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February 3, 2014
Super Bowl 2014: Mo’ Money, Mo’ Ads, Mo’ of the Same
 
It turns out that defense can certainly still win championships. The historically good Seahawk defense stifled the record-breaking Bronco offense to transform a game of historic proportions to a blowout. And consumers hate blowouts.

Yes, according to multiple studies, advertisements that air during close games endure better recall and better reception than those airing during a blowout. Hopefully for these $4-million-dollar ads, the science is mistaken.

Let us first look at the major themes, then our winners, and those that missed the mark.

Animals and Children Dominate
It was a big year again for animals. The tests must continue to be through the roof, because most of the memorable ads had animals in them. Or, if animals weren’t the main stage, children reigned supreme.

Less Sexy Time For the exception of the Jesse Stamos Oikos spot and the awkward Butterfinger spot, the sexual innuendo was extremely minimal compared to last year. Perhaps with GoDaddy toning down their message, the others got the message.

#MadeinAmerica With more troops coming home and national pride always being a rallying cry, multiple companies went with the Made in America theme. When the economy is down in the dumps, it makes people wonder: if they spent their hard-earned money on American-made items, would the economy improve? Regardless of the answer, people are willing to try anything for a change.

Winners:

1. Cheerios: “Gracie”
A sequel to the original spot, this twist shows the same family using Cheerios to explain to their daughter Gracie that she’s going to be a big sister. Gracie counters with the addition of a puppy. We love it because it’s adorable, heartwarming, and creates a family experience with the brand. Plus, we love seeing Cheerios not back down from using an interracial couple. Big win.


2. Audi: “Doberhuahua”
What a strange combination — a Doberman mixed with a Chihuahua. We thought this ad was very well executed. In an environment where compromise is another “C” word, this ad blended the quirky with style. Audi essentially asked, why compromise for a silly product? Great question, Audi.

3. Chobani: Ransacked
It’s hard not to like an ad with Stephen Colbert’s famed “godless killing machines”: the mighty bear. Especially when it wanted nothing more than a Chobani. We try not to like Chobani, since it reneged on its commitment to use small agencies, but this ad was enjoyable.

Honorable Mentions:
1. Coke: “It’s Beautiful”
2. Maserati: “Ghibli”
3. Toyota Highlander: Muppets w/Terry Crews
4. Coke: “Going All the Way”
5. Hyundai: “Dad’s Sixth Sense”

Losers:

1. GoDaddy: “Spray Tan”
We get it. She got a huge audience because she got a great domain and the bodybuilders came running. However, it is nice to see GoDaddy actually create an ad that shows what it actually does
.

2. Jack in the Box: “Moink”
We were very surprised to find out this was a national ad. We thought, because of the creative quality, that it was a regional one. Jack, we know you’re better than this.

3. Heinz: “Hum”
Like most Pittsburghers, we were pleased to see a home staple in the Big Game though our Steelers failed to make it. But it was incredibly disappointing to see the product advertised so oddly. For those who grew up with Heinz ketchup, we all knew that the best way to get the ketchup out was by hitting the “57” near the middle of the bottle. If you hit the bottom, you were immediately chastised and trained. Unless Heinz totally redesigned the bottle (it didn’t look it), we are not amused. We hope this ad skipped the Steel City.


There you have it, folks. We saw Bud’s “Puppy Love” ad, and even though we are proud puppy owners, it didn’t do much for us. We’ve never truly enjoyed the Doritos ads, and the rest of the ads released before the game were already analyzed so much, we didn’t feel right including them. And the Beckham H&M ad? Also letdown. Ah, well.

As always, we’re open to comments, and we’d love to hear your cheers and jeers.

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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