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Leo’s Ad Notes & Trends – Best & Worst Superbowl Ads

Feb 4, 2013

The Superbowl is one of the last TV shows that reminds us how TV once was THE mass medium.  Here are some trends I observed:


– It’s hard to believe that there were so few companies that truly took advantage of the synergies of new and old media.  Standouts include Papa John, that collects customers’ “likes” and names by giving free pizzas to those who pre-register online and correctly guess the opening coin toss result.  Also, companies like M&M, Volkswagen, and Godaddy created a campaign blending email, Websites, and social media to pre-advertise their Superbowl commercial(s), boosting interest and buzz.  They produced good commercials, as well.  All advertisers should be doing integrated campaigns like this.


–  Other very good spots included Tide’s “Joe Montana Stain”, which was fun and related well to the product.  And Oreo’s big budget library spot, which focused on the simple message of whether it’s the cookie or the filling that’s the best part of an Oreo, made us laugh and got us hungry for Oreos – thank goodness we had some in the house.  At the end, the whispering by the police through the megaphone made us laugh out loud.  Also liked the Pizza Hut’s “Hut, Hut, Hut” commercial for brand memorability.  Clever!


– Note to advertisers, long, sappy image spots make people cry and rank high in post-event surveys but half a day later no one remembers anything about them nor buys anything because of it.


– Kudos to Pepsi for keeping their logo small in the corner during Beyonce’s halftime show to remind customers who was responsible for it.  Many companies overlook this subtle touch of identity.  (Pepsi must have read my January 9 Ad Tip about that.)


– What’s with the trend to longer commercials?  America has ADD and our attention span is measured in seconds, not minutes.  Dodge’s Paul Harvey drone about being a farmer which was way too long and completely misread the audience and their market.  Being a farmer isn’t the romantic notion it was 60-80 years ago when Harvey composed this stirring message, but even if it was, few want to hear about it for 2 minutes.  We heard that in one bar, the people actually booed this commercial.  Today’s America tunes out of 2 minute messages, which most did to Dodge.


– Coke and Budweiser, seem to have way too much money to spend on production, together with egos that imagine that consumers are way more interested in their brands than they really are.  Coke’s “Quest for Coke” suite of commercials was so complicated and contrived that itsmessage was lost as customers tuned out somewhere in the confusing middle of the first commercial.  And note to Budweiser: this isn’t Europe, even though your ownership now is.  Those odd people wearing black and partying in a mansion are unrecognizable to the real market for this quintessential blue collar American brand.


– Toyota lead the way with unrelated-to-the-product commercials that tacked on the product/logo at the end.  Toyoto was noteworthy, because their product lead-up also created an annoying environment just vefore they sprung their product on you.


– And what’s with Taco Bell’s Mr. Goldblatt spot?  Is Taco Bell making a play for the senior market?  Their market is young men so why are they making their product seem old instead of young and exciting?  What’s next, thinking outside the bun by making tacos on Saltines?


– Speaking of annoying, I’m always amazed at the creatives who think that creepy or gross spots create a postive selling environment – like the man nearly choking to death in the Century 21 spot while his wife ignored him, or the creepy guy folding the woman’s underwear in the deodorant commercial.  Yuk.


Good thing the football game was interesting this year.

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