Super Bowl XLVI Advertising – Good, Bad…Why?

One thing I’ve learned after 46 Super Bowls is post-game reactions and emotions regarding the TV ads that aired during the game are fun to discuss. Each person and each advertiser measures effectiveness and success so differently.

Some ads are rolled out by companies to simply show they are “the good guys”…opposed to straight-away, hard-core hawking of a product. Other companies leave no doubt they are devoted to spending upwards of $3.5 mil per 30-second slot for one thing and one thing only…to make you devoted to buy. Now.

Super Bowl ads subscribe to Marketing 101, either creating a sense of urgency to purchase their item or service…or creating positive vibes now, planting the seed for a future transaction.

An example of the latter would be Century 21. You likely aren’t going to put your house up for sale this morning… or dump the realtor you are working with first thing today…just because of their Super Bowl spot. You might however think about using them down the road…especially if they create a memorable feeling from their advertising effort.

There are many examples of the former because with that afore-mentioned price tag, you should probably be looking to get some sort of immediate return on your investment…agreed?

I stayed away from those Super Bowl ads which appeared on the ‘Net days prior to game-time. Didn’t read any pre-game articles about what was in the works. Didn’t take any notes during the game itself about my reaction to any of the advertising…and haven’t seen any of these ads since.

Therefore, the following is a quick off-the-top-of-my-head, morning-after recollection of a few of Super Bowl XLVI’s promotional efforts. The good…the bad…and the “why did they spend all that money?” These are the ads that created the most reactions in me…positive, neutral and negative.

In no particular order…

The Chevy ad where their Silverado survived the Mayan apocalypse, driving through the devastated landscape while Barry Manilow is singing “Looks Like We Made It” had me laughing out loud. Survivors are eating Twinkies. Guy driving the Ford “didn’t make it.” Shows the strength of the product…takes a shot at the opposition…you saw AND heard the “story.” Nice job.

The Doritos’ ad where the dog bribes his owner to not tell what “happened” to their family cat was a winning effort. Indeed, it should be noted I owned a cat when growing up, not a dog. Obviously, Doritos is hoping cat-lovers like I have a broad sense of humor. Perhaps next year, we’ll see a spot where the roles are reversed and a cat has the upper hand? This ad is so solid because the bag of Doritos is front and center throughout as the sole incentive to cover up the “cover up.” That being said, you often don’t want to spend this kind of money and potentially alienate any part of your audience (i.e. cat-lovers who don’t find dead family cats amusing). Lighten up, “catties.” I did.

That TaxACT ad with a boy impossibly looking to relieve himself…looking back on it, that would have been a fine time for the entire audience to do the same had they known they had 30-seconds to do so. Toilet humor doesn’t work for me.

Audi’s spot where their LED lights replicate daylight so well unsuspecting vampires are vaporized was very clever…and certainly vamps are a popular piece of pop culture these days. My concern here is true followers of vampires know the “rules” vary…some vampires do perfectly fine in the daytime. Don’t judge me because I know this.

Super Bowl veteran advertiser Budweiser ran a couple of ads where they tried to have it both ways and show us not only how very old they are…but how we still should be still drinking it even today. We know how long they’ve been around if only because of all the Super Bowl ads they have run. Their Bud Light Platinum ads introduced us to…Bud Light Platinum. That’s about all we know. I will give major props to the ad with the rescue dog named “Wego.” Everyone at the party got their beer once they learned to call for him“Here Wego.” There was also a nice visual touch at the end promoting awareness to supporting rescue dogs. That one ad probably saved “Bud” from a complete waste of a ton of coin.

Honda tried to tap into the Ferris Bueller fan base with…Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick). Acura tried to tap into the Seinfeld fan base with…Jerry Seinfeld. My problem with the former was I think the predictable spectacle overwhelmed the product. My problem with the latter…aside from using Jay Leno as Jerry’s “Newman foil” instead of…Newman (did Wayne Knight ask for THAT much money?)…the last shot in the ad looked like it was a dollar store rework of the beloved Monk’s Diner.

Maybe they did run out of money after paying for Seinfeld, Leno…and that ad fee. No real Newman…no real Monk’s…no real need.

Which ads did you find most intriguing, most disappointing…and most puzzling?


About sportsattitudes

I'm Bruce. Born, raised and still outside the City of Brotherly Love. Managed (so far) to visit a dozen of our United States and Canada (twice). Addicted from birth to Television/Movies/Sports. Took three years of French and got credit for two of 'em.
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8 Responses to Super Bowl XLVI Advertising – Good, Bad…Why?

  1. Re: Chevy–loved the toppled Bob’s Big Boy. So nostalgic . . .


  2. Spill Man says:

    I liked the Bridgestone Tire ad with the football made out of the tire. I also got a chuckle out of the Hyundai commercial with everyone doing the “Rocky” theme. And despite some reactions to it, I liked the Clint Eastwood Chrysler ad. Yes, it was lame that such a speech was for an auto company, but it was still well timed and well written.


    • DC, Tire football was cool! Reminded me of playing nerf football on the beach. Good luck with that sea breeze! Needless to say being in the Philly area I can identify with the love for the “Rocky” theme. The “Clint Ad” I am finding is meeting with – as you indicate – mixed, strong reactions. I don’t think anyone can argue it had quite an impact – very stylish. I was just taken back at it airing during what is supposed to be a “party atmosphere.” Pretty heavy stuff. I also have a problem with the “Detroit coming back” symbolism they keep leaning on …when I keep reading how it isn’t. The auto industry may be feeling better, but not sure Detroit is “coming back” as much as they’d like you to think.


  3. I was a little disappointed with the adverts this year, but I have to say…the Seinfeld one and the Doritos dog one made me laugh. Out loud. Probably because It’s been 14 years since I’ve seen anything to do with Seinfeld and the Soup Nazi, and because seeing a dog bribe his owner to keep quiet is just hilarious.

    Other than those commercials, I was somewhat disappointed…I guess my expectations were too high this year.


    • PCC, I think we’ve all become a little spoiled from the great ones of the past and the bar is really high to “wow” us. Then again, for that kind of money you should be “wowing” us every year. Expectations are legit when so much money and such a large audience are involved!


  4. Laughed the whole way through the vampires and the LED lights – clever


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