Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Super Bowl Ad Review

OK, we've had week to digest the Super Bowl and its commercials. I'm (mostly) over the disappointment of the Arizona upset-that-wasn't, although the officiating was bad enough for me to conclude that if it was the Super Bowl and as many ticky-tacky, wrong, or completely made-up calls went against the Patriots as went against the Cardinals, I would have absolutely lost my mind and probably broken things of value in and around the home. Anyway, here are some random thoughts on the commercials that (over)paid those ref's salaries.
  • Once again and as always, the Budweiser ads were uniformly lame. Why they always score so highly is a mystery to me, not unlike the mystery of why people drink that swill in the first place.
  • Once again and as always, any ad that has a guy getting whacked in the balls scores big with everyone... Except me. I find it sophomoric, sexist, and sad. This lowest-common denominator stuff just doesn't work for me.
  • I thought it was interesting that the most gripping commercials were actually movie trailers: Star Trek, Transformers 2, Angels and Demons, and Land of the Lost all had our group riveted... Although we're dubious about LotL as a Will Farrell vehicle.
  • Denny's out-TacoBells its competition by giving away free Grand Slam breakfasts, which paid off huge with mega-positive PR. CNN reports that people were lovin' it, and it even scored in the Twitter Bowl. BTW, the whipped-creamy ad was funny, too.
  • I was struck by one ad that didn't run: The replaying of Apple's original classic 1984 Macintosh ad seemed a natural fit on this, its 25th anniversary. But alas, nothing doing.
My favorite commercial? By far, it was the 1-second Miller High Life commercial. The concept of not overpaying for a Super Bowl ad was timely as today's headlines, given the current state of the economy. The execution was perfect, with the likable delivery man character simply shouting out "High Life!" The effect was tangible, in that we were waiting for it, we thought we saw it, and we actually DVR'd back to make sure we saw it. This means we actively manipulated a DVR to watch a commercial rather than skip a commercial. Think about that for a second. And finally, it was beautifully leveraged with its own web site ( that tied into a loyalty rewards program Miller introduced last year. Nice work Miller! And given the math that nearly $3 million bought you a minute, they reached 1oo,000,000 viewers for $100,000. Nice return on investment, that.

Here it is, and don't blink!

I only go to once a year, and this is why: I find the rankings fascinating, if not a little depressing, given that I obviously disagree strongly with the preponderance of the population.

Note: You can watch all the ads here on Hulu, the NBC/FOX online video experiment that even before its own clever Baldwin-driven Super Bowl ad, was a huge hit, despite the early nay-saying prognostications.