“The last national audience.” “The biggest stage.” Whatever you want to call it, at 113 million viewers, the Superbowl audience means lowest-common-denominator targeting for advertisers.
Except for groups like the one gathered to view the game in the Grill Room of a posh New York private club to which I have inexplicably been granted membership. These people are for the most part rich, powerful and accomplished, and/or artists, writers or musicians of note. Zip Code 10021 is their habitat, and 65 is the average age.
An unscientific sample of 50 of these fellow club members and their spouses/SOs yielded the following results:
Favorite commercial: Skechers “Mr. Quiggly”
Runners-up: A tie for 2nd between the Budweiser “Clydesdales” and Doritos “Sling.” “Mrs. Brown” for M&Ms came in 3rd.
Most disliked: A tie between Budweiser “Platinum” and Audi’s “So long, Vampires.”
In general, commercials that hid the identity of the brand until well into the spot did not fare well. “You can’t tell who it’s for!” was a common complaint. That was a little unnerving to hear, since I’ve come to believe over time that telling people how the movie ends in the opening scene rarely works well.
The spots that did well with this group hewed to Super Bowl commercial orthodoxy: animals, characters and humor. Having said that, I was surprised to see how little an impression the Coke polar bear spots made.
The big negatives racked up by the Bud Light Platinum launch spot puzzled me, since to me the spot was so lame it lacked the ability to either impress or annoy. I guess telling people who already drink “top shelf” adult beverages that Bud Light is now part of their consideration set is a little off-putting.
But the dislike of the Audi “Vampire” commercial came as no surprise. It was a very long run (the destruction of a vampire party) for a very short slide (daylight headlights, get it?), populated by people who look like fanged versions of the Club members’ own offspring—not the core target for this auto maker.
In my view, “So long, Vampires” is smack dab in the death quadrant of the Belly of the Beast Suckage matrix: expensive and bad. At least on this question, I find myself squarely in the 10021%.