What a game!
Whether you’re an NFL fan or not, it’s hard to say that last night’s Super Bowl XLVII showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49’ers was a game for the books.
From Beyonce’s illuminated half-time show breaking Twitter and quite possibly the Super Dome’s power supply, to Ray Lewis’s final goal line defensive stand with his team that earned yet one more ring, it was one of the more exciting Super Bowl’s I can recall.
That is … except for the ads.
Super Bowl XLVII: An Unimpressive Year for Very Expensive Spots
I feel like we’ve potentially hit a point of stagnation with the whole Super Bowl Advertising thing.
You’d think that marketing executives at some of the most powerful brands on the planet and some of the best and brightest ad agencies in the game would have come up with better ideas to broadcast at just under $4 million per 30 second spot. But alas … the large majority of this years spots were (yawn) lack-luster at best.
No football playing Clydesdales or chirping, bar-hopping frogs. No cute kids dressed up as Darth Vader or even a shred of mechanical corporate drones sporting grey garb and marching in straight lines.
Nope. In my opinion, this year’s coveted Super Bowl primetime left much to be desired as far as advertisers were concerned.
Still, there were some memorable ads that focused on hooking playing to audience emotions. My top three picks for the most memorable and effective ads from Super Bowl XLVII are below. Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments, okay?
1. Chrysler’s So God Made a Farmer.
Much to my surprise, this unique ad only ran once. What’s interesting is that Chrysler opted to feature a 60 second spot against most competitors 15 and 30 second quick hit spots. This length of spot is usually reserved for ads that are stocked with information. Chrysler surprised me by taking a much more audience-centric and emotionally-charged approach. And, what’s more? It worked VERY well.
Featuring radio broadcaster Paul Harvey’s 1978 “So God Made a Farmer” address, this add was an incredible deviation from the normal product placement style of automotive advertising.
Different from Audi’s flashy product-focus spot that showed a high school-age boy gaining confidence from parading around in his dad’s pristine Audi A4, Chrysler’s spot focused on a niche audience for the Doge Ram.
Harvey’s matter-of-fact monologue plays while amazingly shot and almost Instagram-filtered images flash in the background depicting the life, times and love of the American Farming family. The emotional hook comes in the form of Harvey’s descriptions of rugged, duty burdened and weather-worn farmers against the juxtaposition of soft middle-America family values.
Chrysler could not have hit the target with any more accuracy. In my personal opinion this timeless spot was was nothing short of a work of art.
2. Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser: Brotherhood (Clydesdale and His Trainer)
It’s amazing to me that during a sporting event that’s ridden with testosterone-enhanced men essentially working to knock each other senseless, a beer brand counterpoints the audience with a sincere and direct tug at the male hear strings.
Again, focusing on emotional appeal to the audience as opposed to product placement and gimmicks Anheuser-Busch’s spot on the story of companionship between a young, growing Clydesdale and his loving trainer shows the commitment and attachment that even rugged cowboys can develop for beautiful animals
As Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” softly plays in the background, we see the trainer bottle feeding the young horse, playing with him and eventually falling asleep along side the animal in his stall. As duty calls, the trainer’s work is finally done and he ships the horse off to work for Budweiser.
The magic happens in the video sequence of the heart-broken trainer looking at his empty harness, and then discovering three years later that the team Clydesdales (along with his long lost friend) will be visiting Chicago.
I let you watch the rest of the story on your own. Warm fuzzies and all. But, if you’d like to learn more about what went into the making of this spot, read this great interview with Production Director, Jake Scott.
3. NFLevolution.com Spots
The funny thing is, I can’t post video of the actual Super Bowl spots from the NFL. Frankly, there’s not much of a point to anyway.
The 15 second spots aired somewhere between 4-5 times during the course of the game and had one simple call to action: Visit NFLevolution.com.
As content marketing and public relations goes, focusing on this simplicity was a savvy move.
It’s well known that the NFL has recently come under the fire of a variety of law suites involving players who are facing potentially permanent neurological damage concussions sustained during their careers in the league.
Some attorney’s representing the players have even gone as far as to post entire blog sites (and get them to rank in search engines) that discuss issues of injury and safety.
NFLevolution.com seems to be the League’s content marketing answer to the attack, promoting a site that opens dialog around the issues of head injuries in the sport, the traditions and evolution of the game and even insights and articles on safety from helmet manufacturers.
In a show that’s jammed packed with messages all competing to win consumer attention for 30 seconds in hopes of brand recognition, the NFL opted to use TV to invite audiences to a destination where they could participate in the discussion. Nice moves, NFL folks. Nice moves.
What Was Your Favorite Spot?
There were over 5 hours of broadcast for this year’s big game. The ads above are the ones I feel were the most effective and memorable.
Do you agree or disagree? What was the ad that stood out as being the most effective for you during Super Bowl XLVII?