Monday, February 6, 2012
Super Bowl > Ad Bowl
Over the past decade or so, millions of households tune into the Super Bowl, the NFL's biggest game. While many viewers tune into the game for the joy of football and seeing who wins, just as many tune into the game just for the commercials....and I am one of those people (unless my Chicago Bears can get their act together and make it back to NFL's promised land). To us viewers, we call it the Ad Bowl.
Coming into Super Bowl 46, I can't remember an Ad Bowl being so hyped up. Year after year, the momentum and hype surrounding the commercials escalates to an unprecedented level. And for the most part, the ads have lived up to the level of generated excitement. Unfortunately, Super Bowl 46 might be remembered more for the game itself than the Ad Bowl.
There were some good ads, and there were some bad ads. There were some fantastic ads, and there were some terrible ads. There were some "WOW! They nailed it!" ads, and there were some "I can't believe they just wasted 3 million dollars on this" ads.
The majority of the commercials didn't explore any new creative limits and they simply were repeats of ads seen in Super Bowl past. The creative departments/agencies that worked on these commercials became to complacent with ideas that worked in the past and assumed they would work again. Examples include...GoDaddy, ETrade (although it was funny, he's running out of things to say), and car ads that are becoming more and more ridiculous each year (see Kia Optima, Audi, and Acura NSX). Below is the Go Daddy ad that, while sticking to it's sexual appeal, is NEVER going to get me to visit their site. Give up already!
But in reality, it's not just the creative team's fault for the surplus of terrible ads this year. Part of the reason is the public's fault as well. We've begun to demands ads BEFORE the Super Bowl even begins and in a sense, we are opening the presents much too early. The fun in watching the Super Bowl ads is to be surprised, shocked, WOW'ed, and mesmorized by ads that we have never seen before. All that is taken out the window when a company leaks its ad out a week before the big game, whether it be by their own decision or the public's high interest.
Maybe this will be the Ad Bowl where companies learn from their mistakes, and I have a few tidbits of advice for success:
1) While many successful ads are humorous, don't simply re-cast humorous situations from previous ads in the past. Unless the humor is iconic with your brand (i.e, the E*Trade baby), it's better to continuously come up with more creative and funnier ideas (I'm talking to you Miller Lite and your "man card" ads).
2) Grasp the power and potential of crowdsourcing. Look at how successful Dorito's ads have become in recent Super Bowl memory. Why are they so successful? Because they leave the creativity up to the viewers themselves. Nobody knows what's funnier than your audience, so see what they have to say and you might just find your next successful campaign.
3) No matter what anybody says, it's best to reveal your ad DURING the Super Bowl. Leaking it (or even displaying teaser ads) is uneventful and causes the ad to lose its appeal/spark when it actually is seen by millions during the game. The ad that's most talked about after the Super Bowl is usually (if not always) one that viewers are seeing for the 1st time. So PLEASE don't reveal your ads until the big game itself.
Later on in the week, I'll post videos of the ads that I thought were the best and those that I thought were the worst....and I'd love to hear what you have to think about my choices as well as what your favorite & least favorite ads were.
Thanks, and until next time, Go Bucks!