Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: My Thoughts on Super Bowl XLV Ads

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Thoughts on Super Bowl XLV Ads

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Super Bowl XLV

I am not a sports fan and know nothing about football, so tonight, the game was about the TV spots. I look forward to the spots every year, and this year, I thought I'd share my thoughts with you. Kudos to the brands and their agencies who had the foresight to embed the videos in a sharable (YouTube) format on a landing page AND do a Google Adwords buy so that I could easily find the videos. What a way to bring the whole thing full circle.

Super Bowl spots I liked...scroll down for ones I liked more and the spot that FREAKED ME OUT

Bridgestone. I did not hear much buzz on Twitter about the Bridgestone ads but I thought they were pretty solid. I also like the Bridgestone website - clean, the Super Bowl ads are easy to spot on the main page a Twitter stream (with keywords carefully selected so that conversation about the ads show up in the stream) underneath the videos. A good, strong effort without any nonsense thrown in (like other brands went for), at least not in my opinion. Kudos to a tire company for having a clean, beautiful website with all the social channels incorporated.

Here is the Bridgestone spot.

My next pick is the Chevy Transformers ad. This was one of the last ads during the Super Bowl and I was glad I stuck around to watch. This ad reminded me SO MUCH of my days as a college student in Southern Illinois and the super-cheesy ads that the local dealerships ran. Back then, I was so entertained by these terrible ads and this Chevy spot was like a comedic homage to the cheesy car salesmen and the circus that surrounds a "sale". I love it when we embrace the ridiculous! Like Bridgestone, the Chevy website is also easily laid out so that the ads are easy to find. The Chevy site is not as clean (or, in my opinion, as lovely) as the Bridgestone site but it is still conducive to viewing the ads.

Here is the Chevy Transformer spot

Another one that I liked (not loved) was the Best Buy Super Bowl ad with the awesome Ozzy Osbourne and the lame Justin Bieber. I get nauseous each time I see Justin Beiber, which means I am sick a lot because he happens to be everywhere, but I do love Ozzie Osbourne. I love Sharon Osbourne too. I also liked that Best Buy mocked the whole 3G, 4G, 5G and 6G thing, with Ozzie asking "How many Gs are there?" I can relate to the G question, I'm not really clear what exactly a G is. On the flipside, I did not think the spot itself had a complete thought behind it. There were funny pieces but I am not really sure what the hell they were saying, or selling for that matter.

The Best Buy landing page for the Super Bowl ads is also pretty lame, unlike the other brands, Best Buy didn't really put any creative dollars behind making this landing page a visually stimulating place for visitors. I don't need to really tell you, you can see for yourself.

I would have embedded the tv spot here (like I did with the others) but Best Buy did not allow for that option. I found a few lame versions on YouTube uploaded by others that I did not want to include.

Super Bowl spots I liked better

The Chrysler ad. This spot gave me chills! Americans stand behind their brothers in need, in 2001 it was New York and in 2011 one can say it is Detroit, pummeled by the recession. The ad team behind this spot truly pulled at our Americanism and they did it well. The ad was able to make us proud, make us want to believe in Detroit, and make us want to believe in Chrysler. Considering this ad was two minutes long (at $3 million for 30 seconds) + productions costs + Eminem's costs, I still think it may be worth it.

I loved how this spot really built suspense, I liked how it showed Detroit as a cosmopolitan and seemingly luxurious city, and finally, I loved that it included EMINEM!

Here is the Chrysler spot (I've watched it a few times)

I guess the auto category really did it for me because I also loved Audi spots. I loved the idea of "Luxury Prison" - I was actually IN luxury prison once (maybe twice), it is a terrible place to be. I loved the tagline "Escape the confines of old luxury". Which seemed to me like an attack on derogatory term "New Money". Audi is telling us that stuffy, rich people can shove it. I can relate. I like money and I hate pretense and I hate boring. If you get a chance, check out Audi USA's YouTube channel and watch the KENNY G. Super Bowl "Teaser" video - it is probably the best thing they produced.

-->> My favorite spot of the night was the Volkswagen Darth Vader ad!

