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Everybody watched the Super Bowl. Everyone has an opinion about the commercials. Here are some of Digitaria’s.
Lauren Kerr, Senior Producer
My personal favorite was the Dodge “Farmer” spot. Amazing imagery, great copy and overall a really impactful ad that sparked discussion among the group of people I watched with about whether car commercials should focus on brand or features.
The one thing that struck me with all the ads were the “digital misses.” Great TV spots, but where were the digital extensions? Coke pushed cokechase.com as their CTA but when you went to that link on mobile, it took over 30 seconds to load which is definitely a missed opportunity. I would have loved to have seen a CTA on the Dodge farmers commercial to check out a feed of those beautiful images. The concept really lent itself to an instagram, Facebook or Pinterest extension which I don’t believe there was; not a FAIL, but a missed opportunity.
Mike Matheny, Executive Creative Director
My top 3, +1
- The NFL’s "Leon Sandcastle" was a fun goof. I foresee a future character showing up in NFL ads for awhile. "Looks like an ugly Deion" line: LOVE.
- Dodge Ram, "Farmer": I believe the most effective ad of the night, even if most of America doesn't even know a real farmer. Being from the the midwest (Iowa to be exact) and growing listening to Paul Harvey everyday at noon, he was a perfect voiceover choice.
- Samsung, "The Next Big Thing": Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Bob Odenkirk acting his full Saul Goodman/"Breaking Bad" mode, this is the best cast of the entire Super Bowl. Best banter of the night. Would love to see the "unedited" version of this spot.
- +1 Oreo - not the cookie vs. cream tv spot but its tweet during the power outage. Retweeted 13,000 times during the outage (or something like that). Smart, fast digital thinking.
Chris Theilen, Digital Media Planner
I had three favorites:
- Audi - Prom: Great job telling a story about the car and solidifying Audi as an aspirational brand and the confidence one gets from owning a sports car.
- VW - Get Happy: You can’t watch this commercial and not smile. Linked a hilarious concept -- Minnesotan with Jamacian accent and “no-worries” attitude -- with their brand and tagline “VW - Get happy.”
- GoDaddy - Your Big Idea: This spot was a big surprise to me. In one of GoDaddy’s rare non-sex-driven spots, the domain registry company went after the small business target, showing how everyone has ideas but few execute on them, while other people get rich off of their lack of action. I’m a big fan of uncomfortable humor and got a kick out of the Danica Patrick cameo, awkwardly laughing at the “sky waitress.”
Steve Benson, Director, Quality Assurance
Two favorites were:
- Best Buy with Amy Poehler: Funny and clipped along, bringing reality home when it comes to today’s device shopping and more.
- Taco Bell: Cute and fun. Painted them in a positive light.
Liked the Budweiser Clydesdale ad but repeated online viewings got old quick.
Worst ads for me were the GoDaddy.com ads. Perhaps it’s just me but I find nearly every TV ad from them as cheap if not trashy. Maybe that’s just it. And they succeeded!
Jake Dorn, Sr. Director of Global Business Development
One of the gauges that I use to score Super Bowl commercials is whether I go back online to watch them again and make out all the dialogue -- like many viewers, I was in a party environment with multiple distractions (kids, food, ambient noise) competing for my attention. If an ad can draw me back after the game - I think it worked. So, using this as a gauge:
- Chrysler: The Paul Harvey “Farmer” spot. Kudos to Chrysler. Two years running they have made one of the most memorable/ impactful Super Bowl ads. It stood out as unique compared to the rest of the offerings (comic, sexy, UGC, babies, animals, baby animals, etc.) and obviously struck a chord with the Midwest and other core audiences who buys pick-up trucks. Great copy and imagery. Best thing: Two minutes (eternity in commercial-messaging speak) did not seem too long.
- Tide: Laughed out loud at the Montana miracle stain spot, with a great twist at the end on Ravens/Niners rivalry.
- Oreo: "Whisper Fight" and Taco Bell seniors gone wild were both funny and true to brand.
- All beer commercials seemed formulaic and boring - they all blurred together.
- GoDaddy: I think most people are long over their attempts at sexy/gross out humor. On the flip side, I liked their "Sky Waitress" spot. It was original and had a good CTA.
Miranda Anderson, Account Supervisor
It was quite a day, as both the Coke Website and Superdome Experienced Outages. My favorite ad/sponsorship combo of the day also turned out to be one with poor back-end execution. I loved, in theory, the Coke ad with a motorcycle gang, cowboys, and cannon-toting showgirls racing toward a Coke in the desert. They also reinforced the ad with on-air mentions in the open or close to about half of the commercial breaks. However, when I tried to follow up on the ad itself, I searched for “coke + superbowl” and the site didn’t end up in the top page of search results. Furthermore, when I finally had time to capture the website, cokechase.com, and went online to vote for my favorite ending, the website was down, and the damage control was poor. The website literally read “This website is down for planned, routine maintenance.” I’m pretty sure that if Coke had planned an outage, they would not have planned it during the Super Bowl. If this experience had worked, it would’ve been my favorite ad. But it didn’t and so wasn’t.
Tom Siebert, VP of Communications
I liked the first Bud Light Voodoo commercial because it was distinctive to the game’s New Orleans locale, I couldn’t tell where it was going and there was an unexpected twist at the end. It was long enough to sustain a narrative that didn’t feel rushed, and it was an Anheuser-Busch ad that didn’t include a kick-in-the-balls or other slapstick or sexist humor. Also liked the Tide ad with the miracle Montana stain -- knew where it was going, but the final twist was a funny surprise. Found the Coke spot about surveillance sometimes revealing humanity’s better nature the worst -- it was like some sort of rationalization of the normalizing of our current and increasing security state.
