The Telegraph team talks the good, the bad and the just plain weird ads of the Super Bowl 2016.
My favorite Super Bowl commercial is Heinz. They get an A+. It is simple, clever and hilarious. No celebrities, just a horde of Dachshunds dressed as hot dogs (wiener dogs) running in slow motion across a field toward a handful of humans in Heinz condiment suits. The background music is on point with Harry Nilsson’s (“I can’t live if living is…”) “Without You.” The commercial is light-hearted, not too goofy and creative. Kudos.
It was hard for me to pay attention to the ads this year, as I was watching the game in a crowded area with no closed captioning or loud speakers. But I think this presents a unique look into the ads this year and every year; if an ad is truly going to work, shouldn't it grab the attention of someone like me amidst my loud, crazy environment? A few ads this year did, but one stood out to me.
It wasn't a terribly clever Coke ad, it wasn't a hilariously funny Doritos ad, and it wasn't heartfelt but pseudo creepy erectile dysfunction pill ad. No the commercial that caught my attention this year was from Inuit Quickbooks, and here's why.
The commercial starts off as a pretty generic Viking scene of men rowing their ship through a storm and screaming of glory in Valhalla. Then it cuts to a man drinking coffee, and we find out that the product is Deathwish Coffee, tagline, "Fiercely Caffeinated." THEN it cuts to a Quickbooks logo and says "Proudly putting small business into the Super Bowl." End.
At first, I was confused. But then, it all sort of made sense. That wasn't a Starbucks commercial, or a Folger's commercial, or a Dunkin Donuts commercial. That was a SUPER BOWL commercial for a small coffee shop in upstate New York. Paid for by Quickbooks. The person inside me that's always rooting for the underdog did a fist pump. I had just heard of a company I would have never heard of otherwise thanks to the Super Bowl, and that NEVER happens. You can pretty much assume that every commercial you see during the Super Bowl is going to be a company you've heard of before. Well not this year.
The REAL intrigue behind this though, is the message. No, not the Vikings and the coffee. The small business aspect! If I'm a small business owner, and I see that ad, I am DEFINITELY thinking about Quickbooks. For most commercials, it's about the content of that commercial, because, hell, I already know what Budweiser and Jeep and Sony make. I have NO idea what Quickbooks does. It did enough for me to want to check them out, and, while I don't see myself using Quickbooks in the near future, they caught my eye with a new approach to Super Bowl ads. But. I am TOTALLY buying Deathwish Coffee in the future. Cause that shit looks awesome. Well done Quickbooks. Well done.
This year's Jeep commercial was very similar to the one Dodge Ram did a few years ago about a farmer. These type of commercials really feed off the emotion side and are intended to stir up a feeling. The jeep commercial had the best emotional appeal and was, in my opinion, the best commercial during Super Bowl 50. It started off like we were looking at well traveled man who has been all over the world and through many adventures. Then we begin to see pictures of famous celebrities along with normal everyday people who all share the Jeep spirit. Finally, Jeep ends the video with "We don't make Jeep. You do."
Super Bowl ads used to be all about making a big impression. America gathered around their TV sets and in real time formed their collective first impressions of the much anticipated ads. But in today’s reality, the big reveals during the big game aren’t necessarily the most important impressions for brands and advertisers to consider. In a world where content is available to consumers 24/7, on their terms, an ad's success may be more accurately measured in number of impressions than the impression it makes.
Consider this. Half of all online views of last year’s Super Bowl ads happened prior to kickoff. This year, there were nearly 375 million views of Super Bowl ads or teasers from over 50 brands before Super Bowl Sunday even arrived. Pokemon’s 20th anniversary spot for example, had 14.9 million organic views and 353,000 social actions before the big game ever started. Esurance’s sweepstakes ad caused them to be the most mentioned brand during the Super Bowl, with more than 835,000 tweets, and their ad didn’t even air during the game! How’s that for making an impression?
So, I could tell you that I absolutely loved the Avocados from Mexico spot, and it actually did make me go out and buy some the next day. Or that Puppy Monkey Baby cracks me up every time, even though I’ll definitely never drink a Mountain Dew Kickstart. Or that while, in my opinion, you could never go wrong with an Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen combo, it was really PBR’s social trolling of Bud Light’s spot that got my attention. But, does my impression even matter, or is it my impressions they’re really after?
