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4 February 2013 - 1:38pm | posted by | 0 comments

Super Bowl ad reviews: Coca-Cola, Oreo, Budweiser, Samsung Galaxy, Taco Bell, Chrysler

And so the Super Bowl ads for another year have rolled out to almost as much excitement and fan fare as the game itself. Some of the UK's top creative minds in the advertising sector chose their favourite from this year's crop and explained just what was so special about them.

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Steve Hatch, CEO for MEC UK - Oreo

<strong>Steve Hatch, CEO for MEC UK - Oreo<strong>

“When thinking of the best ad from the Super Bowl, you have to consider which was the most effective. As the lights went out at the New Orleans Superdome, there was only one winner: Oreo. It wasn’t even in the much talked-about half time slot; in fact it wasn’t even a traditional TV ad. It was a free ad that showed everything great about seizing the opportunity.

“Oreo reacted the quickest to the power out and created a relevant and humorous ad, with the strap line ‘you can still dunk in the dark’ that was tweeted out for free while other brands around £2.5m for a half time slot. Real-time marketing at its incredible best.

“And the worst? For me, it was the Go Daddy. I understand being controversial is in their DNA but this spot just felt lazy.”

Amanda Phillips, managing director at Volume Group - Taco Bell

“Taco Bell was the surprise winner of the Super Bowl ads for me. Whereas many of the ads took a contrived and pastiche view of gender roles, Taco Bell showed true understanding of its audience by using humour to make heroes of older men and women.

By recognising the popularity of its food with older people, Taco Bell has created an impactful ad by shrewdly used this insight to create a humorous ad that appeals both to the direct target audience, and the younger generation. By depicting older people as party animals, the ad may lead younger people to re-appraise their impression of the brand, whilst simultaneously appealing to the older generation as not being too old to have a good time.

Audi was fairly predictable this year with an ad epitomising the American teenager’s fantasy of taking risks by driving the coolest car (an Audi, of course) to the prom, kissing the prom queen and coming away with a black eye from the prom king. However, its interactive element, inviting viewers to vote for the ad’s ending and essentially co-creating the ad like a mini-movie, was one of the best of the evening. Not to mention their quick response to the blackout on Twitter, ahead of its rivals.

Super Bowl ads are akin to the Queen’s Speech in terms of representing the mood of the nation, and the latest ad from Chrysler was no exception to this. Taking on a subdued and dignified tone, the ad reflected the collective pride and resilience of Americans through an ode to farmers.

However, not all brands got it right. Car manufacturer KIA produced a surprising ad about ‘Baby Land’, in which a stereotypically embarrassed father creates a tall tale for his son to avoid the awkward ‘facts of life’ conversation. While I did enjoy the spot itself, like many ads on the night it’s difficult to see how this will drive people to buy the product, with little opportunity for viewers to engage with the brand afterwards.”

Toby Southgate, CEO UK & Ireland, The Brand Union - Samsung Galaxy

“Personally, I believe Samsung Galaxy wins the Superbowl. No contest, no power outage, no arguments. No need for Beyonce to shake her ever-increasing behind. This is great. OK, it might not be the most original idea – Orange Gold Spots anyone? - but hey, this is the Superbowl. These are two big contemporary comedy movie stars, combined with a great script. Not sure if these guys ever 'act' as such, but it works – for them, and for the brand. And this is the goddamn Superbowl, ferchrissakes, so dig into the nachos and laugh it up people. Entertainment is what it’s all about.

"The Budweiser Clydesdale spot is exactly the kind of work that wouldn't get made the rest of the year. It's soppy, sappy, sentimental, regurgitating the best and worst bits of every stereotypical piece of ad creative hinging on nostalgic Americana. But for Superbowl? Bring on the schmaltz. Same goes for the Jeep ad – capitalising on national sweetheart Oprah along with the stirring Band of Brothers theme tune – it’s heartstring-tugging advertising paint by numbers.

“As for VW's 'Get Happy' – in direct contrast to the engaging, fun and, let’s face it, nerdy executions of previous years, this offering is especially jarring. In 2013, is it plausible that anyone, anywhere would really find this funny?

“Bonus points to Oreo for their quick off the mark Twitter gumption during the blackout, for being both on brand and nailing the social aspects which so many of the big spenders missed by miles in their planned placements riffing on Twitter themes.”

Peter Veash, CEO The BIO Agency - Coca-Cola

“With the Super Bowl ads I always look to see who’s being clever in driving the consumer journey online to maximise their engagement and investment.

