The Super Bowl is not only a football spectacle – every year, we marketing types get to watch a cornucopia of new and creative advertisements designed to capture the attention of the 115 million viewers. This year’s Super Bowl ads, on the whole, seemed more serious and heartfelt than the usual crazy/wacky Super Bowl fare. On one hand this made them stand out, but on the other, some of them came off as a bit too heavy-handed. Below we have some of our favorites and not-so-favorites, along with a brief analysis of what we think made them work.
- Microsoft’s ad featured six year old Brandon O’Neill, a boy missing the tibia and fibula bones in both of his legs, who can now walk due to advances in technology. Microsoft software was supposedly used “to analyze Brandon’s gait”. The commercial was inspirational, but it couldn’t help but feel a little exploitative, since Microsoft was not responsible for any significant portion of the technology giving Brandon a chance to walk.
- Dove’s Men+ Care ad was also emotional, featuring a montage of some of the most important moments in the lives of dads. The ad was heartwarming and made a good connection between “dad’s caring” and Dove, which is probably not a bad way to get men to care about cosmetics.
- Budweiser’s commercial, which featured a lost puppy coming home to its owner, was easily the most cited “favorite” on the Internet post-Super Bowl. Everyone loves puppies, right?! Honestly, we feel the ad was a bit lacking, because it didn’t really have anything to say about Budweiser’s product. With that said, we have to give Budweiser credit for doing something other than their standard “extreme frat guy” ads.
- Chevy, on the other hand, hit it out of the park with their truck commercials. The first one stood out by making viewers think their TV connection was failing at such a crucial time as the Super Bowl, only to tell them that 4G Wi-fi comes standard on their new Chevy Colorado.
- Chevy’s other ad was also smart, playing on the perceptions people have of a “truck guy”. In the commercial, a Chevy focus group sees two versions of the same picture of a guy, one with a truck in the background and another with a sedan. The impressions of the focus group was that the truck guy was decidedly cooler, and the end of the commercial came right out with its message to men everywhere: “You Know You Want a Truck.”
- Clash of Titans also had an amazing ad, utilizing Liam Neeson giving an adapted version of his now famous Taken speech. The dramatic delivery made a great contrast with the humor of Neeson calling out his in-game enemy “BigBuffetBoy85”, and a barista calling out for “Lai-am” to give him his coffee order.
- Finally, Snickers proved that taking a familiar ad and reinventing it can be a great way to both retain and reinvigorate your existing brand. They did a version of their now famous “You’re not you when you’re hungry” ad, but this one was easily the craziest one ever, featuring perpetual action movie villain Danny Trejo as one of the kids on the Brady Bunch.
To wrap up, our favorite ads were the ones that didn’t take themselves too seriously, and that didn’t stray too far from their true purpose: telling us something about their product while also being entertaining enough to make us pay attention.