The Telegraphers are here to share their opinions on the commercials of Super Bowl 48.
Super Bowl 48 was an unmitigated disaster. It was the least competitive, most boring game on the field of my adult life. The on-air commercials and corresponding online activation was equally as underwhelming. I literally cannot recall a single brand’s commercial with any amount of enthusiasm. Sure I remember the Budweiser puppy ad, but what exactly was Anheusur-Busch trying to accomplish here? Is this what we want branding to be? Cute labrador puppies and Clydesdales? Nothing gives me a hankering for some barley and hops like puppies and horses. Last year I ripped on a team member pretty good for being so disgruntled. This year, I’m that guy.
SB48 = EPIC FAIL.
Isaiah: Chief Creative Officer
Aside from what happened on the field, we’ve learned a few simple lessons from SB48:
- We only tolerate two kinds of stories: ones that make us laugh or ones that make us cry. A historic number of American viewers tuned in to reinforce this viewpoint- if you’re not committed to make us feel either of those emotions, you’re out of touch with American values. Queue the puppies, childhood memories, heroism and yes, more dogs. Just put a dog in it somewhere and we’ll love it.
- The most effective Super Bowl ad doesn’t have to be in the Super Bowl. If you’re a brand that has already spent hundreds of millions all year long building a nice campaign, now is the perfect time to leverage that with a purposefully not-SB-but-right-after-the-SB commercial that feels authentic and transparent, even though there was still a classic marketing message at the end that got 400,000+ people to gladly tweet their desired hashtag. #genius
In the end, it’s all advertising. That’s what storytelling is: connecting through emotion and shared values. The world might not be so complicated after all.
During the Superbowl, RadioShack demonstrates how important “Identity” and “Credibility” are to the marketplace. They looked in the mirror and recognized it’s time to shed the 80′s look and feel and launch a fresh identity. Rightly so, they realized they can not rest on their many years of retail technical credibility alone, it’s time to amp their brand, people, products and image.
Instead of resting on the loyalty of their customers they’re branding from the inside out — my bet is they’re going to win over new brand loyalists.
Chris Seagle: Graphic Designer
I thought the RadioShack commercial was funny. I admire what they’re trying to accomplish with the whole “we don’t sell Gateway’s anymore” but can you honestly remember the last time you were in a RadioShack? Me neither. I doubt that will change. #BestBuy4Life
Overall the commercials felt too gimmicky. Bob Dylan’s Chrysler commercial? YEESH.
Mark: Creative Director
I don’t think a Super Bowl ad is worth the money unless you’re doing something epic. There were no “Wassups,” no Bud frogs, no “Imported from Detroit” and no tag lines that have made it into the lexicon of our language. Don’t get me wrong. The creative — other than the sense that it was trying too hard — was good, but no legends were born. So, if a Super Bowl ad is not worth the money, what’s the next best thing? Save your money and cash in on the hype around the event. Good thinking Esurance.
Selena: Account Executive
Overall I think the best money spent was T-Mobile’s breakup ad with nothing but text and a pink background. Branding and a solid, clear message.
Many commercials took way too long to develop. I could appreciate the attempt to tell a story, however in a commercial, you should know the brand before the end. Otherwise you paid a bunch of money to tell a good story without a solid tie to a brand.
Allen: Lead Web Developer
When you think of British accents, you think sophistication. By highlighting the superior taste, desire for power, and attention to detail and style of our friends across the pond, Jaguar spoke to the personality of the Jaguar market. The closing line of “It’s good to be bad.” drives inferior personalities to strive to purchase the brand, wanting to show themselves in a status beyond their own scale. Jaguar knows their market and plays to those emotional buys. Bravo brilliant branding.
David: Art Director
My favorite? The Squarespace ad. Titled “A Better Web Awaits,” the spot opened with a man being mobbed with duckface-internet memes, those pleading for Facebook likes, spammy virus warnings and aggressive promotions shouting “click here!” There is a ton of junk floating around out there and at some point you have to draw the line. You can’t change what the internet has become, but you can change what it will be.
What is your website going to do? Is it going to add to the cesspool that the internet has become, or will it simple and necessary… representational of your ideals as a brand?
Ali: Digital Strategist
Being that social media is my jam (and that football most definitely isn’t, and I therefore didn’t watch the commercials live), I’m going to turn my attention to the interwebs.
It was the best of times and it was the worst of times for brands on Twitter, and for J.C. Penny, it was apparently the drunkest (turns out they were only #tweetingwithmittens). Though clever once the entire joke was explained, I think this stunt’s mixed reviews make it clear that attention-seeking tactics get their 15 minutes of fame, but may not be worth the risk.
Sam: Web Developer
So, the Coke commercial that pissed everyone off was probably the most polarizing, and therefore, my most memorable commercial during the Super Bowl. I’m not 100% sure if Coke had this intention, but many people were put off by the fact that the actors in the commercial were doing two things: drinking coke, and speaking different languages. They seemed to be more upset with the latter than the former. This is America! We #SpeakAmerican here!
I’ll refrain from judging those who felt it was appropriate to use #SpeakAmerican in a negative way on Twitter and elsewhere. I will say this though, for every negative use of #SpeakAmerican and #BoycottCoke, there seemed to be double or triple the amount of people using the hashtag to defend Coke and rebuke those who felt the need to be hateful. I haven’t lost all hope for humanity… all of this from a simple Coke commercial.
Seth Baird: Videographer
As I stood in the living room enjoying a nice bowl of chili, I heard my friends yelling, “Seth! That’s your commercial on TV!” And they were right! I, Seth Baird, had a local commercial spot airing during the Super Bowl! How awesome is that? I was honored and humbled to see something I helped produce for Hoover Toyota next to commercials from Budweiser, Doritos and Ford.
Jin: Graphic Designer
Doritos held a contest for their commercial spot and this one only cost a dad less than $300 and about 8 hours of shooting. I love how the innocence is really expressed by the adult versus the child: You would think the roles would be reversed. But it’s nice to see adults who haven’t given up their willingness to explore and imagine. It goes to show you that a low budget commercial can be just as compelling and successful as high priced ones!
Seth Harris: Web Developer
This was a throwaway year for Superbowl ads, but Wonderful Pistachios spot (cleverly split in two) was a breathe of fresh air.
Being a fan of The Colbert Report, it was clear that Wonderful gave the majority, if not all of the creative control to Colbert’s writing staff, which was the main reason this worked and is such a brilliant satire. Wonderful Pistachios is sure to get the “Colbert Bump.”
Morale of the story? Let creative people be creative and stop over-branding.
Rob: Account Executive
The most entertaining ad of the evening for me was the Bud Light “For Whatever Happens” spot.
Memorable? I will never be able to un-see the image of Arnold Schwarzenegger channelling Martina Navratilova in cheesy 80′s tennis-ware. This ad provides a tip of the hat to the movie “The Hangover,” while conjuring up a vision of the Bacchanalian randomness of beer-fueled evenings that Bud Light consumers are seeking. And the tag-line, “The Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens,” helps link beer consumption to all activity rather than some activities.