“While this year many brands were encouraging viewers to log onto social media to further encourage debate and engagement online there was little beyond that. Coca Cola that appears to have gone the extra mile online. Their ‘Chase’ ad encouraged viewers to go online and vote for one of cowboys, showgirls and bandleaders as they try to be the first to grab a Coke in the desert. The ad was launched online before the Super Bowl with teasers, and broadcast during the game; allowing viewers to vote for who they wanted to win. The ad featuring the winner, voted for by consumers, was broadcast online after the Super Bowl. I have to say I’m confused to see exactly how they have cleverly leveraged the social media world and this is not an ad that would encourage me to engage with Coke. The whole process on and offline seems to have been poorly executed.

Sedaka Charles, creative director for Maverick - Oreo

<strong>Sedaka Charles, creative director for Maverick - Oreo<strong>

“Oreo’s quick reactions may have given them the final touchdown of the Super Bowl ad game, but its success relied just as much on creative thinking as it did on good timing. The power of social media is it’s fast-pace ability to reach millions in seconds, but it also needs to have content that users will value and share. The simplicity of Oreo’s advert is what made it so ‘shareable’; the message was topical and to the point with enough tongue-in-cheek creativity to engage social networkers. However, brands cannot just rely on reactive advertising without the ‘big idea’ as, ultimately, these tactics will only jeopardize their long-term engagement strategies. “

Matt Spink, executive creative director for Dialogue - Budweiser

“Airing a Super Bowl ad isn’t always about selling. It can be about raising the profile of your brand, driving equity or creating an emotional connection with the audience.

“But from a shopper marketing point of view, I want to know that any ad, and the Super Bowl spots are no exception, works in store and ultimately makes me want to buy the product.

“Unfortunately there are too many ads this year that just don’t do this.

“Budweiser's ‘Clydesdale’, is a prime example. Budweiser has a long history of Super Bowl advertising, and is probably the beer of choice during a game, but I just can't see how this ad would ever make me want to buy a Bud. Its saccharine sweetness was too much for my cynical British eye. Add to that the implausible end scene – surely a fully grown horse running down a street would have been shot – and I have to stop the bile rising up my throat. The competition to name the Clydesdale foal doesn’t feel likely to provoke any major debate and unless the spot is fully supported with in store display featuring the horse, and possibly even experiential using the Coca-Cola-holidays-esque truck, this ad just becomes wallpaper and will be quickly forgotten.

“On the other hand, Pizza Hut's 'Hut, Hut, Hut' was a clever, simple way of bringing together American football, the brand, and the many supporters of the game. From kids playing in the street, to high school training, and professional team games, the fast cuts showing the 'hut, hut, hut' moment of play really got you in the mood. Not just to watch some football, but also to order the 20" multi-topped, crust-filled, triple-cheese monster pizza that was undoubtedly on offer during the game. Supported with a 'show us your hut moment' online competition and game meal deals, I can see Pizza Hut doing very well from this spot.

“These two are not my favourite, or least favourite, ads from Super Bowl 2013 (I loved Audi's 'prom' and couldn't stand The Rock failing to save the world because he has to get milk). But they do show that even when you're spending up to $4m for a 30 second spot, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the shopper angle right. You can get it spot on, or totally miss the point, which ultimately is to get all those millions of fans to actually buy your product.”

Mike Shackle, ECD at gyro London - Chrysler

"Chrysler’s 'Farmer' spot for the RAM truck was the best of the night. Using the late radio host Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” speech, that for decades has been a soundtrack for farmers and their families, it’s a perfect spot, full of raw honesty. It doesn’t make a play for our sympathies or overdo the production, it just lets that world-weary voice work its magic over equally under-stated photography. At the end, when the product is introduced, it’s as a dedication, and beautifully done. Chrysler is a brand that knows its audience and understands America. Bravo.

"Jeep try to do something similar with their spot, an ode to the great job the US Armed Forces do and the sacrifices they make, but fails in every way Chrysler succeeds. Whereas Paul Harvey’s voice was full of the trials of life, dripping with truth, Oprah’s has been digitally altered to give it an epic feel which immediately removes any humanity from it and our connection with the message. The imagery tries too hard to tug at our heartstrings and just comes across fake and schmaltzy, and when Jeep finally appears, s a brand, it feels intrusive – as if the brand is trying to make sales off the soldiers sacrifice.

Samsung, on the other hand, with The Next Big Thing, loses itself in its use of celebrity. Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan spend 60 seconds talking about being in an ad for Samsung, mocking advertising and dropping the brand’s name around at every opportunity but it does little lese. I enjoyed it – it’s well-written and well-acted after all, but in the end, I knew no more or less about Samsung’s products and it did nothing to influence my feelings towards Samsung. At the end, I just thought “What was the point of that?”

Volkswagon has a very tough job at the Super Bowl. They have Darth Vader’s shadow looming over everything they do. Such a perfect spot is hard to live up to and they don’t even come close this year. Truth be told I found “Get In, Be Happy” offensive and juvenile in the extreme. A real shame and a lost opportunity. Kia actually out-do VW at their own game this year. A little boy asks “where do babies come from” and we see a father’s very cute explanation. When the boy asks about sex though, it’s time to demonstrate the voice-activated music player. Charming, funny and good for the brand.

