You gotta love Super Bowl Sunday. It’s the one day of the year when people actually look forward to watching commercials instead of fast-forwarding them. Super Bowl commercials have earned a prominent place in pop culture, turning couch dwellers everywhere into marketing critics.
With consumers broadcasting their opinions via social media, brands and agencies are under increasing pressure to deliver commercials that resonate with viewers and spark positive comments. After all, it’s tough to justify the nearly $4 million price tag of a 30-second spot when your ad gets collectively booed on Twitter.
In today’s blog, we give you our picks for the good, the bad and the ugly of Super Bowl marketing. That’s right—it’s the first annual MONSTERS Super Bowl Commercial Awards. For more in-depth discussion of our Super Bowl award winners, you can also check out our Speaking Human podcast.
Here we go…
Best Pre-Game Buzz
Why? This commercial garnered over 7 million YouTube views without even airing during the Super Bowl. While the ad stirred pre-game controversy, it was actually a fairly clever play on the “sex sells” nature of Super Bowl commercials that enticed male viewers without ever actually delivering.
Why? Audi created a mini-movie that had us cheering for the protagonist, a kid who gets the bravery he needs to kiss the prom queen from his father’s Audi. It was a great underdog moment (perfect for the big game) that was exceptionally edited (this is how you tell a full story in a minute). All that being said—Is the lesson here that money buys confidence? Yikes.
Best Use of a Celebrity
Why? While this year’s crop of ads featured a plethora of celebrities, none matched the muscle of Dwayne Johnson. Who better to promote the benefits of milk than the jacked-up action star known as The Rock? The ad wasn’t quite great, but it used its celebrity to good effect. And for all the ridiculously over-the-top visuals, the commercial still wasn’t as absurd as the preview for The Rock’s upcoming movie “Fast 6″.
Jekyll & Hyde Award
Why? The domain registration company aired two commercials—one clever, one cringe-inducing. Go Daddy’s “Your Big Idea” ad had a strong message and a funny execution. On the flip side, their “Perfect Match” showing supermodel Bar Refaeli making out with a nerd in super closeup with amplified sucking sounds was a real turnoff.
Why? The king of beers scored with their heart-tugging tale of a man and his Clydesdale. The ad took a brand staple and used it to touch our emotions. On the bad side was Budweiser’s Black Crown marketing. These commercials attempted to appeal to high-class, hipster beer drinkers. Instead, they came off like visions of what Budweiser drinkers imagine high-class, hipsters do. Similar to SNL fake commercials—except Bud was dead serious.
15 Minutes Late Award
Why? Because “Gangnam Style”-inspired marketing should have ended with 2012. The Wonderful Pistachios’ commercial came off like the guy playing “Who Let Them Dogs Out” two years past its peak. So sad, so uncool. It’s time to put this Psy tune to rest.
Best Belly Laugh
Why? OREO’s been on a roll with their marketing over the past year. Their “Whisper Fight” commercial continues that trend. The ad harkens back to the “Tastes Great/Less Filling” marketing of years past with an argument over what tastes better: cookie or cream. What follows is thirty seconds of surprising, laugh-inducing chaos. Possibly the funniest commercial of the day.
Senseless Animal Award
Why? For some reason, comical animals and Super Bowl commercials go together like chips and dip. There were no shortage of animals this year, but none were more memorable than the Doritos goat. Whether you thought the commercial was funny or terrible, you probably remember this crunching barnyard animal. What you may not remember is the brand or the message.
Best Inspirational Americana
Why? The two-minute “Farmer” commercial may have been the best of the day. It had eye-popping visuals and inspirational audio (from a Paul Harvey speech). It exemplified the heart of the brand, while also speaking directly to their target audience. This is what Super Bowl commercials are all about.
That’s it for this year. We’ll be back next February with more Super Bowl marketing awards. Catch you then, commercial fans.