Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Bowl Ads - Play by Play

Pre Game:

I don't generally watch the Super Bowl - even for the ads. (And, by the way, doesn't watching Super Bowl for the ads sound like the guys who in olden days read Playboy for the articles? Just thought I'd offer that.) In any case, I've avoided the Super Bowl - except in those years when the Patriots are playing - because I just find everything associated with it run-up, pageantry, head banging hoopla, music, aftermath, etc. way too over the top.

This year, though, I'm watching for purely professional reasons: so that I can post on Opinionated about it.

And, since it's just plain no fun watching a sports event if you're not rooting for someone, I'm going with the Bears. Not, as some might surmise, because the Colts beat our boys or because I find Peyton Manning both wildly annoying and boringly bland (go figure). No, it's because, while I grew up in New England, my mother is from Chicago and I have lots of family out there. As long as the locals aren't in it, I'll always cheer on the Chicago guys. My parents became engaged at Soldiers' Field, so there's a special resonance with the Bears.

So, onto the ads.

I went into SB with few preconceived notions about what I was going to be seeing, and only a vague idea about who would be advertising - Budweiser? a car company? Monster?

The only ad I'd seen was the Kevin Federline one, but I'd only half-watched it. I thought it was for McDonald's (which would have required such a feat of corporate wit and self-deprecation, plus an acknowledgement that 99.99% of their front-line employees would rather be doing something else).

Tabula rasa - or empty blog, I settled down for a long winter's evening of ad-watching, interspersed with what I hoped would be some decent football not unduly and stultifying accompanied by color commentators droning on about how the Divine Mr. M. deserves to win/or has to win to put his rep as someone who can't win the big ones to rest for once and for all. Or about Rex Grossman's battles with the Chicago press for respect. Or how clutch (the adorable but turncoat) Adam Vinatieri is, with his golden and amply compensated toe.

Let alone about the presence of not one African-American head coach in the Super Bowl for the first time, but two African-American head coaches in the SB for the first time, a situation that would bring on keenly insightful "analysis" about how we would now not only have the first African-American SB winner, but the first African-American SB loser.

On my mark, get set, go - my real time impressions of the ads (ignoring those for TV shows and movies), and not incidentally, the game:

First Half:

Chicago kick-off TD run-back: Bears 7 - 0. Go, Bears!

Bud - Rock Paper Scissors: I didn't actually see what one of the guys threw. They had to tell us "rock". Amusing concept. Should've used a bigger rock!

Doritos - Guy driving car, girl next to it: Couldn't really focus on this, but my impression was that it was terrible.

Blockbuster - Animals in the pet shop for Blockbuster: Deeply disturbing.

Sierra Mist - guy with the hair and the cutoffs: Oh, no.

Salesgenie - how do you do it: OK. They made their impression with Mr. Slick. Now I know they exist. Plus 100 "free" sales leads. Not particularly good, but not bad.

Sierra mist - karate: Mildly amusing, but I still haven't forgiven them for the guy with the hair (or for the Christmas hawk). At least they're on an up tick.

Note: This three-at-a-time is hard to keep up with.

Manning bombs away - oh, boo hoo. There goes that early lead. Hey, not so fast. Bad snap. Missed the point after. 7 - 6 Bears.

Toyota - Tundra truck braking over the canyon: Nice little thrill piece.

Fed Ex - Moon office: Loved the guy trying to drink the coffee. Good concept. Nice reminder that Fed Ex changes to accommodate a changing world.

Bud Light - auctioneer wedding: OK concept, but I really lost the idea that this was an ad for beer. (Was it?)

Messy back and forth, but "We like it, we love it, can't get enough of it." Bears 14 - 6.

Snickers - Man love with the guys in the garage munching (frenching?) the Snickers bar. No thanks.

Schick - folks in the gym, German "scientists": Cheese-ball.

Chevrolet- mixing it up, "we're not the jet-set": A little choppy, but nice appeal to multiple ages and demographics. Still won't get me to by a Chevrolet.

Bud -Light - English language class: Amusing idea.

Bears fumble. Sloppy game.

GoDaddy - marketing babes in the back room: Well, as a marketing pro (and a woman) I find this one a little off-putting. Are that many GoDaddy customers guys that they don't care to appeal to women? I'm a customer, what about me?

Coca Cola - video game ad: Graphically very nice. Don't quite get the 'give a little love thing'.

One quarter into this game, I'm exhausted just trying to keep up with the ads. And, frankly, most of them aren't worth keeping up with. No wonder I've been avoiding Super Bowl all these years.

Bud light - slap happy: I only liked when the guy slapped his boss, but my husband laughed during this one.