Tom Richardson, Head of Digital Product Innovation
RAM's “Farmers” ad was amazing. Some of the best writing I've ever seen.
Kristina Eastham, Communications Manager
I went to two different Super Bowl parties and as the lone advertising industry person tried to pay attention to the ads over the yelling kids, chatty adults and scavenging dogs. I got enough of the gist of most of the ads to be entertained (Tide, Taco Bell) to extremely disappointed (Blackberry womp, womp). But the only one that really struck a chord with me was Chrysler’s “God Made a Farmer” for Dodge Ram Trucks. The 2-minute ad somehow didn’t feel that long. It coupled beautiful, powerful imagery (reminiscent of Dorothea Lange’s FSA photography) with the unadulterated sounds of iconic American radio voice Paul Harvey.
Maybe it’s the history buff in me, or maybe it’s the cowgirl in me, but I was able to tune out everything around me and focus on this ad. Most of the room got quiet, and another girl said she’d like to have some of those stills framed to hang on her wall. Without being overly cheesy like Anheuser-Busch’s “Brotherhood,” “God Made a Farmer” was one of those few spots that transcends advertising to become both a representation of something greater than “a truck for sale.” I’ll even defend its place as a piece of art.
Overall, watching Super Bowl ads with people who aren’t in the ad industry made me wonder if anybody else watches ads the way we do. Are the ads that scored big with ad execs the same ones that entertained, the ones that people will remember and essentially, the ones that will make people buy a product?
D Doan, Analyst
Living in Southern California, especially San Diego, we probably have some of the best Mexican-American food in the world, from fast food to gourmet. Given how spoiled we are, I've never really ever been a fan of Taco Bell...but their commercial was surprisingly delightful and honestly expressive as a brand statement.
Taco Bell has been recently attempting some new menu experiments with their new Gourmet items, which I felt were misguided. An awkward makeover, trying too hard to be hip, cool, sophisticated. This commercial ignores such pretentiousness. Taco Bell is cheap, corporate fast food. It's the stuff you eat when you don't want typical American burgers and fries. It's the stuff you eat when nothing's open. It's late. You have few options. You're spent, exhausted from a night of glorious, juvenile debauchery. It's perfect as a comforting, familiar ritual to close the night.
Brittany Raine, Departmental Assistant
Horses, heroes and dancing pistachios? This year’s Super Bowl commercials were a confusing advertising rollercoaster, but at least KIA got one thing right: a panda cub in a spacesuit.
As a small town country girl and the daughter from a bloodline of farmers, the Dodge Ram ad featuring Paul Harvey’s Tribute to Farmers touched close to home... but my football watching counterparts didn’t agree. While I was totally immersed in the stunning imagery and sweeping plains, others were confused by who Paul Harvey was and I am not sure if his booming voice resonated with a younger generation. Regardless of their thoughts, I found the evolving face of the American farmer inspirational.
Speaking of automobile advertisements and booming voices, Jeep tugged on another heartstring with their tribute to our military servicemen, narrated by Oprah. Watching the Super Bowl with a soldier that has just returned from two tours in Afghanistan? He gave this ad a different grade. While he appreciated what Jeep was trying to do, he found the commercial to be cheesy, especially in the way that Jeep used the emotions of military families to promote their brand.
The icing on the emotionally charged advertising cake was Budweiser’s annual Clydesdale commercial. I have been that person in the horse stall feeding a foal with a bottle. I have helped my father raise horses, form bonds and then watch them leave for training, possibly never to see them again. While I wished all our horses would remember me....they don’t. But watching the Clydesdale being groomed into a Budweiser icon made me tear up. A galloping Clydesdale through the Chicago streets was a bit questionable but, then again, Clydesdales don’t play football either. I also think my dad may have secretly judged me for noting it as one of my favorite commercials.
Rachelle Maisner, Senior Analyst
When Dodge’s “God Made A Farmer” came on, within seconds it brought my rowdy Superbowl party to an immediate quiet stillness. Inspiring reflection and respect, connecting with us deeply in just a few short seconds like no other ad did. I think it was a really curious effect. Here in the digital age, living in cities and suburbs, knowing nothing remotely close to rural life -- why is it that we revered this ad so much? Why did it captivate us so quickly?
Earlier in the day on Sunday I heard a story on NPR from The Splendid Table about a young woman working on a seed program in Iraq. Emma Piper-Burket described how it’s hard to find young people in Iraq to farm, because they want to live in cities and drive fancy cars, and “they don’t want to be part of that agrarian lifestyle.” This was what the U.S. has been like for the past few generations, but now it seems that we’re returning to those agrarian roots. Farming is becoming cool again.
Maybe the “God Made A Farmer” spot resonates with so many Americans because at this point in the evolution of our society, we want to find our way back home. Maybe not be full-fledge farmers, but at least feel connected to a lifestyle more in tuned with nature and the cycle of life.
The antithesis of “God Made A Farmer” was Kia’s “Hotbots.” The thought of technology fighting back gives me an eerie iRobot kind of feeling. Maybe getting back to agrarians roots wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Do you think we missed anything noteworthy? Check out all the Super Bowl ads on AdAge.