The Super Bowl is the biggest night in advertising, but it can also feel hollow. This year, rates started at $3.5 million for a 30 second spot. So really, a lot of it feels like going to a bar and just seeing dudes throwing around money. The ads are mostly just for show….I don’t think anybody is going to buy a car or discover “Doe-ree-toes” simply based on a commercial. And at $3.5 million+ per ad, any corporation who would skip the Super Bowl and instead HIRE NEW WORKERS would get infinitely better PR. Alright. Now that I’ve gone on my mini-rant, here’s my pick for top 4 Super Bowl commercials.
#4 Doritos “Man’s Best Friend”
I had to pick from a number of spots for the #4 position and this came out on top. I originally had picked the other Doritos spot (“Sling Baby”), but after after thinking about it, “Man’s Best Friend” is wittier and less predictable.
#3 M&M’s “Just My Shell”
Cute and unexpected. A crowd-pleaser. The brown M&M was voiced by Vanessa Williams, and the song is LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It”.
#2 Kia Optima’s “A Dream Car. For Real Life.”
Hugely entertaining and over-the-top. At first, it seems like a typical male fantasy but it becomes surprisingly sweet with a great twist ending.
#1 Budweiser’s “Return of the King”
As a former history major and a fan of period pieces, I loved this commercial. The artistic direction is beautiful, music from The Natural works well, and it only has two words in it (and a lot of cheering). I know the beer snobs are gonna snark “Budweiser? They got that excited about crappy Budweiser?” Shut the hell up. If you had to drink disgusting bathtub gin for 13 years, you’d be ELATED for beer, Budweiser or otherwise. And it’s true. Anheuser-Busch was one of the few American breweries to survive Prohibition, and they sent a case to the White House (delivered by Clydesdales) right after repeal.
Some other notable commercials:
Chrysler’s/Clint Eastwood’s “It’s Halftime in America”
Probably the most discussed/publicized Super Bowl commercial this year. It’s been getting a lot of political implications…some are calling it the best Obama re-election commercial that will be made. This one was a big hit with advertising experts. I had mixed feelings about it. The copy is quite well-written and fairly inspiring. But to me, it was a little draggy and boring. I know Clint Eastwood is a legend and his voice leads gravitas to the commercial, but I feel like at varying points he sounds like he’s going to (1) die, or (2) yell at me to get off his lawn. Chrysler’s Eminem spot was my favorite of last Super Bowl and this is of a similar vein. It’s something I SHOULD like, but just turned out OK in my eyes. And this is a 2 minute spot starring Clint Eastwood. It must have cost an incredible amount of money. Remember what I said in the beginning of this post, about how money might be better used by HIRING WORKERS? That severely diminishes the message for me.
Bud Light’s “Rescue Dog”
Not incredibly original. But it’s cute and does have a nice message supporting rescue dogs.
Samsung’s “Thing Called Love”
I really liked the first spot of this Samsung campaign. But they kept going with it, and the campaign felt stale pretty quickly. Yes, we know that people who stand in line for consumer products are losers and the Apple cult people are really annoying. So I was surprised by this one. Using a song that was semi-popular like 9 years ago (albeit, one I’ve always liked) is a little odd. It turns into a lot of fun, though. I don’t think it’s an amazing advertisement, but one that I really enjoyed watching. Looks like a great party. And a Brian Urlacher cameo!