Category Archives: Super Bowl

Ferklempt for Clydesdales

crying into cups

We were maybe 5 seconds into the Budweiser Clydesdale spot on Sunday when the sobs started. “I love this ad so much,” my wife snuffled as the colt with the fluffy ankle hair gamboled in the field.

It took me another 45 seconds, but I too was all ferklempt by the end of the spot. And so, by most reports, was the rest of America.

What does this teach us?

People like stories. People like heart-warming emotion. People like traditions and symbols of authenticity. Always have. Always will.

And advertising agencies and marketing experts will always underestimate the degree to which these things matter. They want edge, they want snark, they want surprise. Ad people (me included) loved the Samsung Seth Rogan/Paul Rudd spot with its knowing references and cutting repartee. My wife looked at it with a McKayla-is-not-impressed expression. “Makes me anxious” was her verdict.

Some critics slagged the Clydesdale spot for being “manipulative.” Well, that’s a laugh. Advertising is supposed to manipulate you. It’s supposed to disarm your defenses, color your perceptions and guide your hand down to your wallet. Some ads manipulate with sex. Some do it with flattery. Some even do it with facts. This ad does it with an inter-species bromance but the plot line was already familiar by Homer’s time: love gained, love lost, love regained.

Works every time. You people working on that other Bud brand, Black Label, might want to keep that in mind next time around.

Tagged , , ,

Skechers saw how it would end. And it wasn’t even halftime.

Am I the only one who noticed the amazing similarity between the Skechers dog turning around at the end and sauntering across the finish line, and Ahmad Bradshaw’s eerily parallel move?

Tagged , ,

What the 10021% thought about the Super Bowl ads.

“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%.

Tagged ,