Super Bowl 2016 Ad Commentary

It’s my post after the Super Bowl, so like many, I will give my take. For those who are new to my blog, I rate Super Bowl ads on two scales: (1) Are they an effective ad, which I define as (to adapt from Rosser Reeves) “salesmanship in media.” In other words, does the ad drive action, engagement or interest in the product or service being advertised. If not, it’s just entertainment at best and annoying at worst. (2) Is it “Super Bowl” worthy. That is, does it have entertainment value worthy of people who “just watch the commercials.”

Firstly, I was disappointed that no ad was truly great, though several were very good. And a few fell into the “huh” category.

My top ad goes to Budweiser for their use of Helen Mirren in an ad against drunk drivers. It was very good and given their top position in the category, Budweiser investing in an ad of this type is a good move.

My next top ads in the order in which they appeared were:

Advil’s ad: This ad was clever and clearly told you what value of Advil provides to you.

Dollar Shave Club’s ad: Spot on their message and cleverly done.

O.I.C (opioid induced constipation): OK, this must be a pretty big problem to permit a Super Bowl budget, but they were on message and entertaining … given the subject.

Weather Tech ad: An all American company advertising in the All American game.

Turbo Tax: Funny ad right on point, and with a clever use of Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Wix: As with all my top choices, on message. And they had a great tie in to Kung Fu Panda 3.

My other special note goes to T-Mobile. Their un-carrier ad reminded me of an old un-Cola campaign run by 7-Up back in the late 60s and early 70s. Unfortunately for T-Mobile, that approach didn’t work for 7-Up and I’m not convinced it will work for them, though the ad was good and on message.

Flipping to my “huh” category. These were not bad, I just have no idea, after watching a multi-million $ ad, what these companies offer, or why I should care:

Marmot: This ad got positive reviews from many. Fine, but what do that they offer? I realize now they are “not that kind of marmot.” Fine and… (If they were advertising to their existing customers, that is an expensive way to do it.)

Prius: Really are you trying to convince me that the Prius is a “sports car?” Seriously?

Coke Mini: That had to cost a lot of money to use the Hulk and the Ant Man. To tell me what exactly?

And my one “bad” ad goes to:

Square Space: Compare their ad to Wix. Both are in the website building business, though it takes a lot of work to figure that out with Square Space. Maybe I’m not their target market, but then who is that resonates with the ad, and how would they know what Square Space even does?

Those are my thoughts. What say you?



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