I watched this last week, it aired on The Today show, I loved it then and I loved it tonight. There is no script and the kid has a mask on but you can see so much emotion coming from his little body, it is so cute. Everything about this spot was awesome - the kid, his expressions, the objects he is trying to manipulate and even the final look the dad gives his wife after they freak their kid out. I just loved this spot, LOVED IT. Additionally, I think they spoke to the right audience (age, income) with making a Star Wars reference with a kid about 7 or 8 years old.

Here is the Volkswagen spot

What I did not like or understand

I hated the Doritos ads, just hated them. I thought they were so inappropriate and weird. Maybe I am no longer in the demo (probably not, they probably skewed male 18 to 26). I was not crazy about the Pepsi Max spots either, again, just not for me. I disliked the stupid commercial with the pug the most. Totally stupid, not funny, I have no clue what the point was.

This next one, "The Best Part," just FREAKED ME OUT. I mean really freaked me out. I am still a bit disturbed by this spot. I don't know if I can get this spot out of my head! I do know that I probably can never eat another Dorito for as long as I live.

The Motorola ad went completely over my head. I was not able to find the official spot on YouTube but below I've included what I found. Apparently, it is aimed to take a stab at the iPad and the 1984 Apple computer ad that aired during the Super Bowl (I have embedded that below).

I did not understand this ad, had NO clue it was making reference to an ad that aired when I was 12, and I found it insulting. I was insulted that the main character (Motorola boy) would fancy himself so much that he would stand apart from the rest of the drones in the world. The other thing I did not like was that Motorola was likening themselves to Apple in the first place. Why not try to stand apart by actually standing apart versus belittling your competition. I don't own an iPad but that ad did not make me even remotely interested in the Motorola tablet.

The Motorola spot

And the Apple spot from 1984

There you have it, that is my breakdown of the Super Bowl spots and my thoughts on them. What I liked, didn't like, what I didn't get and what FREAKED ME OUT.

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Pamela said...

Loved the Chrysler Eminem spot!

My least fave was Kia Optima.

I was confused by Stella Artois. Adrien Brody is not a sex symbol. And not Belgian. Although I guess he makes me want to drink more.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff leyla. Wondering about your thoughts on Careerbuilders spot?

Nick said...

Oh how could you not like the Motorola ad? Apple's original (and ask any Apple fan and they would say "iconic") ad took a shot at Microsoft.

Also, I thought the guy was just being meta-ironic, making fun of the Mac guy in the Apple v Microsoft ads.

And the Darth Vader ad? Cute, but kind of like Hallmark, TV show cute. You knew what would happen, but it still pulled at your emotions.

P.S. Writing this at 530am, so make no promises about the spelling, grammer, etc!

BTRIPP said...

Leyla ... it must be a "generational" thing on the Motorola ad. I thought it was BRILLIANT! Here was a "real guy" in a world of iDrones, all with their little Apple ear buds in. He's not buying the GroupThink ("drinking the Cupertino Kool-Aid") and has a better machine than what Steve Jobs has dictated his fanboys (and girls) use. It implies that Apple has become the "empire of conformity" that was being fought against in the iconic 1984 SuperBowl commercial (which is not-so-subtly referenced when the guy flips through an e-book copy of Orwell's classic, in the opening shots).

I still don't see what people like about the "Darth Vader" ad ... it's mildly cute, but using the remote control to freak out (and/or amaze) the kid is the sort of trick ANY parent would pull ... the fact the kid had the "anticipated reaction" is no great revelation to anybody with children.

My favorite ad from the evening was the Stella Artois spot ... it was classy, charming, and focused on the product. It appealed on a lot of levels, reminding me of some of the classic Michelob spots from 25 years ago (back when I was still drinking) in that it made me want to go right out and buy one of those beers!

I also liked the "beaver" Bridgestone ad ... while being a fantasy, it was a heart-touching one, while keeping the point more-or-less on the product. However,I thought the earlier one ("reply-all") was moronic at best.

One other spot that was dead-on was the promo for House where they revisited Coke's much-esteemed "Mean Joe Greene" commercial, but with House's cane standing in for Greene's jersey (with "less endearing" results). Comedy genius.

John Knight said...

I loved the Volkswagen ad as well. It hit incredibly close to home. I posted about it earlier today:

The Doritos ad just freaked me out and I applaud Audi for creating another "world" in their spots. Honestly, a weekly show based on it as well written would be better than some of the shows on now.