As a New Englander, it’s great to be able to share in the excitement of the winning team in my snow-covered backyard. The Patriots are not the only winning team I get to be part of. We decided to bring back the championship team – Mike Ertel, Mike Dietz, and myself – to review our favorite Super Bowl commercials. This year, we’ve included our Millennial expert, draft pick Ashley Leone, for her generation’s point of view.
This year, the Mikes did not agree on a favorite commercial as they did with last year’s RadioShack spot. We were all in agreement that the ads were disappointing while the game was awesome. Mike Ertel suggested there’s a correlation between bad football and good commercials – and vice versa.
Mike Dietz and I were big fans of the BMW commercial featuring Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel. The spot was very funny and created intrigue and interest in new technology from BMW. Mike was also a fan of the Clash of Clans ad with Liam Neeson, which was also Ashley’s favorite. Marketing professionals have noted that Millennials like messages that have pop-culture references and humor. This ad had both – Liam Neeson’s dark revenge tale reminiscent of his Taken franchise and the coffee shop’s inability to pronounce his name right (a video poking fun at mispronounced coffee orders has been circulating the web like wildfire).
From a branding perspective, Mike Ertel and I are in the same seat about the Dodge Wisdom commercial. Full disclosure, there is a beautifully restored 1970 Dodge pickup in my garage but that has (almost) nothing to do with my feelings about the commercial. As Mike describes it, Dodge is leveraging 100 years of automotive manufacturing wisdom to drive innovation while reminding us of their experience and dependability. Perhaps the reason we were struck by the ad is the concept’s relevance to our business. We’re using proven marketing strategies in collaboration with new technology to drive (pun intended) results.
Some Ads Turn Somber
As a friend said this morning, “Why spend $4 million on a commercial that most will describe as a big bummer?” The Super Bowl is a time for revelry, and Nationwide took that joy from viewers by using the heart-wrenching topic of accidental child death. As Ashley noted, it’s not that the content wasn’t suited for the event; there was a successful domestic violence ad that used a recent 911 call. Coincidently, this was another social media story that has been making the rounds, except in transcript form, so hearing the actual audio took it a step further and gave automatic recall. At Ashley’s Super Bowl party, they missed the next three commercials because they were sharing how they heard the story initially.
Ashley described the difference this way. The domestic violence ad celebrated a victory against domestic violence, while Nationwide took a lens to a horrifyingly tragic situation. If you believe the adage, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” the ad was successful. Ashley’s sister spent about five minutes going through her twitter feed and reading people’s angry reactions to the ad, including “In their next ad, Nationwide is going to shoot the Budweiser dog.”
Speaking of the Budweiser dog, “Lost Dog” was my sentimental favorite. Mike Dietz and I always agree on beer and the other Budweiser ad was more proof of that. We thought it was interesting to see Budweiser follow the lead of politicians by “appealing to the base” by taking a disparaging shot at pumpkin peach ale.
It’s tough to measure the return on marketing investment (ROMI) when you spend $4 million on a Super Bowl ad. That’s just one reason we think the formula for winning the game of direct marketing resides in our Proprietary Intelligence model. We’d love to talk with you about it; if you’re a beer drinker, you get to pick whether we meet over a Bud or a microbrew. I’ll bring the puppy and the Dodge.
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