPal ad is going to come across as hypocritical to anyone who actually has tried to use the system and ran afoul of their myriad rules and regulations. SunTrust is a newcomer to the game, but their ad borders on being depressing. Maybe the Super Bowl isn’t the best time in the world to be talking about financial services.
There are also several brands that are keeping their lips shut about the ads they’ll be showing on Sunday. Coca-Cola finally revealed that they’re partnering with Marvel for their ad, but that’s about all we know. Buick, ChryslerFiat, Marmot, TurboTax and Disney have teased at the content of their ads, but none of those teasers really have me waiting with baited breath for the finished product. Knowing the production quality Coke puts into everything, I’m betting on that one to be in the top five come game day.
Of all the ads I’ve suffered through, there is still a handful that I think will play well. Some might even be inspiring. Certainly, one that is aiming to make you stop and put down your beer for a second is the ad from Mini USA. The ad, called “Defy Labels,” features major athletes and celebrities who themselves defy the labels that might be projected upon them. In an age where we’re all about labeling people who we think are different than us, the commercial sends a powerful message. Take a look:
Also falling into that serious tone is a commercial from WeatherTech, a manufacturer of automotive floor covers. It feels a bit strange putting this in our review because I don’t really expect our readers to recognize the brand. While theirs may not be the sexiest of products, in fact, theirs is probably one of the most overlooked features of any automobile, their ad hits a strong patriotic nerve that is likely to resonate well during this election year. This is WeatherTech’s third time advertising in the big game, and given the price of a spot we have to assume it’s working for them. Here’s the ad:
I only wish they all did as good a job at holding my attention for 30 seconds. Sadly, they don’t and this wouldn’t be an honest review if I said otherwise. Ads by LG, Kia, and Apartments.com bring some big star power to their ads, but in the end were either just too silly or left us scratching our heads (did the guy in the Kia commercial ever get to put on socks?). Of course, schtick is part and parcel of game day advertising, I get that. It’s just that only a few do it really well. Two that you’re likely to remember are the ads for the Honda Ridgeline and Avocados from Mexico. Both are heavy on the campiness but still manage to leave you giggling rather than looking for a place to throw up. Here they both are:
Then, there are the ads that are funniest if you remember what the brand did last year. It’s easy when we review these things because I can always go back and check the original. During the game, that’s a bit more challenging. Winning that category is Snickers. Remember that Brady Bunch-themed ad where Danny Trejo takes the place of Jan Brady? That one peaked ad meters everywhere. This year, they went with William DeFoe and a much more classic setting. Take a look:
The ad I think is most likely to have people talking after the game is actually from the NFL itself. This made the hours of review worthwhile. They gathered together people who were conceived after their parents’ favorite team won the Super Bowl. How, exactly, they did this, I can’t imagine. Without question, a tremendous effort was involved just trying to identify people who fit such a vary narrow criteria. Then, re-writing the song by Seal, getting Seal to help sing the song, teaching the song to children … this is one very ambitious commercial. What’s more, it could potentially spell bad news for Stephen Colbert whose show is on right after the game. If football fans get the idea for sex in their heads, Colbert is the last thing they’re likely to watch once the game is over. Unfortunately, only a 60-second version of the spot airs during the game. So, aren’t you happy I have the whole three-minute version for you here? You’re welcome. Enjoy.
So many cute little faces! And there are plenty of babies and children through all the ads. There are still several, including Taco Bell, Doritos, and Butterfinger, that could very well end up being huge hits, and there are still four more ads from Budweiser we’ve not yet seen. I won’t speak to the quality of the game, but the ads are definitely not boring this year! So, stock up on cold beer and/or soda, order plenty of wings, and sit back and enjoy.
Except for that Mountain Dew Kickstart ad. I’ve no idea what the folks at BBDO were thinking. Leave the room for that one. Trust me.