Tag Archives: super bowl

Engaging with the Big Game

There is no question that I will be engaged in the Super Bowl this weekend.  In fact, it has been on my radar for weeks.  The question is exactly how will I choose to engage?

  • Old School —  Just enjoy the game for the game’s sake.  As a native Pittsburgher with fond memories of the Steel Curtain, swirling terrible towels, and chanting “One for the Thumb,” it’s a logical choice.
  • Facebook Fanatic – Participating in the virtual cheers and jeers that are bound to continue between my Facebook friends who have been posting images of Steeler cheese graters, “Stairway to 7” slogans and other signs of their team affiliations for the past several weeks.
  • Professional – As a 20-year veteran of the advertising and marketing world, there is the obligation to analyze every commercial so that I am prepared to debate the winners and losers with family, friends and colleagues on Monday morning.
  • Twitter Tags – And there is always the appeal of the Twitter buffet of 140-character musings on everything from the plays, the refs, and the commercials to the Polamalu  vs. Matthews “Hair Bowl.”

The truth is, I will probably engage with the Super Bowl in all these ways, as each appeals to me on a different level.

As a marketer, it is also a good reminder that target audiences are multidimensional and will choose to engage with brands and messages in a variety of different ways with different expectations – sometimes all at the same time.  Communications plans need to be as multidimensional as they are.

Pamela J. Alvord – EVP, Managing Director of Strategy and Operations


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Representing your brand; do your research

One of the more popular urban legends is how the Chevrolet  Nova sold poorly in Spanish-speaking countries because “no va,” in Spanish, literally translates to “it does not go.” Despite whether or not this story is true, or really just a legend, the moral behind the story is still as relevant as ever. Poor representation of your brand will greatly affect your sales.

I was not as disappointed with the commercials during the 2010 Super Bowl as in previous years. I commented on the smart ones, chuckled at the funny ones, and made fun of the ones that just fell flat. However, one that I believe has poorly represented its brand was Audi.

When I watched the “green” Audi commercial the first time, I thought it to be a smart approach — tackling the eco-friendly automobile industry. However, it wasn’t until the following Monday where I was reminded that the “green police” was another name for Hitler’s Police during World War II. The Green police were at the heart of numerous deportations, ghetto-clearing operations, and massacres.

So I watched it again. And perhaps I am being too sensitive, but I found it incredibly distasteful. The way the police showed up at the store arresting the consumer on the counter for choosing a plastic bag, or taking someone out of their home for using the wrong kind of light bulbs – all while having a re-recorded version of Cheap Trick’s “Dream Police” as “Green Police” playing in the background. Was it not hypocritical to be wasting water by pouring it out of bottles simply because they were plastic? It just reminded me of the cruelty of the Nazis simply because they were in positions of power.

To make it even worse, Audi is a German company, owned by Volkswagen. I realize that the point wasn’t to make light of the Holocaust or even to try and emulate Hitler’s Police of the 1940s, but there is a much better way to portray your new eco-friendly, “green” automobile. How Audi approved such a concept is beyond me, but their ad agency should have done their research and been more sensitive.

All brands should be perceptive as to how to represent their brand. And German brands like Audi and Volkswagen, should know better than to associate with the “Green Police”  65 years after World War II. This misrepresentation is as bad as telling Spanish-speaking people that your vehicle simply “no va.”

— Jonathan Ginburg, Account Executive

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Super Bowl XLIV: Top 10 Commercials

The usual suspects made their appearance in yesterday’s Super Bowl, and I’m not talking about Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne.  There were the expected Budweiser and Bud Light Super Bowl spots, as well as a few spots from E*TRADE that could make anyone chuckle.  One thing seemed new, however.  There were a few good car spots, two of which ended up in my Super Bowl XLIV top 10.  To see some of these favorite spots, just click on the link.

Anyone who watches football on a weekly basis is used to seeing the typical Ford F-150, “look how much weight I can pull up a ramp” or “check out our great lease price on a Toyota Camry” spots.  However, this Super Bowl lineup was different for a few automobile makers.  KIA, Audi and Dodge took a right turn at Humorous and Light-Hearted, and may have broken the mold for automobile commercials.

KIA’s stuffed animals road trip was an instant classic, with a late reveal of the KIA Sorento only after the vehicle’s toy inhabitants had gotten a taste of life, road-tripping the country with a stop in Vegas.

Audi struck a chord with their Green Police clean diesel spot.  It was a very timely, cute spot that could draw a hush across any Super Bowl party.  The end button of the Green Police pulling over a cop for drinking out of a foam cup seals the deal and gives it a place in this year’s top 10.

