Monday, February 8, 2010

Best and Worst Superbowl Ads

As a marketer by profession, I pay close attention to the ads during the Superbowl. When done effectively, the notoriety around this advertising has created brands out of seemingly thin air, while ineffective ads find their brands panned for years. The stakes are high, as is the cost - the average 30 second spot cost over three million dollars this year.

So let's review the ads in three major categories: Best, Worst, and I Don't Get It:

Best Superbowl Ads

  • The Last Airbender - I'm not a movie guy at all, but this one has me pumped.
  • Snickers - The Betty White ad was hilarious, and was likely the most entertaining of all the ads.
  • Bud Light - Multiple ads worked great here, including the Bud Light house, the T-Pain voice, the asteroid situation, the plane crash situation, and the book club. Outstanding ads, all.
  • Career Builder - The casual Friday spot was troubling and comical all at the same time
  • Coke - The Simpson's spot and the African Sleepwalker spots were outstanding. They were incredibly well done, tasteful, entertaining, and aligned perfectly with the brand. Coke completely capitalized on Pepsi's sitting this one out, which likely was driven by Pepsi's massive spend for aligning their brand with the Obama campaign. Oops.
  • Dr. Pepper - Little Kiss, an actual cover band (actually named Mini Kiss) paired with the full-size boys made for a memorable spot.
  • Etrade - The spot where the baby gets questioned about his spending time with a "milkoholic" tramp was hilarious, and got the biggest laugh of the night for me.
  • Google - The French girlfriend was perfect, showing the utility of their product while telling a nice story.

Worst Superbowl Ads

  • Go Daddy - I'm really getting tired of Danica Patrick and the alluded lesbian encounters she gets herself into. It's not titillating; it's boring at best and crap at its worst. An aside: I find it funny that NOW gets so uptight about the Tim Tebow "abortion" ad yet lets this crap pass year after year. Nice priorities.
  • Kia - The kids toys driving the Kia was a total miss. Who was the agency that thought that a good use of funds?

I Don't Get It

  • Quilted Northern toilet paper bought a Superbowl ad. $3MM for a 30 second spot buys a lot of newspaper coupon inserts. A whole lot. I have a feeling a Marketing executive on their team might be looking for a new job in the near future.
  • Dove for Men - In a day filled with beer, football, and girls, these guys are trying to sell beauty products for men. Someone needed to tell them that metrosexuality officially died in 2006.

Special Category - Your Precious Tax Dollars at Work

  • The 2010 Census - Are you kidding me? In the guts of the worst recession in 70 years and with unemployment nearly 10% we just spent $3MM for what, exactly? Why in the world does the census need to advertise, and why during the Superbowl? It is bad enough that some bureaucracy felt it necessary to buy the ad, but just the ad itself was complete garbage. I still don't get it. And we want these guys in charge of our heath care...


  1. I know this seems nitpicky but the avg SB ad was 2.8 mil this year(not over 3). Just thought you might be interested since it is the first year ever(or maybe second?) that SB ad pricing has ever gone down.

  2. Also, Im glad someone commented on the census ad. Well done!


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