Our Super Bowl ad review took a year off so our IWCO Direct Minnesota team could prepare to host the Super Bowl in the “Bold North.” Our Pennsylvania team was already busy cheering on and celebrating the victory by the underdog Eagles.
As Mike Ertel describes it, “Minnesota has been preparing for the big game for well over a year and as a 20+ year resident, I can honestly say that I am incredibly proud of how the community came together to welcome football fans from around the world. Despite losing to the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, ‘Minnesota nice’ prevailed. IWCO Direct, located just 21 miles southwest of US Bank Stadium, and just blocks from Prince’s Paisley Park, felt the buzz and excitement building as the clock wound down to kick-off. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to control the weather, but those who attended can at least say they were at the coldest Super Bowl game in history.”
Our ad review panel was comprised of Mike Dietz, Executive Creative Director, Mike Ertel, EVP Sales & Marketing, Laura Karels, Senior Designer, and me, Debora Haskel, VP Marketing & Corporate Communications. In terms of demographics, that means two females, two males, two Vikings fans, one Packers fan, and a Giants fan. Here’s our collective take on the commercials.
1. Favorite Super Bowl ad and why?
The Tide commercials were the top pick for our male panelists. Mike Dietz summarized their choice for us: “There were a couple of elements I thought were really effective. First was humor. They did a good job making fun of the exact channel they are working within. Second was the placement. Putting the spot early in the broadcast kept the viewers guessing whether every commercial was a Tide ad or not throughout the game. Their approach was very clever and well executed.”
Laura and I named the NFL’s Touchdown Celebrations ad as our FAVORITE (deserving all caps, in Laura’s estimation). I thought this one could be called “iconic.” Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr. reenacting Dirty Dancing was the only LOL moment of the game for me. We all gave a thumbs up to the Australia tourism commercial, too. Presented as a movie trailer, it played on stereotypes while effectively promoting why anyone would be willing to spend 15+ hours on a plane to get there.
2. Least favorite commercial and why did the game plan fail?
Mike Ertel gave a solid “meh” to Bud Light’s “Dilly Dilly” ad, commenting, “catchy (to some) but not sure what the goal was. No one stepped out too far, possibly a lesson learned from last year’s Mountain Dew ‘Puppymonkeybaby’ debacle.” While it didn’t come close to the Puppymonkeybaby failure, I gave a big thumbs down to the Diet Coke Mango ad. It made me miss the polar bears. A lot. Laura noted that her dad really liked the Doritos and Mountain Dew commercials, while she wasn’t a huge fan of either.
3. Could any of the favorite commercials have been improved with an integrated direct marketing campaign tied to the Super Bowl spot? If so, explain in what way.
We were all in agreement that while coordinating a direct response campaign with strong brand marketing (in this case, Super Bowl ads) can enhance overall marketing effectiveness, none of us jumped from our seats in response to a missed opportunity as some of us did in response to the wildest field goal miss in Super Bowl history. As Mike Dietz observed, “These ads are really brand-driven and didn’t make specific offers, so I did not really see anything that could have been seamlessly transitioned into a solid direct response campaign. We do know that brand TV spots with a coordinated direct mail campaign can boost response, but in this case, the lack of offer makes it difficult to have anything to respond to.”
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