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February 8, 2016
Super Bowl 50 Recap: Cars, Kids, and Animals Return Big
 
Another Super Bowl is done, and Mile High and Manning fans are celebrating, while many of our colleagues in the Carolinas are waking up bewildered, still wondering if what they saw last night actually happened. Indeed, Denver's dominating performance came as a surprise to many. It was the Old Guard versus the New, and everyone thought that the torch was going to be passed on.

Not this time.

While the game paused, we still had an audience in front of the TV and it was finally time to see some ads.

This Super Bowl could have been great for advertising. Until the end of the third quarter, the game was still pretty close. Studies suggest that close Super Bowl games have better ad recall than blowouts, so businesses certainly got their money's worth. However, it wasn't the most exciting game, either, which is another factor in ad recall. Overall, the ads didn't leave us blown away, yet they didn't leave us entirely disappointed either.

Don't get us wrong; there were a few misses.

For example, SoFi was new to the Super Bowl scene and premiered two ads. The ads were okay, but if you didn't already know that SoFi is a way to finance without using a regular financial institution, the ads sounded like a traditional business. Also, we're happy to see that Pokémon is celebrating 20 years, and the ad started out well, but to us it didn't really catch the fun and excitement one would associate with Pokémon.

Biggest Hits
We enjoyed Shock Top's “Unfiltered Talk” ad. It was funny, down to Earth, and entertaining.


We also enjoyed the "Avacados from Mexico" ad. It hit on social references, it played on the zeitgeist (airplane as torture), and it showcased some soft humor. 


Biggest Misses
Aside from the ads we mentioned earlier, there were some — in our opinion — major duds.

Heinz Ketchup's "Wiener Dog" was sweet, but totally lost us. 


Lastly, the Pokémon ad. Perhaps because we were really looking forward to it, our disappointment is escalated. We liked the "train on" aspect; we liked how they showed that gaming and competition can inspire others; but we expected more from a group celebrating its 20th anniversary.


Well, that's it from us. If we had to give this year's Super Bowl ads a grade, we would lean towards a B-. Only a few gave a lasting impression, but they weren't nearly as lackluster as last year.

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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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