Five Days Later, Which Super Bowl Ad Brands Still Resonate?

by Gregg on February 8, 2013

The commercials that air during the Super Bowl have become almost as iconic as the game itself. So here’s the question:

It’s five days after Super Bowl XLVII – which brands still resonate with you?

Mind you, I’m not talking about the entertainment value, i.e., "Oh yeah, the ad with Willem Dafoe playing the devil. That was clever." It was, but what I’m looking for is the brands that used the advertising medium to deliver a message about it that actually stuck with you.

Go ahead and think for a minute. I’ll wait …

Much harder question, eh? Here’s the problem with advertising during the Super Bowl today: If every brand tries its darndest to entertain us, the message – and indeed the brand itself – will probably get lost.

Cynical folks will say, "Advertising during the Super Bowl is about getting your name out in front of 100 million viewers, and you just gotta be memorable."

And yet, most of them weren’t.

Want proof? I thought the prom commercial was pretty funny, because that was me back at Whitefish Bay Dominican High School in the mid-1980s. But five days later, I can’t remember the brand. I know it was a car company.

Here’s more proof. GoDaddy.com is about web domains – but what does a nerdy kid kissing Bar Rafaeli have to do with that?

I thought the Oreo whisper fight commercial was hilarious – after all, who hasn’t wanted to defy a librarian and take everyone there with you? I tried that at Dominican one time; it didn’t end well. The entertainment was consistent with the type of product – a cookie with dual nature. Cookies are about fun, so it made sense. And bonus for taking the cookies vs. creme debate to Oreo’s new Instagram account, and not Facebook or Twitter. (By the way, Twitter estimates up to 50% of ads had hashtags this year, which seemed low to me.)

The brand that I thought did the best job was Dodge Ram, which used the Paul Harvey speech about how God made a farmer. Moving, and again, it made sense because it was consistent with my perception of both farmers and the Dodge Ram brand, while stating clearly the values of both. Ask yourself: What brand of truck does a farmer drive? Before last Sunday, I might have said Ford, but now, and probably for good, I’ll say Dodge. Interestingly, right after Dodge’s 2-minute Paul Harvey ad ran, Ford posted twice on its Twitter feed touting its long-tiime support of Future Farmers of America.

Know what else is interesting? I know Ford must have advertised during the Super Bowl, but heck if I can remember what it was, much less any key messages.

And what of the Mercedes-Benz CLA commercial with Willem Dafoe playing the devil, who tries to con a guy into selling his soul? It co-starred Kate Upton and Usher, with music by the Stones and a cameo by Vanity Fair magazine, and it was well done. But you know … I had a bit of a hard time reconciling a Mercedes that looks and handles like a BMW M3 and is priced like a Toyota Camry. So the question is, what does the Mercedes-Benz represent? Because now I’m a little confused.

To me, if you’re going to spend $4 million for a 30-second spot in the biggest TV night of the year, you better make sure the message you deliver about your brand sticks.

So ask again: Five days after Super Bowl XLVII, which brands still resonate with you? Type your thoughts below.

(Image credit to Detroit Free Press.)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Carrozzo February 9, 2013 at 9:27 am

This might be a bit off your original question but five days later I am thinking about the blackout and the fact that some brands went into content marketing mode right away to give people messaging tied to the events that were happening right then and there. Example Oreo.

They quickly assembled an image of a dark screen with a light shined on a cookie with the message ‘you can still dunk in the dark’ and tweeted it out. Why is this effective? Simple: during the blackout I was bored looking for content as I am sure others were too. So brands like Oreo capitalized and got a clever message in front of millions that were scouring the web for something to keep their attention. Walgreen’s did something similar but I don’t think they used an image. Something like “we sell lights” clever too.

All in all, clever and perhaps a sign of new immediate marketing tactics to come going forward. We live in a society where we want content and we want it now. My attention was away from the big game for 35 minutes.

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Kyle Thill February 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Aren’t they all brands that already constantly keep us “in touch” with their message or image? Recently Bridget Willard at Riggins Construction wrote a piece on static advertisements that implied companies are simply going to invest in it as a part of their marketing strategy. Like static billboards, could you measure any value in and ad during the Superbowl, and does it matter?

Those Superbowl ads are expensive, but I feel they are only a small [flashy] part of an overall marketing effort. Whether they did any extra consumer compelling or not may matter less than simply showing up at the show. For this consumer no single ad will compel me to change an opinion I already hold.

The real bang for their buck I suppose is the buzz created surrounding the ad, and it being replayed over and over again verbally and out here on the web. If they get that they truly grabbed the brass ring. I haven’t watched the game since the 80′s, and look for the ads later strictly for entertainment value, not to be persuaded.

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Gregg February 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Mike: Good assessment, and kudos to Oreo for being nimble and capitalizing on that unforseen situation. (Or was it “forseen” in the sense that they planned ahead for a potential contingency like that?) I also remember the Walgreen’s piece as well, and it had something to do with lights, which was clever.

I wonder if the bottom line for a brand, then, is to have Plan A but come up with a Plan B and Plan C just in case? That of course adds to the cost, and the ROI is probably low to nil because normally something like that won’t be needed. But when it does, it works, as we saw.

The thing I do have a bit of trouble resolving in my mind is the approval process for specific content like that; that’s not something that usually happens in a few minutes, let along an evening or even a day. Curious.

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Gregg February 10, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Kyle: I think you’re right in that those ads are probably not designed to influence – but at $4 million for a 30-second spot, it seems like a lot to spend to be just another ad. That means the creative has to be really great in order to stand out, but if most of the creative is really great (or even OK to pretty good), you have to hope you strike a chord that resonates with viewers and compels them to talk about it and post about it. It just seems like a high cost for negligible returns.

But to your point, I would guess most brands realize that going in, and work to capitalize on the social media aspect during/after the game. It struck me as odd that only an estimated 50% of ads used a hashtag. Would seem likle a missed opportunity to not include one, unless you weren’t planning to monitor the social media traffic about it, which seems like a bad idea.

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