February 02, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday.  It’s the best day of the year for fans of advertising everywhere!  So, how did this year’s ads stack up?  I think overall folks were surprised – and some were even disappointed – with the serious tone that this year’s ads took.  Instead of tears of laughter, we had real tears in our eyes. This year’s Super Bowl ads could have been sponsored by Kleenex.  I mean, really Nationwide?  What was that?  I couldn’t help but wonder – were these ads targeted at viewers of the Lifetime Network or football?  But what I thought isn’t quite as interesting as what consumers thought.  So here’s a look at a few ads that we tested. 


Victoria's Secret inaugural ad.  This is Victoria's Secret's FIRST EVER Super Bowl ad.  Not surprisingly the men loved it.  But, interestingly it wasn’t just for men alone.  Women responded well too.  This is in stark contrast to the Sexy ads of yore from Go Daddy and Carl’s Jr.

  • LESSON FOR COMMUNICATORS:  Make sure by catering to one audience, you don’t alienate others.  A lot can be learned from Victoria's Secret on this front. 
  • GRADE:  B+






BMW electric car.   Who didn’t have fun watching Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel drive around in the new electric car?  At first the folks we spoke with were a little confused by the “back in time” look at Katie and Bryant.  For those of you who didn’t see it, Katie and Bryant were taped 20 years ago confused about what dot.com meant – and the @ symbol.  Was that a circle around an "A"?  But, once the consumers we spoke to got it, they got it.  The message was clear:  something that folks didn’t understand initially, is now indispensable.  It was smart.  On brand.  Had a perfect use of humor.  And importantly – an example of an ad where folks will remember the brand.

  • LESSON FOR COMMUNICATORS.  Great advertising both entertains us – and tells a story.  This ad did just that. 
  • GRADE:  B+






Kim Kardashian and T-Mobile.  Oh T-Mobile.  Why?  Why did you go there?   The people we spoke to have seen ENOUGH of Kim Kardashian.  Literally, and figuratively. And – even when pushed – asking folks if they thought that it was funny that Kim was making fun of herself, they just weren’t buying it.   Enough Kardashian already.

  • LESSON FOR COMMUNICATORS.  Think about the use of celebrity carefully.  The people you choose are telling the story of your brand.  And you shouldn't be aligned with certain celebrities, regardless of how many followers they may have on Twitter.
  • GRADE:  C-






DOVE MEN.  I couldn’t help but think that Dads are to the Super Bowl what Moms are to the Olympics.  The question is – who owned Dads?  Well, Dove made a good effort.  And, wow, did folks love the heartwarming part of this ad.  The positive reactions on this one rival P&G's moms-focused compaign. The problem from a marketing perspective is…as soon as they showed the product the dials took a nose dive.  Why?  Because Dove isn’t known to be a brand for men.  And while this might be an introduction, folks were confused by it. 

  • LESSON FOR COMMUNICATORS.  Make sure you draw connections between the story and the product.  If the connection between Dove and Dads sticks, we could have the next Dove Real Women campaign on our hands.  We are all anxious to see what comes next. 
  • GRADE:  B






CARLS JR.  Was this ad talked about?  ABSOLUTELY.  Is that the goal?  Not exactly.  To be sure, it was clever.  But, who is the ad targeted at?  First, the folks who care about ingredients in fast food aren’t the same folks who are going to respond to this ad.  One of our participants said it best…“It’s meat selling meat.”

  • LESSON FOR COMMUNICATORS.  Speak to your target about the things that matter most to them.  In this case it should probably be more about the meat, then the farm fresh ingredients… 
  • GRADE:  D






LIKE A GIRL.  Who didn’t love this ad?  It’s not new, but it sure makes a splash!  It’s fun.  It has meaning.  It makes folks re-think the way they behave.  It starts a conversation.  Overall folks think it’s powerful.

  • LESSON FOR COMMUNICATORS.  When you take on a cause, make sure it ties in to your brand.  This one is perfect for them.  And, importantly it starts a conversation that is ongoing.  Well done.   
  • GRADE:  A







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