"Taco Bell’s Live Young spots were again great to watch. Who doesn’t like seeing some old age delinquents indulging in chaos and mayhem? But the message seemed to get lost in the quest to be funny. Was the point of the spot to get Pensioners into the restaurants more often? If so, great, job done. But if that wasn’t the brief… can’t see it making Taco Bell any more attractive for a 15 – 25 year old.

The worst spot of the night goes to Go Daddy. Oh dear. I just hope Bar Rafaeli got paid a lot for it."

Ian Bates, creative director of Indicia - Samsung

"With this year’s Super Bowl racking up more than 24.1 million tweets, Samsung has perfectly captured Americans’ desire to be entertained with its latest irreverent and self-parodying ad. The use of an ad within an ad format is extremely clever and by using celebrity endorsements from comedy stars Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen, in addition to peppering the ad with its ‘next big thing’ strapline, Samsung manages to simultaneously promote the phone’s features and get people talking about the campaign. Samsung has been shrewd to include a ‘next big thing’ hashtag, which will no doubt spark conversation with its target audience and encourage them to engage with the brand.

"However, Coca Cola didn’t fare so well at this year’s Super Bowl, missing the opportunity to create positive conversations with its audience due to a technical hitch. While a online voting system was a good idea in theory (an interactive element always helps) Coca Cola’s online issues highlight how brands should not rely too heavily on one element of a campaign. We’ve seen this kind of viewer interaction before with brands such as Mercedes enabling viewers to decide how the ad ends, and it has quickly lost its innovative appeal.

"However, because the online issue affected the TV ads and failed to recover, Coca Cola’s Super Bowl ad will certainly have people talking, but for all the wrong reasons."

Mike Shackle, executive creative director, gyro London - Various

"Chrysler’s “Farmer” spot for the RAM truck was the best of the night. Using the late radio host Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” speech, that for decades has been a soundtrack for farmers and their families, it’s a perfect spot, full of raw honesty. It doesn’t make a play for our sympathies or overdo the production, it just lets that world-weary voice work its magic over equally under-stated photography. At the end, when the product is introduced, it’s as a dedication, and beautifully done. Chrysler is a brand that knows its audience and understands America. Bravo.

"Jeep try to do something similar with their spot, an ode to the great job the US Armed Forces do and the sacrifices they make, but fails in every way Chrysler succeeds. Whereas Paul Harvey’s voice was full of the trials of life, dripping with truth, Oprah’s has been digitally altered to give it an epic feel which immediately removes any humanity from it and our connection with the message. The imagery tries too hard to tug at our heartstrings and just comes across fake and schmaltzy, and when Jeep finally appears, s a brand, it feels intrusive – as if the brand is trying to make sales off the soldiers sacrifice.

"The Best Buy spot with Amy Poehler is another good spot I enjoyed this year. It uses the celebrity to showcase a whole range of products available at the stores in a well-written and acted spot, making fun of the silly questions we all ask (or would like to ask). As someone who knows nothing about electronic products, it left me feeling Best Buy is my kind of store.

"Samsung, on the other hand, with The Next Big Thing, loses itself in its use of celebrity. Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan spend 60 seconds talking about being in an ad for Samsung, mocking advertising and dropping the brand’s name around at every opportunity but it does little lese. I enjoyed it – it’s well-written and well-acted after all, but in the end, I knew no more or less about Samsung’s products and it did nothing to influence my feelings towards Samsung. At the end, I just thought “What was the point of that?”

"Volkswagen has a very tough job at the Super Bowl. They have Darth Vader’s shadow looming over everything they do. Such a perfect spot is hard to live up to and they don’t even come close this year. Truth be told I found “Get In, Be Happy” offensive and juvenile in the extreme. A real shame and a lost opportunity.

"Kia actually out-do VW at their own game this year. A little boy asks “where do babies come from” and we see a father’s very cute explanation. When the boy asks about sex though, it’s time to demonstrate the voice-activated music player. Charming, funny and good for the brand.

"Taco Bell’s Live Young spots were again great to watch. Who doesn’t like seeing some old age delinquents indulging in chaos and mayhem? But the message seemed to get lost in the quest to be funny. Was the point of the spot to get Pensioners into the restaurants more often? If so, great, job done. But if that wasn’t the brief… can’t see it making Taco Bell any more attractive for a 15 – 25 year old.

"Sketches and Oreo made just two very average commercials. Forgettable on a normal night but suffer even more for being on during the Super Bowl."

The Bud Black Crown spot is trying so hard to be cool it hurts. It felt like a funeral for a brand rather than the launch of one. Eek."

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