Superbowl XLVI: Ad Watch

February 6th, 2012 by under Marketing. No Comments.

I’ll admit it: I’m not a huge football fan and my ignorance and disinterest will probably damage my long term job prospects and ability to schmooze and interact.

But I will watch at least one game out of the year, and that game is the SuperBowl, mostly for the advertising.  Here are some of my thoughts on what I considered the top 5 ads:

5) Audi Vampire Campout: I’m not a fan of the recent vampire craze, but the ad highlighting (haha) Audi’s headlights was clever enough to make me take notice.  It’s always interesting to see companies take on a non-related trend (e.g. True Blood, New Moon (or whatever it’s called)), but it’s also a little depressing to see how late this ad was.  It would have been more timely a year ago, but now it seems passe.  Although it was behind trend, it succeeded in getting my attention.

4) PepsiMax Checkout: This was a great continuation of previous Pepsi SuperBowl Ads in which a CocaCola driver tries to sneak a drink of the competitor’s product.  Historical references abounded in this year’s ads (e.g. Volkswagon and Star Wars) and I think viewers feel extra rewarded by referential ads that highlight that they are in the know and part of the joke.

3) GE Commercials: The GE commercials were especially good because it highlighted US manufacturing and connected the worker to the consumer.  This was especially apparent in the evening’s first GE spot in which cancer survivors visit a medical equipment factory.

2) Clint Eastwood’s Half Time Message: Besides encouraging us with his immediately recognizable gritty voice, Clint Eastwood communicated the hardship and pride of getting back up after falling down.  The 2 minute spot by Chrysler was one the most thoughtful piece of the evening because it had the broadest message.  Focusing on Detroit, but containing a message of struggle that’s rooted in an imaginary of stubborn American hard work, the ad probably captured the biggest audience of any of the commercials.  As we learned in Consumer Behavior, emotional appeals have long term impacts on decisions and are more likely to make a call to action successful.

1) Bridgestone Basketball: This was such a clever ad that really demonstrated product quality.  Designing tire rubber for a basketball, you can clearly hear the difference between the bounce of a regulation ball and the Bridgestone special.  A shocking contrast that captured my attention with clever delivery.  Despite the enduring effect of emotional appeal, sometimes you just have to see it to believe it.