Tuesday, February 9, 2016

3 Reasons Why This Year’s “Big Game” Ads Were a Super Bore


Super Bowl 50 is a wrap and I’m really trying to find if anything lived up to the hype. The closest I can come is Lady Gaga and Beyonce. Sorry, but those two being the biggest hits of the night isn’t a good thing for the NFL. It would be great for the Grammys, but not the Super Bowl.

Peyton Manning winning a second Super Bowl? Maybe, but any good sentiment was overshadowed by the Papa John kiss (long before his wife and kids he kept saying he had to kiss) and Budweiser comments. Somewhere Nationwide is off in a corner with a chicken parm feeling jilted with no Manning on their side.

The game itself wasn’t overly exciting. Although you could argue that it was because the defenses lived up to their hype.


Ok, let’s talk about what we’re really here for: the commercials! Even when the game is boring, you can always be entertained by the commercials. Not this year. There was no stand out, slam-dunk commercial this year. There were hardly any I would consider good, let alone effective.

Maybe we’ve built our expectations up too much. Maybe Super Bowl commercials have run their course. I can’t help but agree with Robert Rose on last week’s This Old Marketing when he said that the ads were $5 million wastes of money. When you consider the potential for online promotions (see Newcastle Brown Ale’s promos for 2014 and 2015; none for 2016) and you’ll see why brands aren’t bound to the TV.

A majority of companies only used the ads for branding with no tie in to their website, email or social media. So, the message effectively dies after :30 seconds. Smart brands include their website or a hashtag where viewers can get more information or extend the message.

Three things I took from the ads:

1. Car Companies Struggle to Make a Decent Super Bowl Ad

I can’t remember the last time there was a really good car commercial for the Super Bowl. This year was no different. Either they go too deep into a story and don't explain the benefits of the car or they go too deep into the mechanics and don't make it entertaining.
  • Prius may have come the closest with their #GoPriusGo ad. It was clear the features they were promoting. However, the ad was too long and I got bored halfway through.
  • Kia scores points for using Christopher Walken, but that was more good casting than a good commercial.
  • Hyundai was 0 for 3 for their spots. $15 million wasted…and that’s just for the ad time.
2. Just throwing celebrities into an ad doesn’t mean you’ve got a hit on your hands.

As usual, there were a lot of celebrities featured in ads this year. But, few of the ads actually accomplished anything for their brands. The following ads worked better because they had good writing and/or told an interesting story:
  • Coke Mini with the Hulk and Ant-Man: Entertaining, but couldn’t tell the Coke can was smaller than a regular can. It looked huge when Ant-Man had it and tiny when the Hulk had it.
  • TurboTax with Anthony Hopkins: TurboTax is free, so there’s nothing for Anthony Hopkins to sell. So, he can’t be a sell-out. Funny take, even if it did remind me exactly of the product placement scene in Wayne’s World.
  • Shock Top with TJ Miller: TJ Miller isn’t exactly a household name, which adds to the charm of this ad. Probably the funniest ad of the night.
But the majority just missed the mark with the focus being on the celebrities and not the brand:
  • SquareSpace.com with Key and Peele: I’m a huge Key and Peele fan, and they were funny. But, from the ad, I have no idea what SquareSpace.com does.
  • Skittles with Steven Tyler: This was just an embarrassingly bad ad for both Skittles and Steven Tyler. Not funny in any way…just incoherent crap.
  • Apartments.com with Jeff Goldblum and Lil Wayne: Another just painfully bad commercial. The Jeffersons theme was the only part of the ad that made any sense. 
3. Cute animals officially jumped the shark this year

This was a bad year for cute animals…and animals in general. To top it off, Budweiser didn’t even offer a true Clydesdale commercial. They said those ads don’t sell as much beer, but they’re much more entertaining. Anyway, these ads tried, but just didn’t quite make it:
  • Heinz Ketchup with the Weiner Stampede: I know. I’m probably the only person that didn’t think this was the cutest ad ever. It was ok, but the dogs weren’t even the cutest part of the ad. The little girl dressed as the ketchup packet was way cuter than the dogs. And what’s with the song choice?
  • Honda and their Queen-singing sheep: I like Queen, but why were sheep singing? It just made no sense. It wasn’t cute. I just wanted it to end.
  • Doritos and the dogs: In what may be the worst Doritos ad of all time, dogs dress up like a human in a trench coat. That wasn’t funny when they did it in most of the cartoons I watched as a kid. It’s still not funny.
Oh, and I’m purposing not mentioning the Mountain Dew ad. I don’t know what to make of that thing. Was it an animal? Either way it was just annoying and doesn’t need to be remembered.

Well, that’s my take on Super Bowl 50. What are your thoughts? What stood out to you? Did you have a different opinion on any of the commercials? Tell us in the comments below. Maybe #51 will be better. Let’s hope. Oh, and go Browns!

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