Super Bowl Ads: The Best and Worst

I watch Mad Men and my wife studied marketing in college. This makes me an expert to comment on the now highly-anticipated Super Bowl commercials. The average 30-second spot cost $3.5 million. Let’s see how companies wasted their money.

The Best

It’s almost cheating when you have Clint Eastwood in your ad. This spot was very similar to last year’s Chrysler commericial with Eminem and “Lose Yourself.” I thought that one made me want to buy American, where Clint embodied the American spirit. My only knock would be that it felt a little long and over dramatic. We get it, we’re in a recession and we need to support the domestic auto industry to boost the economy.

Thank god it wasn’t J-Lo. Regardless of what the ad was for, it did its job. Sexy, mysterious and held your attention for the duration. Do I think they made a good ad? Yes. Will I ever buy a Fiat? No.

Playing the dog/animal card is a little too easy and didn’t really think the training montage lived up to previous standards. But what turned me around was the call-back to the Darth Vader ad and the dude in the Tatooine bar making fun of what he just saw.

Samsung has had a great campaign against the iPhone. Love all of the previous ads mocking the Apple fan boys waiting in line for the latest release and this was the grand culmination. And it had The Darkness in it. Can’t go wrong with The Darkness.

The Worst

What is the point of advertising? To sell your product. Anheuser-Busch has roughly a 50% market share of all beer sold in America. They do not need to market their shitty beer during the Super Bowl. People who like Bud and Bud Light are already drinking in because they love a cheap and watered down product. Yet, every year Bud and Bud Light spend millions on horrible commercials that are neither funny, creative or convincing. Using “Runaway” will not make you cool. “Here We Go” is the stupidest tag line ever. When prohibition ended I guarantee Budweiser was not the first thing folks thirsted for. I just don’t understand it. At least there wasn’t a new Miller Lite “Man Card” ad…

Seriously, who likes those polar bears? Your grandmother. Hey, don’t worry, just have a Coke and everything with be OK! We’re on the verge of extinction but nothing a frosty soda pop can’t fix.

Tax Act
I would have loved to sit in this creative pitch meeting. “OK, for our tax season software, how about a kid running around trying to piss but can’t find a bathroom. But wait! He jumps back in the pool from which he came and urinates in the pool with a hug smile just as his sister jumps in!” No one had the balls to say, “Uh, dude, that’s kinda gross, not funny and way off base for our product.” Instead, nothing. This is what we get when dumb people try to be edgy.

Car companies really swung and missed this year. Audi went for a Twilight theme ad since, you know, all those thirteen-year-old Edward Cullen fans have the cash to drop on an A8. Honda tried to go cute and nostaglic but Matthew Broderick’s revamped Ferris Bueller impersonation felt flat, especially since it was released early online. Chevy had a decent concept with their trucks and owners surviving the 2012 apocalypse, but then went for the cheap dig at Ford by saying one of their owners didn’t make it. Awkward! The ad could have easily worked without the barb. Then there was Kia, which again started interesting with the Sandman OD’ing on the guys dream. He racing around, rocking out to Motley Crue (cause all Kia drivers love 80’s metal), doing manly shit, then it spirals out of control when he crashes into his wife’s dream and steals her back from prince charming. Sorry Kia, but no man dreams of romantically rescuing their wife. The idea was that the dream was an enhanced bitchin’ version of a normal dream, not a pathetic representation of real life.  Clearly, that ad was written by a woman.



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