Super Bowl ad standouts (Don’t worry, this won’t take long!)

In  a couple of weeks I’ll be moderating the AMAOKC’s annual Super Bowl Showdown. I don’t get a vote in what gets picked or anything, but if you’re interested, here are some that I thought were worth talking about. It’ll be interesting to see if any of these make the cut. My bet is the Radio Shack one definitely will, but who knows what else.

I had picked the Broncos to win, after all…

You’ll note that I only talk about a few commercials here. That’s not just in the interest of saving your time. It’s because, frankly, I thought the commercials were as pathetic as the game. I saw a lot of what marketing author Jack Trout calls “Marketing Theater” during this year’s Super Bowl, but not a lot of what I’d call good marketing messaging. You can read more about where I’m coming from on that here if you like.

Overall I thought it was an ugly game and a pretty lackluster effort displayed in the commercials. But here are a some that I thought were worth discussing.

Brand – Hyundai

Why I liked it – The production value probably won’t move the “wow” needle with too many folks, and granted it might not be considered “Super Bowl-worthy” for that reason. But it is mention-worthy because it does a good job of doing what good marketing has always done, which is to dramatize the product’s benefit. View commercial

Brand – Radio Shack

Why I liked it – They grab our attention by admitting a negative! They poke a little fun at themselves while reminding us that they used to be a recognized expert retailer in electronics. Now they’re inviting us to visit the “New” Radio Shack and give them a shot to prove they’re relevant again. This ad may indeed get me to think of them first when I have an electronics purchase to make, which could result in me visiting their store and buying. It may encourage others in their target market to do the same. That’s what a good ad is supposed to do – Get results! View Commercial 

Honorable Mentions:

Jeep Cherokee’s “Restless” – Not bad storytelling, but I always love these commercials that show all these daredevils doing daredevil things, telling you in the voice-over that you can do all this stuff, and and then there’s tiny print on the bottom of the screen saying, “Closed course….coordinated stunts….dramatization…do not attempt…”  View Commercial

I liked Stephen Colbert’s commercial just because I’m a huge fan of his and I like how he pokes fun at the whole process.  View Commercial

The Bruce Willis Honda commercial was compelling in the way the reveal of the message was done, and the commercial showcased Honda’s safety record as an added benefit to complement its already impressive quality record. (Sorry, couldn’t find this commercial online)

Fox deserves some credit because any time they host the Super Bowl they make sure to promote their sister channels and any of their programming they want to plug.

My first reaction to the Kia commercial was that it was a little flashy and overdone considering the product, but if their goal is to compete in the luxury market, they’ve got to work their way into the mind with a different “story.” Big and flashy may be what is called for in that case. Whether or not Kia can actually compete in the luxury market is a bit of a gamble, but if their entire effort is on as grand a scale as this commercial, they may surprise me. View Commercial