Sunday night there were a lot of great super bowl ads: from hot dog dogs to PETA's depiction of vegan advantages. But as a father with growing girls, Kevin Heart's “Hyundai dad” commercial speaks to me as I am sure it does to all dads. Shamelessly and humorously it expresses what we all secretly wish we could do when our little girls go out on a date, to keep an eye on and maintain GPS location on the kids. While I am sure it is not the vehicle's primary selling point, it certainly does help me give it extra consideration. Great ad Hyundai.
A lot of this year’s Super Bowl commercials had me asking the same question: Was that brilliantly funny weird, or just completely weird?
The winning commercial in my opinion? Avocados from Mexico. Brilliantly funny weird. It was full of witty and hilarious one-liners and it stayed true to their brand message. They have become a real player as far as Super Bowl commercials in 2015 and 2016. Not only was their commercial a home run, they were dominating live tweeting throughout the game by engaging with all mentions (#Avosinspace) and other popular brands whose commercials were trending. I look forward to what brilliantly funny weird commercial they run next year!
I’ve always been a sucker for ads that make me think. I remember letting out a few tears over the #LikeAGirl campaign and don’t even get me started with last year’s commercial when the woman dialed 911 ordering a pizza. Judge me all you want, but those are ones that really get people talking. They are effective because they set such a different tone against the lighthearted Doritos ads. And because of that, they are sometimes overlooked.
The one ad that truly caught my attention this year was the domestic violence commercial. It was so simple: just a casual text conversation between friends about attending a Super Bowl party, but the simplicity of it truly captured how we communicate with one another. The short exchange between the two revealed how saying so little (“Jake is in one of his moods”) can also say so much.
Domestic violence is a real issue that isn’t talked about enough. And while the commercial may have fell short of expectations from last year’s 911 Pizza Call it still hit the nail on the head when it comes to identifying subtle signs of abuse. Props to #NoMore and the NFL for bringing issues of domestic violence into the spotlight.
A whole bunch of BLAH (and beer). However, for me, the best advertising moment was during the postgame celebration when the Sheriff mentioned he was going to “drink a lot of Budweiser tonight.” Budweiser for the win.
Super Bowl 50 ads? To use the parlance of our times, "Meh." So we were informed prior to the game that we would have to write a blog on the Super Bowl commercials. We were asked to "pay attention." I decided to do the opposite. I entertained guests, took drink orders and served appetizers. It was the commercials' job to get my attention.
Who won? The Jeep commercial was the only one that really succeeded in making me stop, watch the screen and wait for a conclusion. In addition, their new positioning statement, "We don't make Jeep. You do." had a powerful, thoughtful and truthful surprise. Got me.
But even this spot tries too hard. I understand why they added the Terminator and Marilyn Monroe, but it would have been just as powerful if all the portraits were of everyday Americans. After all, Jeep is a quintessential American brand.
Overall, Super Bowl ads have increasingly become a "jump the shark" competition. Most of them are trying way too hard and the public is on to it. (I'm talking to you PuppyMonkeyBaby.) Okay, sure. That was all about generating a flurry of WTF? Tweet traffic and it completely accomplished that mission. Just don't be surprised if PuppyMonkeyBaby ends up as Trump's running mate. Hey, the man knows how to generate surprise and outrage.
But here's a little something to consider when auditing SB ads - USA Today Ad Meter consumer poll of Super Bowl spots bore the following results:
On the other side of the spectrum, the experts AdAge graded those same commercials this way on a 4-star scale:
My favorite, Jeep "Portraits," ranked 13 in USA Today's poll, by the way.
Once again Apple, who started this whole Super Bowl ad craze with their "1984" ad was once again absent from this year's festivities. No one missed them. Meh. But that's just, you know, like, my opinion, man.
I felt this year’s Super Bowl had a handful of pretty clever commercials. Nothing will compare to the early 2000’s or late 90’s when I can remember our entire parties gathered around the TV screen to intently watch hilarious, outspoken, original, and impactful commercials. It just isn’t the same anymore when almost every commercial is released on YouTube the week before. We want to be surprised, but the time is changing and are being called to adapt.
This year’s king would have to go to Honda’s new Ridgeline commercial where they highlighted a new feature, truck bed audio, and a flock of Queen singing sheep. I thought the commercial was done really well and displayed a really fun take on a pretty simple idea. I was most impacted by the truck bed audio feature. How in the world has this not been accomplished yet?! Honda’s commercial isn’t pushing their product in your face and uses just the right amount of clever marketing to make a noteworthy attempt in this year’s ring of Super Bowl excitement.