The pattern continues. Lots of celebrities. Lots of ad agency self indulgence. A handful of ads that went one joke too far. And a handful
of really nice ads. During the game (an extremely delightful one, by the way), my general assessment was that it was a particularly weak showing for advertisers. But as I reviewed ads again today, without the distraction of the Twitterverse exploding over Madonna and David Beckham, I realized that a majority of the advertising was solid, there just wasn’t an excessive amount of epic work. That, however, won’t deter us from offering up our opinions with the 3rd Annual DEEP Connection Super Bowl Ad Review.
As a refresher, we’re not judging ads on how funny they were or which had the highest production value. Rather, we try to assess which ads did the best job of connecting brand with target audience. Lo and behold, a familiar name earned our top spot.
Chrysler/Halftime in America—A year ago, Chrysler delivered a gritty, gutsy piece of advertising featuring a surprise appearance by rapper Eminem in what was widely heralded as the best Super Bowl ad, including in these pages. I’m not suggesting they topped themselves this year, but they certainly managed to once again seize the moment with something memorable and important. Using another 2-minute slot, Chrysler placed the ad towards the end of halftime and delivered a “Morning in America” type of moment with a chilling voice over by the one-and-only Clint Eastwood. The copywriting was terrific, though it seemed to cover more than it really needed to. The spot closed so strong it made winding through it well worth it. In some respects, Chrysler is delivering non-branded advertising for the US auto industry. It would be fair to say that it has contributed to an increasing comfort in buying American.
Kia Optima/A Dream Car. For the Real World—The positioning of this car is what we really liked. “A Dream Car. For the Real World” is an exceptional tagline for an everyman’s car with solid styling for a value line. The ad threw a handful of celebrities at viewers, but given that it was all a dream sequence it didn’t seem as forced as most. It’s nice when the overall positioning is clearly articulated in the creative execution and this Kia Optima ad did just that.
M&Ms/Just My Shell—Candy should be fun and this ad for the legendary M&M brand from Mars got a big laugh from us. It also did a nice job of showing that M&Ms are perfectly congruous in any party scenario from the raunchy to the sophisticated.
Doritos/Man’s Best Friend—Animal humor is way overdone in Super Bowl advertising, but sometimes you have to get off your high horse and just laugh. We liked this Doritos spot compared to several in the past because it was a seemingly normal human being that actually was motivated by the Doritos. Seeing an animal go bonkers for a food or beverage item has never made that item more appetizing.
Pepsi/King’s Court—Pepsi has been in love with celebrities in their ads for many years. This ad featuring the legendary Elton John was high on pageantry but fell flat, and not just because it closed with Flavor Flav (though that certainly didn’t help it).
Hulu Plus/Hulubratory—Does Hulu have such strong brand acceptance that it could spend an estimated $3.5 million on a new service without taking advantage of the audience size to better explain the overall brand concept?
Century 21/Smarter, Bolder, Faster—Too many celebrities getting in the way of whatever they were trying to communicate.
We would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this year’s ads; you can take a look at all of them right here. AD AGE INSTANT REPLAY We leave you with one final thought. Utilizing a celebrity to endorse a brand can be extremely effective, especially when the specific person is used strategically to communicate a message. Still wondering why Mark Cuban popped up in that Sketchers ad.