Super Bowl ad battles

February 7, 2011

A take on what stood out, both good and bad, from last night’s Super Bowl commercials, with an old-fashioned twist: no DVR, no computer.

OK, so here goes my version of the Super Bowl commercial blog. Let me explain the parameters I’ve set for myself (more out of necessity than anything):

1. I don’t have a DVR, and didn’t sit and take notes or anything as the commercials came up. I simply caught what I caught in real time, as I was busy doing other Super Bowl-y stuff. So a good old-fashioned type of viewing.

2. I haven’t gone and tracked down any of the commercials online (yet).

3. I haven’t read anyone else’s blog on the topic (yet).

So I’m simply working from what I remember and what struck me, perhaps still the best test of a good commercial. And the “what I remember” part is pretty limited these days, so this will be a short blog.

The winner
The new Volkswagen Beetle spot. As any good commercial does, it grabbed me with an intriguing situation: A bug with racing stripes down his back blowing past all his fellow insects in bug-sized versions of classic car-commercial scenes, weaving through armies of ants and zipping past praying mantises. Then, flying through the air in a spectacular jump, backed by Ram Jam’s “Black Betty”… I loved this bug, was rooting for this bug.

Then came the payoff of the new Beetle announcement, with a simple visual teaser of an outline of the new design. From a brand standpoint, it made total sense. It was friendly, clever and approachable, with the promise of smart design and accessible yet noteworthy engineering and performance.

{youtubejw width="640" height="380"}8ulbjaKmKG0{/youtubejw}

Coke vs. Pepsi
The Coke commercial might’ve come in second for me. Humorous and fun to watch, with the great basic premise of a beverage whose enjoyment crosses ideological, political (and actual) boundaries. Well done. To me, it shows that good, simple brand storytelling still beats out pure CGI excess. (For an example of CGI done right, see Volkswagen above).

Pepsi Max? Really? Preppies getting hit in the crotch? Men who think about only sex, while the women think about relationships? It has nothing to do with being above base humor; I love a good hit-in-the-crotch commercial as much as the next guy. But these were so unoriginal and expected; it just left me scratching my head. What does that say about Pepsi drinkers, or at least Pepsi’s image of them? Not much.

Audi vs. Mercedes
Audi’s continued attack on the trappings of old-school ideas of luxury remains relevant and pretty darn funny. Kenny G was a nice touch. Both brands, of course, are tremendous, as are the cars they make. But the focus on Mercedes’ brand perception is an interesting approach to take, and seems to be working.

Mercedes, on the other hand… your cars are amazing. But P. Diddy? Really? A man who’s own branding and product campaigns feature such out-of-touch excess and James Bond-style luxury fantasies seems an odd choice for a celebrity endorser, if they’re in any way trying to battle the perceptions that Audi is taking aim at.

Sex still sells
And finally… GoDaddy. Taking base and ridiculous to new heights (depths?), their commercials continue to be completely and unapologetically incongruous. And, from what I’ve heard, actually reflect their corporate personality pretty well, and seem to be working. So, good for them. And now, if you don’t mind, I need to log on to their site to see how their commercial…umm… ends.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Brandlogic and CoreBrand have become Tenet Partners — Where brand meets innovation®. More