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Monday
Feb042013

Super Bowl XLVII: The good, the bad and the ugly

No doubt you have an opinion on the best and worst Super Bowl commercials from yesterday's game. In my opinion, the best way to judge the effectiveness of an ad is by how well it fulfills the objective of the brief. An ad that doesn't appeal to me, but appeals to my Mom, may be a good ad because that is to whom the ad was supposed to appeal. So, from that perspective, I will give all the ads the benefit of the doubt that they each of them fulfilled their brief.

Having said that, here is my critique of the ads that stood out from a brand or messaging point of view.

THE GOOD

The Dodge Ram truck spot was a great ad in that it was perfectly on brand. It reinforced the brand's attributes perfectly and seemed to fit naturally with my preconceptions of the brand. And although very sentimental, it seemed authentic. Jeep developed a similar execution. However, where Dodge came across sincere, Jeep came across as disingenuous and manipulative. The only part of the Dodge ad that ruined it for me was the fact that is was not an original idea. See the video it was based on here.

Best Buy had a really good ad, especially for the celebrity endorsement variety. The comedy held my attention and the message came through loud and clear: Best Buy employees can answer all my technology questions. Perfect casting and a simple message delivered an on-brand ad that actually had entertainment value. Psy's pistachio commercial, on the other hand, was ineffective, hackneyed and boring.

THE BAD

The top honor goes to Blackberry. The company is hanging by a thread having become virtually irrelevant in a category it once dominated. So, they come out with a "game-changing" new OS and buy some Super Bowl media to show us...nothing. Zip. Zilch. Bupkis. The voice over tells us that it is easier to show us all the things it can't do in 30 seconds. If this is supposed to intrigue me, it failed. And besides, really? This phone is so spectacular that you can't even show me one single feature? Really? 'Cause Apple doesn't seem to have any problems showing me really cool things that actually gets me interested in the product. RIM spent close to $4 million to do nothing to further its brand. Money well spent. 

The other ad I really didn't care for was the VW Bug "Get in. Get happy." spot. First off, I would have sworn this commercial was from the Jamaican Tourist Bureau. Really. I thought it was an ad to get me to go to Jamaica. And as such, it would have been the perfect. Instead, I'm supposed to think that the new VW Bug makes me so happy, I'll turn Jamaican? Wait a minute...what?!? Mercedes had a better execution of marketing aspiration during the Super Bowl.

THE UGLY

For the shear gross and cringe factor, GoDaddy's "Perfect Match" commercial just made me want to turn away. Unlike previous years where they blatantly and unabashedly used sex to lure viewers online, this year they tried to get conceptual on us. Bad idea. Sex sells. Especially when you are selling a commodity. Calvin Klein's Concept commercial is a perfect example. Although I don't think I am the audience for this, it was keeping with the Calvin Klein brand and probably garnered the attention of their target.

So there you have it. My take on the 2013 Super Bowl ads. Until next year, I'll leave you with one honorable mention. I'm not sure if it will sell a lot of product or etch a position in my mind, but I really thought the Samsung ad was very funny.

 

What did you think? What ads did you like or hate? Let me know in the comments section.

 

Kevin Duffy is the Creative Director for The Duffy Agency's Boston office.

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