American Heart Association - "you gotta have heart": talkin' about my generation.

Maybe because I didn't listen to any of the pre-game, or maybe because I'm not paying that much attention, I've heard blessedly little of my predicted can Peyton do it? disrespected Rex, and two African American coaches.

Bud - Life gets better when you're a dalmatian: Whatever.

Garmin - Paper map monsters - champion of navigation: Well, now I've heard of them at least. Plus, technically, the ad was pretty well done.

Bears - 14-9, game tightening up on an Adam V field goal.

Careerbuilder - guys in the jungle: Funny spoof on corporate training sessions. Loved when they lemming'd off the cliff.

Doritos - check-out girl and guy buying multiple Doritos: Very funny. Loved it.

Chevy - college ad with guys stripping and cleaning the car: Spare me ever seeing this one again.

Colts - 16-14. Ouch.

GM - robot that dreams of getting fired: GM on quality. Fun ad, but would that it were so...Or are they signaling a real commitment to quality.

Coca Cola - black history tribute: Low key and sweet.

Gotta think that crappy weather favors the Bears, but Manning's looking pretty good.

Sprint - connectile dysfunction: nice parody Cialis etc. ads, but wouldn't want a steady diet of this ad, thanks.

Motorola - making of a champion: Combines old fashion ad-ness with a nice demo of their technology.

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, but Indy's definitely got the edge.

Doritos/Tostitos/Fritos - Black fans watching "the first": Low key and sweet, but not so sweet as the Coke ad. So, it isn't the announcers who are making all that much about two African-American head coaches, it's the advertisers.

Coke - old man with his first Coke, etc.: Fun, but come on, who hasn't had a Coke?

Did I really just see Adam V miss a field goal? Oh, baby. Could be the lift the Bears need.

Half time:

I really don't have to watch the halftime hoopla, do I? I mean, I didn't even watch the halftime shows when the Pats were in it.

OK. Now I know why I don't enjoy Super Bowl. (Although the marching band from Florida A&M was kind of fun.)

Half time score for the ads: Gotta go with Fed Ex. First runners up: Coke and CareerBuilders. (And truly, I've liked the local ads - Eastern Bank and Hood Creamery - as well as any I've seen so far.)

Second half:

Field goal by Adam V. Colts 19-14.

E-Trade - bank robbery: Fun and makes the point that they're cheaper than banks, but I may have missed the point. Is E-Trade positioning itself as a bank, or are they competing with people who trade through their banks. Who trades through their bank?

Coke - bottling madness (what goes on behind the Coke machine): technically slick and visually very interesting.

Bud Light - gorillas in the mist: I mean, I love anthropomorphism as much as the next guy, but bor-ing.

Revlon hair color - Sheryl Crow: Right. I'm sure that Sheryl's stylist came around to using an off-the-shelf dye job. "Not fade away?" This ad will. (Though I like the use of a Buddy Holly tune).

Career builders - guys fighting over a promotion: not as fun as the training ad, but pretty good.

Taco Bell - Talking lions trying to pronounce carne asada: I like anthropomorphism, but the idea of a couple of animals - and carnivores at that) commenting on a meat dish.

Van Heusen shirt - "our guy": Yawn. Is this really on Super Bowl? Didn't I see this ad, like, 30 years ago?

Game's lookin' poorly for Da Bears. Colts are opening things up a bit here. Meanwhile, one of the announcers just compared a player to John Havlicek - 6th man in basketball, 12th man in football. I guess. Sports is sports.

Another AV field goal: Colts 22 - 14.

Toyota Tundra - something about torque: Maybe it's a guy thing.

Emerald Nuts - Robert Goulet flitting around an office: I always hate Emerald Nuts ads. Always. But what were they thinking here? Robert G. looks like a cadaver. And he also looks like he could use Sheryl Crow's hair colorist, using the Revlon or ground up tea bags or melted crayons. Anything would be an improvement on what's on Goulet's pate in this ad. Nuts to this one.

T-Mobile - ad with Charles Barkely and some other guy: Mildly amusing. Who's the other guy?

FexEx Ground - everyone agreeing with the boss: Not up to their other ads.

Nationwide - Federline as the fast food worker: Can't stand K-Fed, but find this ad very funny. I really don't see how this is insulting to fast food workers. Come on,who doesn't fantasize about doing something other than what they do for a living, let alone guys working the Fryolator all day?

Bud Light - pick up the hitchhiker with the axe: Very, very funny. Didn't need the chain saw tack-on, but so far, best of the half.

Bears just scored an FG. Colts 22-17.

