MAKE SUPER BOWL ADS GREAT AGAIN !
The final numbers are in….. and ad-meter has spoken….
Final Score: NE 34 - Atl 28 – Ads 3 – Halftime Show -0
Accept it, we live in a hyper-commercialized society and its presence is most apparent in the media we consume. But nowhere is this more evident that the Super Bowl that hypes everything about it – the pre-game, the game, the halftime show, the parties, the gambling and of course the commercials. Super bowl 51 was to be another advertising bonanza featuring a diverse array of big name brands, trailers, and the always-expected risqué spots from advertising mavericks entering the foray for the first time or those returning to reclaim their glory.
Yes, the Super Bowl is the unicorn of broadcasting, the mecca for brands and the haven for ad-busters like myself. Now keep in mind that I am a critic at heart, a sort of contrarian soul that finds solace in looking at how things should be or can be to make them better! But for the most part I found the commercials lacking in the very components that advertisers seek to achieve – capture attention, deliver a message, provide a call to action, and by all means leave the audience with some take away that connects the ads to what is intended to be sold or the overall brand theme! By all means ads should be entertaining, --bring me some joy, push me to tears, make me laugh, get in my face, challenge my thinking, make me wonder… for the most part this year’s ads did none of this. They were vanilla, and in advertising that is not what you want. Creatively ads should push the envelope, test technology, shock, infuriate, amaze, astound. This set of ads failed on all counts. In fact these were not only bland, but BORING. Where were the sexual innuendos from the Go Daddy ads of the past; where was the political rancor of Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair; where was the sophomoric but entertaining humor of the Doritos amateur spots; where was the pure joy of the Mean Joe Green Coca-Cola ad; the sentimentality of Budweiser’s Clydesdales or puppies; the mystery of the Darth Vader VW spots; the heart tugging storytelling Dad-ads of last year? … I know I’m forgetting many others that should bear mention but the point is that the Super Bowl ads have become far too PG and lost their edge. Why?
Should we blame this on all the now necessary practice of pre-releasing on social media that seems to suck all the anticipation from the ads in their in-game airing; the over and misuse of celebrity cameos which confuses the messages or the subtle/overt censorship from Fox and the NFL that kept advertisers like GNC’s “Courage to Change” and 84 Lumber’s “The Journey Begins” off the air and forced them to the internet (BTW - To me even though the Super Bowl can be streamed on the Internet, airing an ad on the Internet is not considered a super bowl ad). And even more important is that you never want to have to send your audience on a search across media to complete your story – it’s very risky. It didn’t work for BMW in the year’s past although it seemed to work for 84 Lumber even though it did crash their website.
Even with the OT and the thrilling comeback victory by the Patriots, this Super bowl is not expected to eclipse the viewership of Super Bowl 50 but it did allow Fox to air four (4) additional commercials during the game. What an opportunity lost for airing some great ads!!!
Ok , I guess I’ve got to make my picks so here they are:
1 – “It’s a 10” – it was unexpected, political, unique and relevant.
2 – “#WeAccept” – AirBNB – creative message pushes diversity and inclusion although the photo morphing was a bit hackneyed as it was previously used during the political ad avalanche. And I’m waiting to see if they truly accept requests from all…. I’ve heard that there have been some problems.
3 – “Drive Progress” – Audi – strong message although I didn’t like the “maybe…” part.
4 – “Pee Wee” – Buick – just humorous and funny
5 – “Yearbooks” – Honda – nostalgia and I like the AR features.
That’s it for me… see al the ads and the national results here - http://admeter.usatoday.com/results/2017
Oh yea, ….while we are at it, we need to also make the half time show Great Again too! Gaga was flat and was no match for the fire brought by Janet and Justin (2004); Madonna (2012); Bruno (2014); Katy Perry, w/Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott (2015); Prince in the rain (2007), Beyoncé (2013 & 2016), or even MIA (2012)--- I expected more from Gaga!
The ticket to get in this year’s ad game cost just over $5 million per: 30 seconds to reach an audience of just under 115 million viewers. The cost compares favorable with Super bowl 50, but is a far cry above the $37,500 paid for ads in the very first Super Bowl in 1966 http://superbowl-ads.com/cost-of-super-bowl-advertising-breakdown-by-year/. Despite the costs and drops in the projected audience ratings by Nielsen, this year’s Super Bowl brought in over $509.6 million in ad revenue for Fox, a unit of 21st century Fox.