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My favorite Super Bowl ad: FCB’s Susan Credle

Susan Credle, global chief creative officer of FCB

Ahead of Super Bowl 51, The Drum has asked some of the industry’s most influential people to reflect on their favorite Super Bowl ad of all time and discuss why it stands out to them.

We’ve also asked them to give their thoughts on whether they think social media has helped or hurt the effectiveness of the coveted Super Bowl spot. Over the past few years, many brands have chosen to leverage the power of social media by teasing or releasing their Super Bowl spots online days before the game in hopes of garnering additional buzz and maximizing reach – but a good number of brands still prefer to take the traditional route of surprising viewers on game day.

Up until the Super Bowl, we’ll be featuring responses from agency founders, creatives and CEOs. Today we feature Susan Credle, global chief creative officer of FCB. Below, find out why Master Lock's 1974 "Shot Lock" commercial is her favorite Super Bowl ad of all time.

What is your favorite Super Bowl ad of all time?

My favorite Super Bowl ad of all time, “Shot Lock” from Master Lock, ran in 1974.

Why did you love it? What made it stand out?

It wasn’t as epic as “1984.” Nor was it as charming as “The Force.” It wasn’t as curious or as clever as “Frogs.” And it was devoid of celebrity like “Thanks, Mean Joe.” But even at 11 years old, I remember it stood out. Perhaps I was going through my first experience with using a locker at school, so it was relevant. It definitely made a point dramatically. In fact, the idea was shelved for almost a decade because people felt that it was too controversial. But why this spot makes the top of my list today is because of the smart business choices that surrounded it. Master Lock was one of the first brands to realize the ROI of the Super Bowl. It is said that they spent most of their marketing budget on this one placement. It is a lesson for all of us today concerned about being everywhere. Perhaps it’s smarter to be in fewer places but to have a greater impact. Master Lock also became one of the first advertisers to realize the value of being an anticipated advertiser during the game year after year.

In your opinion, was it ultimately a success for the brand?

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, from 1973 to 1994, annual sales went from $35 million to $200 million. On its site, Master Lock still features three decades of Super Bowl advertising. Sadly, the last time Master Lock bought a spot in the game was in 1998. Maybe it’s time for them to get back in the game, ignite some of that latent equity and let a new generation know that Master Lock is “Tough Under Fire.”

What do you hope to see from this year’s crop of Super Bowl ads?

I would like to see more companies use the Super Bowl to make a big statement about where they are going. “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” and “Imported From Detroit” are two examples of companies using this unique marketing moment to do more than make the top of some likability chart. In fact, when “Imported from Detroit” ran, it ranked 43 out of 61 on the USA Today Ad Meter. And yet, we know it went on to change the way people thought about Motor City, American cars in general, and Chrysler, specifically.

Social media has changed the way brands approach their Super Bowl advertising strategies. Do you think social media has helped or hurt the effectiveness of Super Bowl spots?

Social media and companies launching Super Bowl spots prior to the big game have diluted the anticipation of the advertising during it. The bulk of the conversation seems to have shifted from after the game to before the game. My concern is that the industry probably cares more about the conversation before the game than the general public does. In the future, we will see more companies teasing their Super Bowl ads in order to regain the excitement and power of premiering a piece of creative to a mass audience at the same time.

To read the other interviews in our series, click here.

To find out which brands are advertising in the Super Bowl this year, visit The Drum's dedicated page here.

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