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Thoughts on This Year’s Super Bowl Ads

Another year, another Super Bowl in the books.  This year’s contest was particularly disappointing as the game wasn’t very competitive. However, the advertisements were enjoyable. Here are my top three:

#1 – T-Mobile featuring Tim Tebow “#NoContract” <a

Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow is out of football, but likely would suit up in a heartbeat if given an opportunity. This commercial (the second of the two that aired) was unexpected and really funny.

Takeaways: It’s OK to poke a little fun at yourself and taking chances can change the way people think of you. (To me, Tebow is hilarious, especially when he intones in the mock film trailer for Illegal Formation, “You better hold on to those donuts!”

#2 – Chrysler featuring Bob Dylan “We Will Build Your Car” 

Bob Dylan in a car commercial? It was strange, but Dylan is always a wild card. (Remember when he appeared in the background of a Victoria’s Secret ad?) The Super Bowl has become Chrysler’s signature advertising moment – “Halftime in America” and “God Made a Farmer” both caused quite a reaction in the past. The ad is an unabashed play on patriotism (same as its predecessors) and showed another side of Dylan. It was odd but effective. People paid attention, and now Chrysler has set expectations for each Super Bowl pretty high.

Takeaways: Try something different. One impactful ad can yield more buzz than a dozen mediocre ones. (Just think Apple’s “1984” spot that only aired once.)

#3 – Radio Shack featuring 80’s Icons “The Phone Call”

This ad has arguably garnered the most buzz. Seeing – among others – Hulk Hogan, the California Raisins, Cliff Clavin of Cheers and a DeLorean speed away after ransacking a RadioShack featuring signs advertising “Boomboxes” and “Fax Machines” was clever. It was also an admission that RadioShack stores have an image problem in that they are perceived as meccas for your odd uncle who likes to spend hours building his HAM radio set. The ad is funny, but it offers only a fleeting glimpse (five seconds out of the 30 seconds spot) of the modern ‘Shack that they are trying to project. You could easily walk away from this spot thinking that, indeed, RadioShack is dated without considering that maybe they were changing or had changed.

Takeaways: Be sure your main point is always business driver. Avoid making ads that almost seem like a plug for your competitors.

Michael Bond

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