2013 Super Bowl Commercials: The Winners and Losers
My favorite part of Super Bowl is watching the commercials. Most years I just wait the following day to watch the ads. This year was different. We made interesting foods, grabbing influence from Italians (petite lasagnas), Chinese (stir fried noodles), and Mexican food (chile rellenos); we're a diverse group! What made me stand out was the fact that I sat down to watch the game with pen and paper, evaluating most of the ads of the first half of the game. The commercials are entertaining at different levels. The emotions all over the chart. It was a challenge to narrow it down, but I managed to do so. I have grouped a handful of 2013 Super Bowl Commercials into these categories: winners, losers, honorable mention, and fun.
#1 Coca Cola 2013 Chase
#2 Psy Pistacho Cracking Style
#3 Century 21
#2 Budweiser Black Crown
#1 Whole Again by Jeep | Saddest Super Bowl Commercial
#2 Farmer by RamTrucks | Best Narrator
#3 YourBigIdea.co by GoDaddy | Domain Originality/Urgency
#1 Journey by Budlight
#2 Viva Young by Taco Bell
I like this advertisement because it successfully merged online and offline advertisement. There was a direct call to action encouraging the audience to vote online to see which "team" would drink the coke in the desert. It had an element of surprise. he audience participation was encouraged and obtained through the website. After placing your vote on CokeChase.com, you could sabbotage the other teams (Cowboys, Show Girls, Bad Landers). On Twitter, people would write who they voted for and what type of sabbotage, they inflicted on a rival team. The delays to all the teams were hilarious in their own way. Not knowing the final outcome of the CokeChase added a sense of anticipation. The result of the Coke Chase would only be learned until the end of the Super Bowl game; it created a sense of anticipation. The website now features the winning team (Show Girls) as well as a timeline. Well done Coca Cola, well done!
The only drawback to this commercial is that they didn't have time to optimize the search engines for CokeChase.com; it was no where to be found if the name wasn't spelled correctly into search engines. The repetition of the website just as the Super Bowl game resumed, helped me catch the fleeting website address once more.
Psy's hit song Gangnam Style had already been viewed by millions of Americans prior to the Super Bowl. His video won the title of Most Viewed Video of 2012, with over 1 billion views. It was a great idea on Wonderful Pistachio's part to connect his popularity to promote Wonderful Pistachio nuts.
he lyrics of the song were adjusted to promote the pistacho nuts, while retaining the unmistakeable rhythm of Gangnam Style. Psy's characteric blue suit coat was replaced with a lime green coat that matches the brand's color perfectly. His funny antics and dancing nuts made for an entertaining commercial.
The video ends with a Twitter hashtag #crackinstyle. I cringe for companies that do Twitter campaigns. A quick search of twitter for the hashtag revealed a negative sentiment for the advertisement. Psy's reputation definitely took a dip after it was revealed he had a song with anti-American lyrics. Despite the less than positive sentiment on Twitter, I enjoyed this ad for the linking Wonderful Pistachios to a key figure of pop culture.
The use of weddings in advertisements is often overused sometimes. Countless companies tap into the wedding bandwagon. However, the use of a wedding scene in this Century 21 commercial is appropriate on many levels; weddings appeal to first time home buyers, members of generation Y, and an important milestone-- marriage.
Unlike other advertisements where the connection between the ad message and the advertised service is unclear, the advertisement by Century 21 linked the need of the newly weds with the fast, effective service of Century 21st agent.
My favorite part was how the agent was able to use a mobile app to locate the ideal starter home for the newly weds in the time span between their vows and leaving the chapel. It is a reminder of how quick technology can solve problems. Of course, it's a stretch from reality, but it gets the point across; 21 Century agents are tech savvy, helpful, and ready.
Here is a technology company with many neat features at its disposal to entertain and educate the Super Bowl audience. How do they choose to blow 4 million dollars on a 30 second advertisement? By showing the un-relatable, trivial rivalry of two actors auditioning for the role of spokesperson for the ad. It's an ad about an ad. I didn't care for the style of humor used in this advertisement. In short, Samsung could have done much more justice for its products.
A twitter hashtag was placed in the last 3 seconds of the commercial #thenextbigthing. It was a combination of praise for the commercial as well as hashtag hijacking. Overall, the sentiment seemed positive. In my book it gets a lower score for not featuring the technology into the advertisement, with a title like "Next Big Thing" I would have liked something to match the idea.
There were two advertisements for Budweiser's beer Black Crown. Of the two, I felt Coronation was the worse of two evils. The lounge scene is uninspiring and unoriginal. It's perhaps an attempt to position this line of beer as a more upscale beer. I'm sure more beer companies would like to have that recognition and superiority that's associated with Heineken.