Bud - Crabs worshipping beer: Maybe I'm missing something, but, while the animation's clever, this didn't do it for me.

Prudential - rock solid retirement: Nothing new here.

Honda CR-V - Hotta, hotta burning love: Notta, notta very interesting ad.

Interception. TD. Colts 29-17.

HP - Motorcycle shop doing their thing with HP: by the time you figure out it's for HP and not for Harley Davidson...

Izod - Beautiful young couple between beautiful, young, and athletic: Quite lovely, but I think I've seen this one before. Not so instant replay.

Bud - Don Shula (?) playing a simulated football game: Nice special effects, but other than that not much of anything.

FloMax - Buncha guys enjoying life with the Flo-master: Not much that could make this one a winner. Way too geezer-zone to be of much interest. (Not that being in the geezer zone means you can't be funny and interesting.)

E-Trade - What you can do with one finger: Tell your expensive broker where to go. Very funny ad. Hit's all the right notes. Clever and definitely speaks to their value proposition.

CareerBuilder - walking on coals and other tortures associated with the performance review: OK, but the training ad is still their best so far.

Honda - fuel efficient autos: Very attractive. Timely point, given the U.N.'s report on global warming.

Snapple - green-tea: Clever and fun, but boy, am I flagging.

The final: Colts 29 - Bears 17. It's certainly a lot easier to take a loss if you really don't have any emotional fan involvement.

Michelin - tire production line: technically very nice, and the tire guy's still cute.

Post Game Analysis:

Other than the sheer concentration of ads, very few of the much touted Super Bowl ads really impressed me. Maybe it's the inevitable letdown after such a foaming build-up.

My winners are E-Trade, Coke, Fed-Ex, and Nationwide (because of/despite K-Fed). Also liked the Snapple ad, and the look and feel of the Honda fuel-efficient ad.

My losers: GoDaddy. Snickers. And, the grand prize loser: Emerald Nuts. I wouldn't open a can of Emerald Nuts if they were the last snack food on earth.

Overall, I'm a bit disappointed. With all the pre-game build-up about the great ads, few if anything struck me as something you don't see normally. Maybe a bit more technical virtuosity in a few of them (Coke). Other than that...

Does any one actually calculate the cost vs. benefit of the Super Bowl ads? I'm sure that there are metrics somewhere, and I'd be curious about whether the production and placement costs actually translate into anything meaningful for the advertisers.


Anonymous said...

Ads were about as boring as the game. Definately a waste of time and electricity for those watching.

Maureen Rogers said...

Agreed. During the first half, I kept saying, well, they must be saving the good ads for the second half.

Maybe if they didn't give it such a big build up, I wouldn't have been so disappointed. On the other hand, if they hadn't given it such a big build up, I wouldn't have watched the ads to begin with.

Anonymous said...

About the GoDaddy ads...what the heck are they selling? (being facetious)...and I'm certainly not buying! A classic sign of a company beginning to lose market share.

Mary Schmidt said...


Thanks for the great list. Not being a football fan, I passed on the whole thing (besides te game is usually pretty boring.) I was busy falling down a ski slope in Santa Fe. All in all, more fun for me (and, boy, can I empathize with how the players must feel the day after. Ouch and groan!)

The Robert Goulet commercial sounds very sad. What is with companies that use old celebrities? Great that they give them work (and plug into baby boomer nostalgia) - but why must they make them look like the celebrities were literally dug up? The Geico commercial with Burt Bacharach is just downright creepy.

And, any of the hair color ads - right, Sheryl, Sara Jessica and all the rest are in their bathrooms with towels around their shoulders and dabbing away. (Or their stylists are doing the dabbing, but still...)

Jill said...

I have to admit: None of the Superbowl ads had much "wow" factor. Some of them were just 'okay' but for the most part, I think a lot of the advertisers wasted their money. What ever happened to the "Bud-weis-errrr" frogs? Or my all time favorite Terry Tate Office Linebacker? Those were the good ol' days of Superbowl ads. The ones that had everyone talking about them the next day. Hopefully next year will be a better set for all of us to enjoy

Glenn said...

The game was better than the ads (and the game was very sloppy). I'm just glad I didn't okay the budget for any of those ads--especially the Snickers one. I thought the Coke ads were closer to the true purpose of advertising that Budweiser's were.

Maureen Rogers said...

I don't want to rewrite my blog history here, but - now that it appears that there's some anti-gay feeling around the Snickers ad - I want to clarify that my dislike of this ad was the unattractiveness of the two guys and the gross way they looked. If it had been the guys from Brokeback Mountain (or other good looking guys), I might have liked it better.