I’m throwing a penalty flag on the Super Bowl. Not just the game, the awful commercials.
Once again, 100 advertisers paid $5+ million for their Superbowl moment…only to be immediately forgotten. Still, nobody seems to question if their ad worked!
Had enough of this tired formula? Corny ads, washed-up celebs, cute dogs – and no strategic purpose. It was so bad that comic Amy Schumer was pitching mayonnaise. Even the halftime show was fake, singing to pre-recorded tracks.
Years ago, a Budweiser exec confided that buying Super Bowl ads is just a vanity play. Forget the Bud Bowl and Clydesdales, they don’t sell beer. In fact, their ad research showed that 7% of viewers came away with a better impression of Bud, while 15% thought less of them. The rest didn’t care.
This year, Budweiser opted out of the Super Bowl and spent that money to ship out vaccines. When you’re the ‘king of beers’, that’s how you roll.
Here’s my take. Credit Jeep for taking the high road. Bruce Springsteen sent a powerful, but sobering message to Americans. He spoke of coming together, as teams beat the crap out of each other on the field. By the time Bruce’s spot aired in the second half, the game was a blowout. And most fans were too hammered to notice.
So, if slick, phony ads don’t work, what does?
Authentic, clever messaging that taps an emotion. It’s why the Jeep spot worked. While every ad screamed for attention, the Boss was the whisper that screamed.
I doubt that Bruce will sell more jeeps, but he struck a nerve. The Reunited States spot was storytelling at its finest – and it got shared a zillion times. It reverberated.
Jeep and Springsteen, proud to be born in the U.S.A.