Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Anti Social Super Bowl?

Did the Super Bowl commercial lack social media components this year? According to this article from Ad Age, yes, they did. With the number of people with smart phones these days and the power of social media marketing it is surprising there weren't ANY integrated campaigns.

Granted, I learned from the Super Bowl of Social Media voting site that the Doritos and Pepsi Max spots were consumer generated concepts that the brands then produced for the Super Bowl. I had no idea. There was no press that I knew of and no indication prior to the spots airing that they were user generated. It does explain the fragmentation and appearance of a lack of a unified campaign. Honestly, they were some of my least favorite since they seemed contrived with too much cheap humor. Some of them actually offended my parents and I found them rather yawn-worthy. Haven't we seen that same crap in the last five years of Super Bowls? I'm actually more sad to find out those were user generated—there's got to be some better ideas out there.

Ian Schafer's Ad Age article cites some great examples of what could have been done with the campaigns that ran to make them more social. He chides Chrysler, Motorola and Coke for not reaping clear tie-ins that would have worked centrally with their Super Bowl campaigns. I loved the 'Imported from Detroit' ad from Chrysler, but why didn't Chrysler tie that in to some charitable cause for Detroit? It would have to be the right charity, but it would have been brilliant. You have millions watching, enraptured by the commercial, feeling the American Pride for Detroit—the right charitable tie in would have given Chrysler the image of a car company that cares as much about its city as it does about selling cars.

Schafer argues that incorporating social media would have given these campaigns legs beyond the Bowl. As it is, many of the commercials will continue airing for months, but I think he has a point. The social aspect would give you legs and interaction beyond the television. And isn't that what all brands are trying to do these days?

I wasn't watching the game, poised with my iPhone, but it was just across the room. I think I would have engaged if I'd been asked. Would you? Did you think the Super Bowl was lacking in social media aspects?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Ads: Celebrities A-Plenty, Hits A-Few

There were a lot of celebrities in this year's set of Super Bowl ads, from Joan Rivers for Go Daddy, to P. Diddy for Mercedes, to the Osbourne's and Justin Bieber for Best Buy, but few of them hit a home run. Honestly, I think my favorite commercial was the pre-released VW ad (sans celebrity) that I blogged about last Friday. You had to have a pretty good knowledge of pop culture to understand all of the references in the commercials and I happened to be watching the game with my parents, who understood very few of them. As the New York Times stated:
To fully appreciate the commercials, it helped to be at least passingly familiar with “Almost Famous,” “Back to the Future,” Roseanne Barr, Busby Berkeley, Justin Bieber, Adrien Brody, David Bowie, Diddy, the “Dogs Playing Poker” paintings, Howdy Doody, early video games, Thomas Edison and Eminem (who turned up in two spots, for Chrysler and Lipton Brisk).
There were also quite a few car commercials during last night's game, from the P. Diddy Mercedes commercial celebrating it's history to the tune of Janis Joplin's Mercedes Benz. The spot was pretty good, but P. Diddy seemed like a random, unnecessary add-on and distraction from the rest of the spot. Meanwhile, Audi targeted Mercedes as the confines of old luxury complete with a cameo from Kenny G and a stuffed Dodo bird.

In the realm of soda advertising, a few of the plethora of Pepsi Max commercials managed to completely offend my parents. Even I found them in rather poor taste. Buying that many Super Bowl spots doesn't help your brand if they're a total turn off. Coca Cola's 'Open Happiness' commercials were good, though underwhelming compared to some of their classics like the Happiness Factory from a few years ago.

Below are the best of the lot (in my humble opinion):

I blogged about this one on Friday, but it's my favorite so it's getting included again.

Motorola took a stab at Apple with it's 'Empower the People' 1984 reminiscent spot to introduce its rival to the iPad. Only this campaign is turning the tables to make Apple the drone-creating big brother company. (Check out the original Apple 1984 commercial here.)

Okay, so the Bridgestone beaver ad is a little cliche and a little reminiscent of the Geico squirrel ad from years ago, but it still made me smile.

The best car commercial of the lot, in my opinion, and one of the only celebrity uses that seemed fitting, was Chrysler's 'Imported from Detroit'. There was something about this commercial that reminded you of the American Pride that Detroit used to represent. Something that reminded you that Detroit is part of our country and it's survival is important to the rest of the country too. It was a refreshing car commercial and Eminem, while not necessary for the spot's impact, exemplified working class Detroit and money at the same time, so at least his placement made sense and had some meaning.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Pre-Super Bowl Super Bowl Ad Release

Has Volkswagen set a new trend? The Pre-Super Bowl Super Bowl ad release on the internet? Volkswagen 'leaked' its Super Bowl ad for this year a few days early. Personally, I think that's a trend that's going to catch on. I mean, millions of people watch the Super Bowl. Most people watch it for the game and continue to enjoy the usually high quality ads that accompany the game, as well as a few people that just watch it for the ads.

The trouble is, when watching 3+ hours of television, often at a party or bar, are you really going to have your eyes glued to the TV the whole time? Of course not. Which is why, inevitably, you miss 'that really good' commercial because you ran into the kitchen for a beer or more chips or whatever, and have to wait until the following day (when they're all on YouTube) to catch up with the spot everyone is talking about. Why not release the ad early, to the internet crowd and have them drum up excitement for its airtime on game day? Think about how many people will mention to friends, 'Did you see the VW Darth Vader spot? It's so cute—watch for it!' Plenty.

Granted, some of the talk will dissipate if more and more brands pre-release, but it is a good way to make sure you're spot is seen and remembered. What do you think?

Check out Volkswagen's pre-released tiny Darth Vader spot below. It's pretty cute.