Breaking Down Super Bowl Commercials

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What an amazing game! The Patriots now hold the record for the biggest come from behind victory in NFL Super Bowl history.

There was some history made in the TV commercial side of the game as well.

The focus on diversity & inclusion was a powerful political theme that ran through just about every commercial break.

With the current political landscape in upheaval, people are paying attention to the kind of country they want to have… and you could see it in this year’s ads.

In fact, there’s no way you could’ve missed it.

When discussing commercials you must ask what is the judging criteria… is it entertainment value, brand awareness value, or an ad’s ability to acquire paying customers.

Here are commercials that illustrate a political message

Political Mentions: Hyundai (Military Families)

While this is a beautifully created ad that pulls on the heart strings, it fails to associate the Hyundai brand effectively enough for viewers to remember.

If this ad is turned into a campaign with repeated frequency… it could do a lot for the name recognition & emotions associated to Hyundai.

Political Mentions: NFL – Inside these lines

The NFL is extremely effective at maintaining a classy brand & in this ad they effectively deepen connection with fans by associating their band to American patriotism. 

Here are commercials that have entertainment & humor

Entertainment Mentions: T – Mobile – Martha & Snoop Dog

The humor associated to marijuana innuendo is priceless… it also lies in the context of the unlikely Martha Stewart & Snoop Dog association.

The ad does a great job of pulling in one’s attention… but the message of T-Mobile’s “unlimited data” get’s lost in translation.

Entertainment Mentions: T – Mobile – Unlimited moves with Justin Bieber

In contrast to the the Martha / Snoop Dog commercial, T – Mobile does well with this one.

First – Justin Bieber serves as the perfect & entertaining spokesman to their target market plus the end of the commercial keeps the messaging alive long after the commercial with Justin inviting people to upload their “unlimited moves” on social media.

Entertainment Mentions: Mercedes – Easy Driver

Playing off the popularity of “Easy Rider” Mercedes even includes the music and star of the original movie Peter Fonda,  captivating a massive “baby boomer” audience that is now poised in later life to enjoy spending their money on feeling young again.

Well played Mercedes.

I do think they made a mistake on not holding the name of the car longer on the screen.

I also think they should’ve had Peter Fonda speak the name of the car at least twice.

We’re left feeling great… but unclear of the car model Mercedes is asking us to remember.

Entertainment Mentions: Mr Clean

I can hear my mom’s laughter all the way from Alaska.

While adding “sex appeal” to the animated “Mr. Clean” is completely cheezy – it works.

Especially the way they end the commercial – with the woman seducing her man because “You gotta love a man who cleans”.

Completely playful, a great energy & emotion to attach to a cleaning product.

Overall Ad Effectiveness: Bai Bai – Justin Timberlake / Christopher Walken

This honorable mention of ad effectiveness is a must share because this is a short commercial designed to do one thing… name recognition.

It’s very successful at this outcome by associating Justin Timberlake & his NSYNC song “Bye Bye”.

In addition – the initial scene is irresistible – the fireplace & Christopher Walken reciting the words to the song… before we even know what he’s doing we’re pulled into the story that’s unfolding.

Justin doesn’t even have a line in the commercial.

His silence adds to the commercial persuasiveness.

Then his voice talks about the product. Very well played Bai.

Over All Winner &  Ad Effectiveness: Audi S 5

Fantastic play on current events.

The father’s narration is a powerful appeal of keeping secret that in the USA a man’s financial value is greater than a woman’s.

This commercial is a powerful appeal for equality & equal pay for equal work.

His not wanting to influence his daughter with these truths makes this commercial even more emotionally appealing & speaks to the hope that progress will mean something different for her.

With millions of women impacted by the recent March on Washington, Audi effectively positions themselves as ally to women’s equality.

A great “father / daughter ” story unraveling his daughters awesomeness, smarts & courage parallels the experience of millions of women.

At the end of the ad Audi even declares its commitment of equal pay for equal work and then provides us all hope with… “Progress is for everyone”.

I pick this ad as the #1 Super Bowl ad for 2017 for its ability to align with its target marketing & associate its brand to values they are currently passionate about.

Well played Audi!


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