The following is a guest post by Brett Duncan of Marketing In Progress. I love Brett's stuff and he has been gracious enough to do a guest post here.
I must be getting old, because I find myself looking back on the “good ol’ days” at a much higher frequency than ever before. And I’m about to spring it on the ads for this year’s Super Bowl.
Much like the NBA dunk contest, I think it’s time to face a simple fact: Super Bowl ads had a nice run, but their time has gone. Today, things are different. These ads just ain’t what they used to be.
Or maybe we just aren’t who we used to be.
Regardless, I was simply disappointed in this year’s ads. Yeah, there were a couple of nice spots, but overall, I was left wanting more. And not in a good way. Not in the way the last episode of The Sopranos left us wanting more.
With that said, here are some simple observations from this year’s Super Bowl ad lineup, along with my favorite commercials from the pack. In all honesty, I haven’t read a single post on the ads; I wanted to give you my untainted opinion of them. You can view all the commercials at FoxSports.com/ads. I’d love to hear if you were as disappointed overall as I was, and which ones you liked the most.
● When did Eminem become such a model spokesperson? First for Brisk Tea, then for the city of Detroit, via Chrysler. I mean, whoda thunk Eminem would be such a hot grab to represent big brands? It’s not like he’s Peyton Manning. Oddly enough, I kinda liked both of these commercials. The Brisk ad was a throw-back to their old campaigns (“That’s Brisk, baby!”), and the Detroit ad was pretty well thought out.
● Lots and lots of movie trailers. I can’t remember seeing so many movie trailers during the Super Bowl. There were a ton of ‘em. And then it hit me: movies may actually be able to justify the $3 million per 30 second spot. I mean, they’re essentially getting 100 million people to watch their theater trailer. I gotta assume at least a 1% conversion rate, meaning 1 million people buying a $10 ticket (that’s $10 million) at the theater more than covers that cost of the ad for the movie company, I assume. Everything else is gravy.
● Doritos made me laugh the most. For pure entertainment value, give me the Doritos campaign. The ad of the guy licking his friend’s fingers made me laugh and throw up a little all at the same time. The “healing chips” was clever and funny. And I actually think the kooky commercials built the Doritos brand. I mean, who hasn’t had Doritos? It’s not like we need to be sold on their “features.” But we do need to be reminded of what we already know: there’s nothing like them.
● I like what Audi’s doing. Audi is taking on the luxury big dogs like Mercedes Benz with lots of gusto. If you want to know what a “marketing position” is, watch these ads. It not only tells you what Audi is, but it also clarifies what they aren’t, as well as the parts of their competition we should hate. Very smart.
● The Motorola Xoom commercial is brilliant. Forget cheesy jokes and puns. This commercial is pure literature. And just like you can only do so much to explain the greatness of The Fountainhead, words will fail here. But I’ll try. First, keep in mind how crazy everyone’s always been about the Apple 1984 commercial. It was revolutionary (or at least it’s become revolutionary). This Xoom commercial is expanding on it to actually position Xoom against Apple (the iPad, specifically). They’re trying to prove that Apple has now become the bandwagon. From all the people wearing white and white earbuds, to our hero walking against the grain on the stairs, to watching the girl pluck the white (Apple) earbuds out and coming to life, the Xoom is making a statement: don’t buy an iPad just because everyone else is. I don’t what it will do in terms of sales, but kudos from a mere writing and theatric standpoint.
● Teleflora - what else can I say? So freakin’ funny. The “unreal rack” quote to Faith Hill is epic. And what guy hasn’t been in that situation when you don’t have a clue what to write, and the encouragement to just “write what’s on your heart” doesn’t seem to be the best advice?
That’s about it for me. I also thought the Cars.com campaign was OK. But, again, the whole lineup was sub-par across the board. In addition, I’ve just completely lost touch with what Coke is trying to do. I know they’re a huge brand and all, but I feel like I should be dropping acid rather than sipping a soda to truly get their commercials.
I also struggle with the $3 million pricetag per 30 seconds. The easy criticism is that’s a lot of freakin’ money, and most brands could do a lot more with that money to make a dent. On the other hand, if you insist on sticking to the interruption marketing philosophy of conventional TV ads, then is there ever a more captive audience?
What do you think? Are Super Bowl ads worth it?
Brett Duncan (@bdunc1) shares his marketing ideas and tips at his blog MarketingInProgress.com. He also just launched a free ebook with the help of 32 other amazing marketing minds (including Travis Dahle himself). Download Rock Your Business: 33 Mind-Blowing Ideas from Today’s Top Marketers now.