Advertising on the Biggest Entertainment Stage

As most marketers have done today, I’ve read many posts and articles about the big game last night: the winners and losers of the “ad bowl”; why Nationwide made such a goof; how Loctite took a gamble and how everyone spent most of the game crying.

This year’s Super Bowl was certainly worth remembering. As NFL fans, we work ourselves up to a frenzy in anticipation of this one game, but all too often, we are disappointed by a lopsided score and a game that doesn’t really feel as competitive as it should be. If you know me, you know I’m a Saints fan. So, the 2010 matchup will always hold the top place in my heart. However, I do have to say that this year’s game was excellent…true entertainment experience from beginning to end. I know I wasn’t alone in that moment when I gasped thinking my cable signal had gone out just at the top of the game nor was I alone in that last gasp when the most unexpected interception of the season happened. Wow!

For the last four years, a fellow marketer, Debbie Laskey has graciously asked me to participate in a post review of the game ads. It’s been great to hear her point of view. Although she asked again this year, she was unfortunately put on the sidelines by a sudden illness. With her on injured reserve, I felt the need to carry the torch for the two of us. In the past we’ve done our take on winners and losers. This year, I think I’m going to go with the “winners of the quarter”.

For me the hands-down winner for first quarter was that epic spot by Chevy. If you want to stand out in a field of excellent marketers, shock and awe are a way to go and boy did they do it. Unfortunately for Esurance, their spot with Lindsay Lohan followed it immediately and was lost in the “What just happened?” discussions that abounded in homes and online. I realize that this spot may not have technically been a “Super Bowl ad”, but it was just too good to keep it out of play. Offsides for jumping off the line early. I’ll take the penalty.

Second quarter obviously went to “Lost Puppy” from Budweiser.  Successful sequels are few and far between. It’s like lightning striking twice on the same spot. No offense, but do we really think Furious 7 is going to match the essence and unexpected success of the original. We all remember the VW Star Wars kid like it we just saw that ad yesterday. The sequel was…an approach. The animal love factor just didn’t work until Budweiser thought to take a turn at it. We fell in love with that little puppy last year as if we could smell that sweet puppy smell right through the television. When Budweiser announced they would follow up with a sequel, I thought, “Oh please, be good.” It was.

Liam Neeson is a gamer? Who knew? Third quarter goes to Supercell’s Clash of Clans spot “Revenge”. In the years that I’ve worked on this annual review, I’ve stayed away from game ads. The very business they’re in is dependent on an attention grabbing platform. I think they have a bit of an advantage. What I loved about this spot was that I was absolutely surprised. From a consumer point of view you start to realize that maybe gaming isn’t just for darkened basements (no offense to you gamers). This is a 62-year-old action hero. If it’s cool enough for him, maybe it’s cool enough for all of us Boomers.

My fourth quarter winner isn’t as clear. Like video games, I typically don’t include movie promotions. The makers of movie trailers are genius. You take one shot and without knowing if this movie is even good, you drive people by the thousands to buy tickets. Am I going to see Ted2? Ummm….probably not, but what I loved about the spot was the use of Tom Brady. I love a commercial that leverages the program it’s running in. So right…and yet, so wrong.

My other leader is Mophie – a brand with a niche audience, and yet it signed God as the spokesperson. Hey, if that’s your spokesperson, the Super Bowl seems like the proper stage. I also liked the storytelling aspect of the spot.

My original goal was to pick four and only four advertisers to spotlight, but as a marketer, I feel I need to give some voice to some additional brands. Halftime: mad props to The Voice. I’ve only ever seen one episode of The Voice, but might just try becoming a regular viewer now. A Thunderdome-style battle of the voices? I can watch that. Honorable mention goes to BMW. How many of you emailed that info email address to unlock an entry to win a new i3? McDonald’s just slammed Twitter with retweets. Who expected them to do so many giveaways?

Special mention must go to Loctite. What a gamble! I don’t love the spot. Heck, I don’t even like the spot, but I have to admire the guts it took to spend that kind of budget on a one-time roll of the dice. As a marketer, I feel the need to go out and buy some glue. I think you should too.

Advertising on the Biggest Entertainment Stage

Ad Bowl 2014 – Part II

As I mentioned in my post from yesterday, Debbie Laskey has once again partnered with me to review the ads of this most recent Super Bowl. I gave you my take. Below are Debbie’s thoughts, but first let me tell you a little about her.

Debbie-Laskey-MBA-for-siteDebbie is a 15-year marketing practitioner. She honed her skills while working in the high-tech industry and in the Consumer Marketing Department at Disneyland Paris in France. Her expertise is varied but includes strategic planning, brand development, corporate communications, customer experiences, and social media marketing (which I think she excels at). She has been recognized as a “Woman Making a Difference” by the Los Angeles Business Journal . Since 2002, Debbie has served as a judge for the Web Marketing Association’s annual web award competition and has also been recognized as one of the “Top 100 Branding Experts” to follow on Twitter. Currently, Debbie is the director of marketing and communications for the Exceptional Children’s Foundation in Los Angeles, but also manages to provide strategic marketing direction for B2B/B2C/non-profit clients.

