The 3 Best Things about Super Bowl 49
As someone in the ad biz, I’d love to say that the commercials were my favorite thing about the Seahawks / Patriots match up. But frankly, this year’s Brand Bowl was a bit of a let down. Here were the top 3 things about Super Bowl 49:
1. The Game.
That’s right! The game was actually the best part of the Super Bowl this year, especially the incredibly crazy ending of it. That made the second-half media buys, which are cheaper than first half, a good ROI for brands who bought in (and brought great creative executions).
2. Left Shark.
Look, I’m no Katy Perry fan, but when it came to Halftime Shows, she certainly brought it – that is, she brought Left Shark, and an instant Internet star was born. Left Shark seemed to have forgotten the routine, been drunk, or both – and people loved it. In mere moments, @LeftShark had a Twitter account, Left Shark memes starting popping up, and everyone from individuals to major media was talking about how he or she was the real game MVP.
3. The Commercials (A Few, Anyway)
Clocking in at a distant third this year in terms of entertainment or any other sort of value were the much-anticipated and often-leaked commercials. Before I share my top choices, let’s not forget the Go Daddy PR stunt of pre-releasing a puppy mill commercial and then “bowing to public pressure,” pulling it, and replacing it with another commercial they just happened to have ready at a moment’s notice. Coincidence? Um, no. The worst spot of the game, by far, was from Nationwide: the insurance company bummed out families across America, showing a cute boy and sharing that he never gets to do anything fun because he is dead. Wow, that’s a rough one to insert into happy Super Bowl advertising. Not that you can’t have serious commercials, you certainly can, but take the temperature of the room before you lay down a bomb like that, brands! Enough of that, on to my favorite ads of the Big Game – listed in alphabetical order by the advertiser.
Always: Like a Girl – Never has an ad for “feminine products” hit me with such a strong message. In this category, we expect messages of function; messages of cheesiness; even messages of humor. “Like a Girl” took me and the Super Bowl-viewing world by storm because of the message of seriousness it delivered – and how well it delivered it! Showing us how the expression “like a girl” has positive meanings before puberty sets in – and how the implication of that phrase becomes demeaning as we get older – opened up a window of honesty, something ads are all too often not about. Wow. Wow. Wow. As I tweeted, I run an agency #likeagirl – and I like it. (Nod to Katy Perry.) This ad derived extra power from the fact that it wasn’t leaked ahead of time. (After all, leaking is never a good thing for pads!)
BMW: Newfangled Idea – The Bavarian automaker’s reach back to a 1994 segment of Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel learning about the Internet was a brilliant way to illustrate how “new technologies” like their i3 electric car can change everyday living. If one hadn’t already seen this ad before the Big Game (unfortunately, I had), one probably would think there was something wrong with the feed – that the station was glitching somehow. (Points for attention-getting gimmick at the opening there.) Even though the power of that gimmick wore off after the initial view, bringing these two back together to re-enact the same scene, only speaking this time about the car and not the Internet, was pure gold. When Eddy Grant’s 1980s anthem “Electric Avenue” comes on the car radio and Couric starts to seat dance, BMW once again joins past and present by having Gumbel ask her if she knows how to twerk. Couric’s perfectly delivered “Maybe” ends the commercial on a big smile.
Kia: The Perfect Getaway – Pierce Brosnan in a car ad? And it’s not for Aston Martin, Bond’s signature vehicle? (Or a BMW, which he drove for three movies?) Yes, this scene of Hollywood agent selling the eternally gorgeous Brosnan on doing the commercial is absolutely brilliant. Every time Brosnan thinks the agent is talking about an action adventure, it turns out he’s talking about enjoying life in a Kia – and nicely elevating the brand with each turn the conversation takes. Ultimately, Brosnan sees the value of a different kind of lifestyle, one where treed snipers are replaced by hooting owns, speed chases are slowed down to easy paces, and there are no threats of exploding cabins – just romantic fireworks. We, along with 007, learn a new meaning for the term “getaway vehicle.” And we learn that Kia may have what it takes to take you away. While I did see this one in advance as well, I didn’t mind at all; rather, I looked forward to seeing it again because I liked it so much. Also, points to Kia: they were the only brand of the three mentioned in this post who engaged me after I tweeted my admiration.
While I usually tweet about the ads throughout the Super Bowl, this year I nearly quit halfway through (until a follower embarrassed me into finishing it up). I have to say, having seen so many of the ads ahead of time sort of took the joy out of it for me. The lack of advertising greatness didn’t help, either. I feel bad for advertisers who put so much into it and get judged in a nanosecond, before the impact of the commercials can actually be felt. So I’m thinking next year I’m just going to go back to enjoying the game, and I’m hoping some others will too.
~ Denise Blasevick, @AdvertGirl & CEO, The S3 Agency