We couldn’t help but notice that this year’s Super Bowl ads would be reaching out to women, showcasing women, and focusing on women, so it only made sense to ask five women from IWCO Direct to review this year’s ads. While every response to this request was an enthusiastic variation of, “Count me in,” the enthusiasm waned as we watched this year’s ads. Spoiler alert—our Super Bowl ad review includes the terms, “meh,” “blah,” “nothing special,” and “really disappointing.” And yes, we used the same adjectives to describe the game.
Super Bowl Ad Review: Stella Artois, Pepsi, & Hyundai Appealed to Most of Our Panelists’ Tastes
We didn’t agree on everything, however. For example, Senior Designer Laura Karels and I really liked the Stella Artois ad. As Laura said, “How can you not love The Dude and when he said, ‘Stella Ar Toes’…that was the best! I think it was great that they picked two completely different characters, who both have a signature drink, and then had them stray from their norm by ordering the same beer.” On the other hand, Krista Black, Group Account Director, thought the Stella ad was awful and landed squarely in the category that Ashley Leone, Marketing and Corporate Communications Coordinator, described as having “so many celebrity cameos that they stopped making an impact.”
A number of our thumbs went up for the Pepsi commercial that starred Steve Carrell. Anyone who knows Ashley knows she doesn’t just prefer Diet Coke, she would not drink a Diet Pepsi in its place if she were completely parched. Here’s her review of the Pepsi ad: “I feel traitorous liking the Pepsi commercial, because I genuinely hate Pepsi and am one of those people who, when asked, ‘Is Pepsi okay?’ gives a stern ‘No,’ but credit where credit is due—it was clever. Steve Carrell is a powerhouse in himself, and could have easily carried the whole thing on his own. Adding Lil John and Cardi B, who I never realized are both known for how they say ‘okay,’ was just genius. It was light, fun, and made Pepsi seem somewhat tolerable to this hard-core Diet Coke fan.”
Another winner for a majority of the Super Bowl ad review panel was the Hyundai elevator commercial. Megan Lester, Sales Director National Accounts, summarized it perfectly for those who may not have seen it. “Hyundai poked fun at every uncomfortable experience Americans are subjected to with Ozark favorite Jason Bateman manning an elevator and highlighting how painful car buying can be. They cleverly looped in their big benefit—‘Shopper Assurance’—three-day worry free exchange, test drives that come to you, and transparent pricing—to demonstrate that their shopping experience is a step above the rest.”
Super Bowl Ad Review: Bumble, T-Mobile & Kia Created Connections
One of the things we watched for was an example of effective multichannel marketing. Megan nominated Bumble and T-Mobile for the win in that category. As she said, “They did a great job of connecting with their millennial and single audiences. Within seconds of the Bumble spot, a series of push notifications went out to Bumble subscribers in the sports bar I was posted up at for the big game. T-Mobile had audiences relatedly laughing to their awkward and hilarious conversational text messages, including the clever prompt to run out to Taco Bell on Tuesday for free tacos. Nice call to action and partnership on their part. It would have been interesting to see them take it to the next level by having T-Mobile customers text their Verizon and Sprint subscribing friends to let them in on the T-Mobile Free Taco deal.”
Finally, when I read this comment from Laura, I wondered if Alexa was listening as Laura watched the Kia Telluride ad. Laura told us, “I’m a Kia owner, my husband owns a Kia, and my next vehicle will probably be a Kia. I would love to get something in the mail from Kia announcing the new vehicle or letting me know when it’s available for purchase. I told my husband, ‘Oooh! What is that?!’ and so I went online to find out more, only to be disappointed that it’s not out yet. But maybe Kia will send me something as soon as it is available. This morning I had an email from Kia announcing the Telluride. They must have read my mind.” Following that up with a physical piece to current Kia owners using creative direct mail design techniques that showcase the unique features of the Telluride could go a long way to ensuring a successful omnichannel launch.
In contrast to Laura’s experience, Megan observed how much more effective the Google Translate ad could have been. She wrote, “Google Translate really missed an opportunity to ask for a download with their 100 Billion Words ad. They did an incredible job demonstrating the power of the tool and how it connects us around the world in a simple yet effective way. An ask for viewers to send a message to someone they know in another country in another language would have come full circle.”
If you need help making your marketing programs come full circle, contact me here. I promise to connect you with the IWCO Direct team that will drive a much higher score than Super Bowl LIII.
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