Ladies and gentlemen, Debbie Laskey…

Every winter, on one Sunday, every TV around the world tunes in for one super football game. But for those of us who live and breathe all things marketing, the final football showdown each season provides a different focus. That focus costs a pretty penny – or several million to be exact. The incredibly high-priced ads that grace the TV screen during the Super Bowl have become known as the Brand Bowl, and I’m thrilled to share a three-peat review of these ads with Julia Carcamo.

As a brand marketing professional, I recall many of the ads despite this year’s one-sided Game. What about you?

Here were my faves:
[1] MetLife featured the entire Peanuts gang with a preamble to the Game, and since the game took place at MetLife Stadium, this was a good intro to the Game.
[2] Budweiser’s puppy and Clydesdale with the hashtag #BestBuds: this ad was memorable and tugged at the heartstrings.
[3] Budweiser’s thanks for military service: this ad was memorable and reminiscent of Budweiser’s timeless post-911 ad.
[4] Doritos time machine ad was funny but would have been funnier if it had run after Radio Shack’s Back to the Eighties spot.
[5] TurboTax’s ad was amusing except for the fact that no one wants to think about filing tax returns the first week of February.

I appreciated the presence of more cause-related marketing ads, especially Microsoft’s #empowerment ad and Chevrolet’s cancer awareness ad.

However, one element was different for me this year. While watching the Game, instead of simply Tweeting once I saw the hashtags after each ad, I participated in a TweetChat with the hashtag #SBexp for “Super Bowl experience” hosted by Jim Joseph  of Cohn and Wolfe. Jim will host similar TweetChats during the upcoming Olympics with the hashtag #OlympicsExp.

Ad Bowl 2014 – Part II

Ad Bowl 2013

There are a number of reasons why this year’s big game was important to me. First and most important, there is the economic impact of the game on my hometown of New Orleans. Second is probably the opportunity to once again review the collection of ads in this year’s game with Debbie Laskey.

My winners are a mix of ads that moved me, ads that I felt were on brand strategy, ads that made me smile, ads that reminded me how much I miss New Orleans and the ads my fellow co-workers found to be the best. Here they go, in no particular order.

Taco Bell’s interpretation of “Cocoon” made me smile and it made an entire bar full of people stand up and cheer. For that I say, “Viva Young”

Hyundai’s ad “Stuck” speaks to me every single time I’ve been behind someone on the road leaving behind mementos of their time in front of me. I usually try to drop back a little further. Now I see there is another turbocharged option.

Hyundai scores again in this homage to “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off”. Who wouldn’t want to give their family an Epic Playdate?

Bravo Jared and bravo to Subway for delivering the point that always seems to be the downfall of the diet du jour….keeping it off. No flash. No sizzle. Just the heart of the message.

Was it a good commercial, or do I just love the vibe of New Orleans? Either way, I’m in for the Mercedes CLA Soul spot…so much so that I might even forgive the billboard across from Napoleon House.

It used to be that the first break was the marquee spot. Chrysler, however, has repositioned halftime as the “it” placement. Most purists would argue that they are forgoing a spotlight on their products. Some might say they are positioning themselves as the all-American option. Ford, anyone?

In a past life, I sold radio. That station featured a segment by Paul Harvey. Chrysler’s Dodge Ram salute to American Farmers was very moving to me.

My tear-jerker:

I’m not a St. Louisan, but the Budweiser Clydesdale spots have always been among my favorites. There is just something about them that makes me feel un-American if I don’t cry. This spot seemed to be a hit among most of the marketers I work with on a daily basis.

As the officials on the field say, “failed to convert”.

That penalty goes to Go Daddy (even though they did somewhat redeem themselves with   “Your Next Big Idea”

Go Daddy’s Perfect Match spot just made me feel a little dirty. Even if you’re not in the same room, the sound of that kissing is enough to just send shivers down my spine.  To quote one of the marketing directors I work with, “I don’t like the way they subjugate web developers.”

Also, missing the point was Toyota. I guess Kaley Cuoco is the latest hot property and I should be blown away with her part in this Rav4 commercial. I’m not. In fact I had the name of the car make and model wrong when I wrote this sentence. Sorry Toyota. I guess your wish wasn’t granted.

Honorable mention goes to Kia’s Space Babies. Babylandia looks so much more interesting than being slung in a sheet flying through the air on the beak of a stork!

Of course, this Super Bowl will go down in the record books for also creating the biggest delay of game thanks to a pesky power outage. Although media maven and social media expert alike is always touting extending your ad buys into social, Oreo and Tide were fast to  take advantage of the hiccup. Clever…timely…and absolutely on brand, they might be my winners for the night.

Twitter Oreo Super Bowl Blackout

Twitter Tide Super Bowl BlackoutThanks again for letting me share my thoughts on the ads we all seem to look forward to. I’ll be posting Debbie’s thoughts soon, but in the meantime let me know your winners and losers.

Ad Bowl 2013