Super Bowl Advertising Round-Up, Part 2

Okay, I gave a brief post highlighting the two spots I actually liked. It was all kinda downhill from there.

Here, I’ll look at spots that didn’t completely suck and were merely okay though not up to snuff.

I was expecting big things from Coca-Cola. First, they have arguably the best agency in the world (Wieden + Kennedy Portland) working for them. Second, their creative output has gone up dramatically in the last few years. The whole “open happiness” platform is terrific and “Happiness Factory” is an ad for the ages. Their last big Super Bowl spot – “It’s Mine” – was the best ad of its year by far the stand-out of that year’s game. So, frankly, I was pretty disappointed with the lame Simpsons spot this year that you can see below:

First, I think it’s lazy for brands to try to piggy-back on the equity of another franchise versus building their own. Especially when you’re a venerable brand like Coke. I also think it detracts attention away from your brand and focuses it on another – and you’re paying to give them attention. I can only imagine what the licensing fees were to use the Simpsons characters but I’m sure it’s through the roof. It wasn’t that the ad was terrible by any means. It was pretty fun. I just expect more from Coke. They’ve done some of the best advertsing in history. Their “Mean Joe Green” spot was maybe the best to ever air during a Super Bowl. This just wasn’t up to snuff. Especially with Pepsi sitting this year out, they had the opportunity to do something really great and just didn’t rise to the occasion.

Intel fell into the same area as Coke; a brand that has been producing great work but offered up a disappointingly mediocre spot come game time.  If you haven’t been paying attention, about a year ago, Intel launched a truly brilliant campaign. The initial ad and best of the campaign is called “Rock Star” and you can see it below.

I can’t say enough good things about that spot. Not only was it a clever idea, the execution from casting to music was absolutely dead-on. It was the opening spot in what proved to a really great campaign. You can see another element below:

Not as good as “Rock Star” but still pretty damn badass.

So, here’s what they ran last night:

Again, not a terrible ad by any means. Just that, compared to other recent work, it’s disappointing.

Budweiser and Bud Lite are perennial Super Bowl favourites. They’ve produced some really great work in the past, probably most notably “Whaaaazuuuuup?”, which I loved less for the ad itself than for the fact that an ad was able to actually shape a little bit of pop culture instead of just piggy-backing on it.

Anyway, last night, the guys at Bud ran three spots over the course of the game. The one that most people will probably declare the best of the lot was “Bridge” which you can see below:

Overall, it was a good spot and probably what you expect from a Super Bowl spot from Bud – big budget, good production values, strong humour. I’ll say that generally, it’s not the kind of advertising I generally like. I tend to like advertising that is effective and disposable instead of overly produced and overly precious. If they can make an entire newspaper in 24 hours, I don’t know why it takes some people 6 months to produce a simple ad to run in that same newspaper. But, yeah, the Super Bowl is different and for one night a year, I can sit back and enjoy the overly-produced orgy of capitalist excess and within that vein, this was probably the standout.

The Bud spot I actually liked best was the auto-tune one featuring T-Pain that you can see below.

I actually found this genuinely funny and got a good quick laugh out of it. It doesn’t score as high because unlike “Whaaazzzuuup?” it didn’t really create anything new but, rather, just tapped into a joke that’s been going around for some time already. But they did it well and the spot did a good job of reinforcing Bud Lite’s “Jester” archetype which I once wrote a white paper about so I’ve actually given the brand a fair bit of thought.

The final ad, which I know a lot of people liked was “Fence” featuring the famous Bud Clydesdales. Here it is:

This really didn’t do it for me. Unlike the E-Trade baby, this is an “inconic” campaign that actually does need to be refreshed and shaken up. I’ve really never liked this campaign to begin with, so maybe I’m biased. The only incarnation I actually enjoyed was the 9/11 tribute below

That was a truly epic and beautiful spot at a time and in a circumstance where being epic and beautiful is called for. But, for the most part, it doesn’t work with the brand. You’re a fucking beer! And not even a particularly good one. You need to get over yourself. Give us something funny, maybe some inappropriate humour or lewd sexual innuendo. Stick to the brand. This just doesn’t work.


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