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2015 Super Bowl Ad Commentary

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The hype surrounding Super Bowl commercials has become pretty astounding. Bloggers and ad critics now dedicate weeks to leaking, discussing and dissecting the :30 and :60 spots. That means the bigger value might be not the millions of people who watch during the game itself, but all of the press, PR and social attention each spot receives the weeks before and after the game is played.

Some members of the Current360 team took some time away from their Super Bowl revelry to give their takes on this year’s Super Bowl commercial offerings.

Hyperbole blog 1Q

Every morning show, from The Today Show to Fox in the Morning, will be doing a segment featuring the best Super Bowl commercials during tomorrow’s broadcasts.

Twitter and Facebook feeds have been exploding with links and posts of favorites. Heck, countless readers like you are flocking to our C360 blog, just to read our critiques and thoughts.

One NBC exec has put the real value of these spots – which actually cost around $4+ million – at over $10 million, thanks to all the free buzz.

I’ve never sat in a planning meeting that revolved around a Super Bowl spot, so I can’t pretend to know what the strategy is behind each buy. Regardless of how much they spend, you have to wonder if these clients are getting a good return on their investment. Maybe the social buzz has changed things a bit. Maybe all of those extra impressions will translate into double digit increases in sales.

With that being said, Super Bowl commercials have always been akin to summer movie blockbusters to me. It’s not that they can’t be good, but – when it comes down to it – I just want to be entertained. Therefore, I’m going into the 1st quarter looking for pure entertainment value.

To borrow from the Wedding Crashers, “Make me a bicycle, clown! Shut your mouth, funny guy, and make it!”

The following are my favorite 3 Schwinns, I mean, 1st Quarter Super Bowl commercials (in order of appearance).

Chevy Colorado – WiFi
It grabbed my attention, was a great spot with big impact and super-low production value. Plus, it did a great job of selling one of its big, new features. Well done.

Snickers – Brady Bunch
I’m a sucker for pop culture references. Even though there is a huge potential for things to go wrong and it’s an existing campaign, I thought the spot was funny had excellent casting. It might just be the best one Snickers has done so far.

Carnival – Come Back to the Sea
While Toyota used a similar approach with a historical voice over juxtaposed with slick new footage, I thought the fit was much, much better for Carnival. It grabbed my attention, quieted our whole room and the visuals were outstanding. Plus, my guess is that JFK resonated with Carnival’s baby boomer consumer more so than the Ali’s for Toyota.

Hyperbole blog 2Q

Leading into the Super Bowl (Can I say Super Bowl in a blog or do I have to say The Big Game?) I wasn’t sure how I would write my blog. As a retired Morehead State football player, I typically see the nuances of the game. But I’ve decided to stick with the commercials this year and do a running diary of my reactions.

At the quarter’s outset, I thought historic voiceovers must be the key to the Super Bowl this year. We had the greatest boxer of all time voicing a car spot and one of the greatest Presidents voicing Carnival’s spot. However, that thought would change as the quarter went along.

Skittles lemon flavor #WHAT #WASTE.  I guess in that town, they shoot the steroids directly into one arm.

Oh, yeah!!! I got the Kim K T-Mobile spot during my quarter. Outfits yes, but I like the gratuitous booty shots that filled the screen in my living room. I am just grateful that Kim can do for T-Moblie what her husband has been able to do for that unknown performer Paul McCartney.

Watched the Budweiser puppy. The Terminator is back and everything has changed except “I’ll Be Back.”

Football note: I don’t know how Gronk doesn’t get called for offensive pass interference on all his pass routes. I’m still rooting for the Pats, who need to attack the run on the outside and pull a big guard to finish off Richard Sherman’s elbow. Seattle needs to adjust their linebacker coverage to help defend receivers running across the defense.  

All right, back to the commercials. We learned that to make the internet a better place, all we need to do is add Coke. It was a great spot and relevant message for many today. Instead of #MakeItHappy, how about #DontBeAJerk?

The avocado draft was nice, funny and – with the serious tone of tonight’s spots – might just be the funniest of the evening.

There are some great movies coming out. Wait, that’s a new show on USA #NoTicketsRequired. We did see the preview for Fast and Furious. #RIPPaul Walker.

Dove Men+ Care had the spot of the night for me, then Nissan took it home with an insurmountable piece of creative. My son wondered off at the grocery store today and I was fear stricken and elated at the same time.