And finally, while the Dodge and Volkswagen spots didn’t exactly make my top 10, they still made a departure from the standard car spot.  Dodge employed the stereotypical, “look what the guy has to do for his wife to let him have a Charger.” Stereotypical for a beer spot maybe, but not for an automobile spot, which is why I give Dodge credit.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen made me reminisce for a minute with their Punch Dub spot, ending nicely with a clever Stevie Wonder/Tracy Morgan cameo.

What did these four automobile spots have in common that made them stand out and receive a thumbs up?  They used humor and had a nice reveal.  I didn’t have to watch 30 seconds of smiling family driving through the city, desert or on a winding road by the sea.  Nice.  Maybe these four brands will pave the way for automobile companies down the road.

With that, my top 10 Super Bowl XLIV spots below.  Feel free to agree, disagree or send along your top 10.

10. E*TRADE – First Class

9. kgb – Sumo Bring it on fat man

8. CareerBuilder

7. E*TRADE – Milkaholic

6. Bud Light – Book Club

5. Audi – Green Police

4. Emerald’s Nuts/Pop Secrets – Trained Humans

3. Google – Parisian Love

2. Snickers – Betty White

1. KIA Sorento – Stuffed Animal Road Trip

— Gary Sayers, VP Account Director

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Counterpoint from a Football Fan Who Is Also an Ad Guy…

I’ve been a die-hard fan of the Buffalo Bills since the age of five (no jokes, please).  I’ve been playing in multiple fantasy leagues for the past 17 years (I even played fantasy XFL for that one fateful season – no jokes, please).  I can beat pretty much anyone at Madden.  I’ve been to hundreds of games and numerous Super Bowls.  I love football.

I’ve been in the advertising industry since the day I left college.  I knew this was what I wanted to do for a living since the age of five.  I’ve worked in big agencies and small ones.  New York, and not New York.  I get a rush from solving client challenges and when a campaign succeeds.  I love advertising.

So, the Super Bowl should be the ultimate day for me.  The perfect blend of football and advertising… on the highest level.  Sadly, it isn’t.

Sure, the last two games were phenomenal.  But most aren’t that good.  In fact, the average margin of victory in the first 43 Super Bowl games was almost 15 points.

The commercials are the same way.  Most are disappointing.  Maybe one out of every 20 is a good one.  Don’t get me wrong – there have been some classic Super Bowl spots.  Everyone remembers Mean Joe Greene, 1984, Where’s The Beef, The Frogs, Monks, and the Jordan vs. Bird Showdown.  You don’t even have to say what brands these spots were for.  Everyone remembers.  But all of them ran at least 15 years ago!

Lately, the commercials have been terrible.  I can only think of four spots over the past 10 years that I truly thought were excellent spots (interestingly, all of them use one or more of the so-called keys to a memorable Super Bowl spot – humor, sex, violence, animals, or kids):

EDSHerding Cats (2000)

ReebokTerry Tate: Office Linebacker (2003)

E-TradeMoney out the Wazoo (2000) and Baby Talk (2008)

Sorry to say that I am anticipating another dud this Sunday.  For everyone’s sake, I hope I’m wrong.  The good news is that, either way, everyone will debate the highs, lows, and key plays of the game… and which ads were the best!

– Stephen Weinstein – Director of Account Management

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Is the Super Bowl really about football? Time for the big ad showdown.

It’s Super Bowl Time. Yippee!

OK. So I’m not a football fan. I don’t dislike it, but I’m usually busy parenting little girls on Sunday afternoon instead of sitting in front of the TV or heading down to the Georgia Dome. But on Super Bowl Sunday, you will actually find me parked on my couch, with the volume turned up so I can hear every single word of dialog on every single commercial. Because, although I don’t care who wins the game, I am an advertising fan.

Yep! I’ll be watching the Super Bowl again for the ads. This is the one time of year that everyone in the business feels a little bit of pride since we know that we’re not the only ones who tune in for the commercials.

No, we ad people are not the only ones hoping that Budweiser runs a spot as funny as the frogs, or Reebok will make us laugh like they did with Terry Tate Office Linebacker. Or will Pepsi (Pepsi pulled out this year) entice us the way they did with Cindy, or will Coke tug at our hearts the way they did with Mean Joe Greene? Maybe. And maybe Go Daddy will run another sexist ad and revel in their bad publicity, too.

The Super Bowl represents possibly the only mass-market television event left. Since the advertising is also well watched by the consumers, it represents a rare opportunity for advertisers to make an impact on a huge audience. Whether a three-million-dollar, 30-second spot generates great ROI is debatable. But what it does create is a few hours on television where advertisers and agencies all want to put their best foot forward. So make your nachos and head to the beer store, because the show is about to begin.

– Jimmy Gilmore, Senior Writer


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