Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Bowl Ads: Upon Further Review

The call in the first post stand: Pretty much even with last year...which is not a good thing.

Now having been able to re-watch last night's ads, read some reviews, engage in (limited) conversations, and most importantly awaken from my food+beverage coma, I will report on the day after. Firstly, you may have noticed that above I said convos were limited. Surprisingly, few people at the advertising agency were talking about the commercials today. There were a few mentions of the Coca-Cola work (which I should have mentioned we do here at Wieden in the last post) as well as a bit of debate on the CareerBuilder stuff, which our Portland office does too. As much as I'd like to delve into that one alone, I'm going to hold my tongue as a relatively new guy because I don't want to be forced to use CB! (I will say that the site is more interesting and would be interested to hear your take on the 4 spots. Do you think the right two were selected?)

Anyway, we weren't talking about the ads. We were talking about the game. Yes, living in New York had a big impact; however, we're still at an ad agency (with spots in the game). So if we were talking about the Giants and Patriots in this creative space, it's probably a safe bet that the cooler talk elsewhere was less about the commercials this year. The point: Context matters. Because the game was actually really good, the spots got less of the spotlight.

Context also matters for each individual viewer. What the previous post should show is how personal reactions can be. Two of the most memorable spots for me (the two about which I chose to blog) were too of the least talked about spots this year. Not particularly positive or negative reactions. A look at the more quantitative measures (the ad polls) shows a variety of results. They are, however, consistent in the number one: Dalmatian training a Clydesdale for Budweiser.

Yet this point should not discount the group setting in which most Super Bowl viewing takes place, and the (not always explicit or obvious) impact that has on each ad's likability. Groups tend to reach a sort of consensus. Think about your reviews today. Was there any ad you had a change of heart on? (Heart stays in body with change.) Even if you held the minority opinion in the living room, you can start fresh with the consensus viewpoint and have a better chance of having something in common/avoiding a debate today. I'm sure you're not that easily swayed and you have a spine (just not a heart—check your boss' office); I'm just suggesting it's possible you left the party thinking that Life Water wasted its money because Naomi is the worst even if you thought lizards dancing to Thriller was pretty cute.

But the most interesting thing I saw today has to be this advertising review by the Miller High Life guy. He definitely tells it like it is and is more truly the voice of the average viewer.

Crazy props on the turnaround time. If Saatchi & Saatchi did create it, though, it's a little sneaky (read as: wack) to hype its own Tide spot.


Herb said...

(my two cents before the coffee kicks in) Agree, the Miller High Life idea is great. But I think the youtube is part of a bigger plot. I believe there is a NYT ad (or something) that Miller Lite rips on Bud Light for putting money of Superbowl spots that ran yesterday. I'm sure if we looked we could find some other dots to connect.

All-n-all though, I though the spots in this year superbowl were...well...creative for creative sake (kind of) more than other years. Lots of creative misses. For most of the spots, the room of people I was in just shook their heads and went '?what?'. Though the Coke balloon ad made the room go silent.

Mark Hall said...

In response to your question, I think "Self Help Yourself" is a great spot, and certainly the best of the CareerBuilder four. That campaign (including "Help You") seems to get to the heart of the matter (sorry for the pun) better than the other two. The empowerment message is just stronger.

A human heart holding a sign that reads "I quit" hits me as a metaphor for a heart attack. It threw me for a loop when I saw the spot live.

El Gaffney said...

herb - cool. if you happen upon the direct attack ads let me know. everyone in my room kept going, "more animals?!"

mark - agreed on the self-help yourself. (i'm showing my cards.) the out-of-home posters has some interesting lines and is clean. they (we) are doing a cool thing with email where you can Bcc "" and get an appreciated response. i hope the shock-tactic spots don't overshadow this stuff TOO much.

El Gaffney said...

appreciative response