Super Bowl Ads 2017: The Good, The Bad & What Were They Thinking?

While the confetti is still settling to Super Bowl LI, I thought I would provide a few instant reactions to the commercials from the big game. Even though the Patriots overcame a 25 point third quarter deficit to force the first-ever Super Bowl overtime, many of the 110+ million viewers were also glued to the television set to see the commercials.

Didn’t get a chance to see the ads? Watch them here.

As a marketer, the Super Bowl is one of the top events I look forward to each year. The anticipation is, if you are going to spend a reported $5.5 Million per 30 second television spot, the most creative minds will provide the best commercials.

But… as Howard Cosell said regarding the best laid plans in football, “That’s why they play the game.”

Here are my instant observations. More analysis will come in a future blog.

The Good: T-Mobile, Mr. Clean, Febreeze, Squarespace and Tide get high marks.

T-Mobile ruled the night with several different campaigns all focused on the unlimited service they offer. Whether it was Justin Bieber, Gronk and T.O. depicting the history of the celebration dance, the unlikely pairing of Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, or Kristen Schaal getting turned on by being punished by the other company’s overage charges, T-Mobile caught our attention and delivered their message loud and clear.

Perhaps no ad made the room stop and stare at the screen more than the surprisingly sexy cartoon character of Mr. Clean strutting his stuff while cleaning the house. Kudos to the creative team that came up with this clever commercial, including a laugh-out-loud moment at the end where Mr. Clean was actually a real-life, less-than-ordinary man, being passionately attacked with the line, “Ya gotta love a man who cleans.”

Speaking of commercials that made us laugh out loud, Febreeze bluntly came out and announced what their product is really being used for. Part of an overall campaign, this commercial specifically tied into the Super Bowl halftime break and challenged us if our bathroom was ready to handle what was coming.

The Bad: GoDaddy, Lexus and Honda missed the boat.

While it was appreciated GoDaddy didn’t try to use sex to sell their website hosting services this year, the concept of taking various elements of what is popular on the internet was poorly executed and fell flat.

I understand Lexus is trying to target a younger demographic and attempted to do so using dancer Charles Lil’ Buck Riley. But, is that really the right target audience for this $90,000 automobile?

I liked the Honda “Yearbook” commercial for its cleverness, creativity and use of star power. But what was Honda trying to sell here? “Here’s to chasing dreams…” The Honda CR-V? There was little to no connection between the message and the product, leaving me wondering how many Gen Xers were going to be motivated by this commercial.

What were they thinking?:  Continue reading

Super Bowl Commercials – What to Look for in 2017

Millions of people tune in to the Super Bowl every year, with last year’s event drawing nearly 112 million viewers. For many, the commercials are the biggest highlight. Besides being entertaining, I have often found the ads can tell us quite a bit about the state of our country, and current marketing trends.

At $5.5M per 30-second spot (nearly double the cost of the same ad in 2010), the big companies and wannabes are going to try to get the most creative minds in the industry to help tell their story in half a minute. Sometimes they win and, a lot of the time, they lose.

Sir Anthony Hopkins is not selling out in this 2016 Super Bowl ad for TurboTax.

Over the years, it has certainly painted a picture of what we like (food, beer, cars, etc.), but it also tells us what is happening in our society. 15 years ago? The Dot Com companies ruled the night. During the recent recession? Soda, chips, candy bars and fast food – inexpensive comfort items – took prevalence. Two years ago? Sentimental ads focusing on parents, kids and empowerment tugged on our heartstrings. Last year? Brands relied upon respected actors like Hopkins, Neeson, Mirran, Walken and Keitel to build credibility and sway opinion.

What to look for this year? If you are a marketer (or just want to sound smart around the water cooler), here are a few suggestions when watching the Super Bowl…
Continue reading