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Super Bowl Ads - Finger Licking Good?

By Paul Levy February 03, 2014 | 1:06pm

While this year’s Super Bowl may not have been exciting on the field, what happened in between the action was certainly interesting. Of course, I’m talking about the commercials.  Here are a few of the takeaways for me from advertising’s biggest event. 

First, I thought the automotive industry did well. Volkswagen was very clever with their “spouting wings” campaign  while Ford took the over-the-top approach with their “double” spots.  In both cases they did a good job of highlighting the strength of their product.  Kia drew me in with their “Matrix” themed ads; although I wonder if picking the red key/Kia is really going to bend your mind. Chevy went with the Americana angle again this year and their Cancer Day message was very moving – but their spots fell short of the others.  An interesting play was Maserati - Do you ever remember seeing a commercial for Maserati in the Super Bowl, let alone anywhere on TV before? At $4 Million a spot for a Super Bowl commercial, it seems like a broad audience for people who would plunk down the cash it takes to drive the ultra-expensive autos. As a matter of fact, wouldn’t those Maserati buyers likely be the ones affording tickets to the game and likely be sitting in the luxury suites? 

As usual, beer had a strong presence. I felt that Bud Light tried a bit too hard, although – maybe they were skewing much too young for me.  Budweiser had the puppy/Clydesdale approach again. It was cute and heartwarming, but let me ask you – the next time someone offers you a Bud – will you be thinking of puppies, love and sentiment and respond… Yeah, I’ll take one? I’m the right demographic for heartwarming, but that won’t weigh in on the beer I drink.  I thought NewCastle’s “anti-spot” with Anna Kendrick worked in that it was different and memorable – they should get a nice boost in awareness.

T-Mobile’s use of Tim Tebow was a good fit and made the message easy to remember.  The same holds true for RadioShack’s “the 80’s want their store back” although I would have liked a bigger part for the owl from Clash of the Titans.

Lastly, the Doritos commercials are always memorable.  The “cowboy kid” and the “time machine” were fun while the “finger cleaner” was cringe worthy enough for me to have to work hard at forgetting it.

All in all, people will likely talk about the commercials longer than the blow-out of a game this year.  Of course, the biggest question will be – was it worth the millions of dollars of investment for these companies? I will ponder that as I eat my Doritos and contemplate how to get these fingers clean. 

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