Another football note: When you tackle Marshawn Lynch, you should have to immediately go to the sideline for concussion testing. Tom Brady looks dialed in despite the interception and appears to have a great offensive plan.

My quarter must be the best quarter for advertising. The Doritos commercial was phenomenal. But then we have to send out a big thanks to Nationwide for dropping a huge dose of reality on us.

I am headed to McDonalds in the morning to order two Big Breakfasts, a Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuit, hash browns, steak egg and cheese bagel. Hopefully, I only have to call my mom to pay.

Esurance tapping Breaking Bad, one of the greatest shows on cable, to let consumers know that they customize their coverage and won’t be put into to a pre-determined “type.” Full disclosure, I never watched an episode of Breaking Bad.

Fiat came to the table with a great spot, and I think they can get some mileage out of that one. One would think that old man would have been more careful with his little blue buddy. Go Daddy came through with a great spot, but I’m sure I have seen that Discover Card spot before. So, this is promo #2 for the Blacklist. I bet he wanted to say, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

Football Note #3: Gronk for the TD. I don’t know why you have a LB covering him. Biggest mismatch of all time in the Super Bowl. 

Microsoft reminds us that with technological innovation, we can open doors for those that may have been closed years ago. The Dude made a TV commercial! I thought my quarter was the best, but it is now confirmed.

My favorite of the quarter is the Nissan spot of the racecar driver dad. My quarter is over and the Patriots are tied with the Seahawks 14-14 due to one of the best drives of the Super Bowl.

I tried to make it all about the ads…

Hyperbole blog 3Q

My Humor Award goes to Sprint – Love the fun substitute of animals for words. No one wants to feel like an A$$, especially when it comes to saving money! But Liam’s Clash of Clans spot was a close second. I might have to check out that app. Maybe.

My Heart Strings Award goes to Toyota and Dodge – Love the twist on Dad sending his daughter off to the military (Toyota) and 100 year old men and women CAN teach us something. So here’s to another 100 years, Dodge. Nice job!

My Snore Award goes to Bud’s branding spot – Hard brewed for real beer drinkers? I’m not a beer drinker, but – of my friends who are – none have described Bud as a hard brewed beer.

Close second goes to Jeep – This Land is Your Land. The song and images from around the world just did not grab my attention. There was nothing wrong, really. It just didn’t break through.

I also thought all the #superbowlrally spots were fun. I had to go check some out on twitter, but overall the 3rd quarter spots seemed pretty low key. Kinda like Katy Perry’s half time show.

Hyperbole blog 4Q

After an evening of hit-and-miss spots, a surprising number of which felt unusually somber (thanks, Nationwide), I was fully prepared for the usual offering of fourth quarter fare: where ads go to die. And while it felt like I saw a fair share of repeats, there were a couple of spots that stood out as memorable.

On the positive side, the Doritos spot was pretty amusing. While I didn’t like it as much as the earlier “middle seat” spot, I thought the “when pigs fly” spot was well-conceived and well-executed. They have embraced the “consumer-generated” model and I think it has paid off for them again this year with a couple of effective spots.

Honorable mention goes to Wix for what I thought was a fun use of guest stars for a first time Super Bowl advertiser. Favre & Carve made me laugh on a night that was short on laughs.

On the other side of the coin, the biggest disappointment for me was the “Tortoise and the Hare” spot from Mercedes-Benz. But even though it was my least favorite spot, it wasn’t all bad. I thought the production values on the animation were spot-on, the John Hamm voiceover was a nice choice for the brand and the build-up to the spot was effective. I was really looking forward to see how it paid off. Unfortunately, with no real surprises in the spot, it just felt a little bit anticlimactic after all of the hype.

Thumbs down too for the uninspired Victoria’s Secret spot and what should have been a cool spot, the Bud Light Live PacMan spot, which felt less than authentic.

And in our small group of viewers, the one spot we were all hoping for never happened. We missed you Ickey Woods. #coldcuts

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Ed Sharp

Ed brings 15 years of traditional and digital media sales experience to the agency, giving us a perspective most agencies don’t have. When he’s not working or seeking new knowledge, Ed hangs out with his wife, two kids, two dogs, one cat, and a hamster. And yes, the cat and hamster are best friends.

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