The commercial concludes with no mention of a website or social media effort. I believe the ad would have been more effective if it included a call to action that encouraged them to locate vendors, request a sample, or attend an "exclusive" tasting of the new Black Crown.
A video that went viral in 2011/2012 was called Honey Badger; its been seen by over 56 million people. It was a missed opportunity to take advantage of that viral video. Sketchers did itself disjustice by adding a monotone soft-spoken narrator to this commercial. The narrator's voice sounds like it came straight from Nat Geo or Animal Planet. I realize they were probably setting the scene, but I would have preferred action sooner rather than later.
This ad also concludes with no mention of a website or social media effort. In the final seconds of the video there is mention that the shoe is designed for speed. This would have been a great place to mention a website or social media page to read to learn more about how the design of this shoe is superior to the next running shoe.
The introduction stimulates curiousity as the actions seem random. Then again, sports fans are notorious for having good luck gimmicks. This ties into the theme of the commercial "it's only weird if it doesn't work."
This advertisement was well done in my opinion because it tied in the Super Bowl, the fans, New Orleans, as well as the product. At specific points there are good examples of product placement, without making the advertisement overtly about the beer itself.
When the two rival fans show their voo doo dolls, I just laughed out loud. I'm sure both of them thought there idea was original, that it would give their team the advantage. It is also clear that Budlight wasn't preferring one team over the other. Overall great commercial!
Saddest Super Bowl 47 Commercial
This is the kind of commercial that makes me want to cry. My father, uncle, and brother served in the US military, so the message hit home. The welcome home moments are just tear-pullers. Oprah did a great job narrating this commercial; it was well-written too.
My beef with this commercial is that it was only in the last 3 seconds that Jeep put this commercial. My eyes were drawn to the logos of Jeep and OSR. The website address could have been larger! The connection was weak between helping vets and jeep vehicles-- until I went to the website (jeep.com/OSR). OSR stands for Operation Safe Return.
After visiting the website I saw that it is optimized to recognize preferred language (I was given the option of English or Spanish). The oversized video of the commercial followed the prompt to select the language. With the acronym SAFE, the way Jeep supports troops returning home became clear and thoughtful. The Jeep commercial definitely made a touching story; it could have been made stronger with a call to action that encouraged people to donate towards the cause.
Public speakers and leaders would just love this speech. The word choice, the mental images, the contrasts, the comparisons. An example of thoughtful copywriting. The narrator speeds up, slows down, and delivers a wonderful speech about the professional and personal life of a farmer.
My excitement for the content and delivery of the commercial narration was cut short, after learning this video by Ram isn't original. In fact, it sounds identical to a video created by Farms.com; the same narration by Paul Harvey with different images of farming, back in 2011.
Another beef I have with this commercial is that the website "RamTrucks.com/KeepPlowing" is written in a super tiny font! Just 2-3 points larger than the legal disclaimer in super fine print.
I was amused by hearing "We are Young" by Fun in Spanish. The scenes that unfold afterwards are nothing sort of random, surprising, unexpected, and funny. I can see this video appealing to all kinds of audiences including: young, old, Hispanics and all ethnicities all at once. I like the idea of retirement-time as a second chance to enjoy life as a young person.
It was smart on their part to include a link to Taco Bell's Facebook Page. On Facebook, they published an advertisement for a free dessert. It's a quick way to reward new and existing customers with a coupon released shortly after the Super Bowl. Once people are there, they will probably want more than just dessert. Let's wait and see if their social media campaign puts a significant dent towards the cost of the Super Bowl commercial itself.
This advertisement departs from GoDaddy's past Super Bowl commercials, where they promoted their product mostly using sex appeal. In this video, GoDaddy creates the idea that unique domain names can be claimed by anyone, anywhere; it reminds viewers that if you have a great domain name-- go out and purchase it before the next person does.
The commercial features different men talking about how their idea for a domain is completely original. This subject hits close to home because I meet entrepreneurs who do not do nationwide name checks before selecting a company name. It is disappointing when the name you thought was so original, turns out not to be original. I will so blog about this another time.
As a marketer, I enjoyed watching the Super Bowl commercials. To my surprise, I enjoyed the game itself too. With only a 3 point difference in the final score, it was a really good game. Games are bittersweeet. While the Ravens rejoice, cheer, high five, hug. The mood on the 49ers is serious, sad, or straight-faces. Despite an incredible comeback by the 49ers, the team I was rooting for "The Ravens" won! Yipee! I am eager to see what the results of these Super Bowl advertisements are for those companies who invested over 4 million dollars for the Super Bowl exposure.