The Super Bowl was a great game tonight.
Exciting, big plays, and relatively well played.
If you aren’t a Patriots fan, chances are you were pleased with the quality of football. Which is a good thing, because if you tuned in to see the Super Bowl commercials, they, overall, paled in comparison in quality to the game itself.
The commercials, as a whole, lacked some of the creativity that we have learned to look for in this annual night that is the championship night for Madison Avenue as well.
Any spots hoping to break into iconic status and join the best Super Bowl ads of all time, as identified here in my January 20th post, will be sorely disappointed, as I do not give a single commercial tonight the status of “all-time great.”
It’s not that the spots were terrible as a whole; it is simply that they did not take the risks and push the envelope enough to have a shot at true greatness.
That being said, we do need to separate the “solid efforts” from the others, so below I am listing my best and worst ads from the Super Bowl tonight. I am grading these both as a consumer as well as a brand marketer that has managed large consumer brands for a Fortune 500 consumer packaged goods’ company.
While my opinions are actually facts, I welcome you telling me where you disagree.
The 8 Best Commercials From Super Bowl 46
#8. Budweiser, “Return of the King”
Budweiser always does a tremendous job of playing on their heritage and build their brand equity, and this spot was no different. Used the proven equity of the Clydesdales in a supporting role to hammer home the message that they have always been there. Good brand builder.
#7. Hyundai, “All for One”
I am guessing Hyundai had as many ads as anyone during the game, and this was the best of the bunch. Using the Rocky music made for an upbeat spot that also plays into Hyundai as the underdog in the automobile world that can come from nowhere and be a winner.
#6. Doritos, “Man’s Best Friend”
Doritos, as usual, had a good night. The best of the bunch was this spot which uses a message of Doritos being good enough to cover up for cat murder. The Doritos “Sling Baby” spot was good as well, but I thought this one edged it out.
#5. Dannon, “The Tease”
Great use of comedy in this spot as the woman knocks John Stamos out for taunting her with his Greek Yogurt. Liked the spot, but a bit unrealistic as Stamos is still good looking enough to get away with this (and, yes, I am jealous).
#4. Volkswagen, “Dog Strikes Back”
Great tried and true usage of animals to get across a humorous and inspirational message. Although I don’t remember the end in the spot that ran on the SB. Is this just a longer version, I hope so, the end takes away…
#3. Career Builder, “Business Trip”
Career Builder has maintained this campaign for a long time now but yet they always manage to keep it fresh with humor. And they use humor, but not gratuitously. It is always consistent with the actual message. Makes me want to actually look for a job….
#2. Chrysler, “It’s Halftime in America”
Clint Eastwood. Powerful message. Inspiring. Awesome spot.
My only problem with this ad was that Chrysler made the branding more around Detroit and less around itself (therefore enabling GE and Ford to benefit too). But great, great spot.
And by the way, have you guys noticed that the quality of American cars are actually competitive again? Cool stuff.
#1. Honda CRV “Matthew’s Day Off”
May not resonate as well with the 20-somethings, but really worked for me!
I can’t believe I have car commercials in my top 2 spots, as I am usually not a huge fan, but these were the best two spots this year. I just wish they would have said something like Win car of the year NINE TIMES. NINE TIMES. Even if it isn’t true, creative license would excuse it!
The 2 Most Disappointing Commercials From Super Bowl 46
#2. Coke, Polar Bears
Coke has a proven equity in these polar bears, but as far as I am concerned, they threw away more than $10 million on three really poor executions.
#1. Acura NSX, “Transactions”
They had some of the biggest brands ever in Seinfeld and Leno in this spot, and to me it just felt like they could have done so much more with it. Felt lazy and sloppy to me.
The 5 Worst Commercials From Super Bowl 46
Two spots, both using the brilliant Will Arnett, and they swung and missed both times. I am no more likely to go to Hulu and get their “premium service”; besides, can’t I watch just about any show for free on there? Here is one of their whiffs:
#4. Audi, “Vampire Party”
This spot felt like they were trying to tie into a trend that is on its way out. And isn’t it forcing the issue a little bit when the premise of your spot, and the main message, is that your lights are really bright?
#3. Go Daddy, “QR Code Ad”
Sex sells, I get it. In fact, I love it. But this campaign is so old and boring and tired. Nothing fresh about it whatsoever. Their other ad for .co was lame as well, although admittedly pretty hot.
Three swings, three misses, one strikeout of a night for GE. Still not sure I get the idea behind a B2B campaign in a consumer setting. Wildly inefficient. They tried to pull on emotional strings, but it just fell flat. Here is one of their spots:
#1. Kia Optima, “Dream Car”
This spot had it all. Every stereotype of bad advertising. Just awful. And I like Motley Crue!
Dishonorable Mention: Toyota (Bad night for Camry); Met Life (Just did not get their animated spot); and not sure if these ran Nationally, but Cure Auto Insurance, Swamp People ad of the History Channel were way out of their league.
Also, Best Buy continued their slide toward oblivion with a subpar ad tonight.
Follow Brian Dilsheimer on Twitter @Dils_Ignite