Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Super Bowl adstravaganza™ 2012

Once again, I parked myself on the sofa with my laptop on my lap and recorded my initial impressions on most every commercial as it aired during the Super Bowl game.

What a day! Advertisers ought to be thanking the New York Giants and the New England Patriots for keeping everyone’s eyes on the television from the opening kickoff until the final incompletion in the end zone. The game certainly lived up to its hype.

Did the commercials? Let’s see.

The Voice – Vocal Kombat, with Betty White

One of the most audacious commercials actually was a promotion for the premiere of the NBC program, The Voice. You have four big music personalities in Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton; now mix in the youthful nonagenarian Betty White, and the outcome is as expected: wildly entertaining and funny.

It was always about your voice, and not your body, Betty.


Where there’s Pepsi, there’s Sir Elton John? Of course! Delivering the star power, Pepsi served up Mr. John as a king holding court awaiting to be entertained. Difficult to please, he joylessly dismisses a jester to the dungeons via a trap door. A female peasant, played by X Factor winner Melanie Amaro, approaches the throne. “And what do you do?” the king inquires. “I sing,” she replies. “Huh.” The king clearly has his doubts. The lady belts out Respect and brings down the house, err castle, along with a stained glass window. The king approaches the singer in his gold platform shoes (Pinball Wizard anyone?) and reluctantly says “All right, Pepsi for you.”  She ignores the Pepsi can he offers and grabs his chalice.  “No,” she begins and throws the chalice at the trap door release, thus banishing the king to the dungeons, “Pepsi for all.”  And the crowd goes wild!

Sir Elton John was the X factor in Pepsi’s King’s Court.

Did it seem to you that Budweiser or Bud Light and Coca-Cola were in every commercial break? Budweiser’s “Return of the King”  (prohibition is over!) commercial was artistically wonderful. Bud Light’s “Rescue Dog” ad, with a scraggly little guy named Weego, undoubtedly was a fan favorite, PETA fans probably excluded…even with the “Support the American Rescue Dog message.  The Coca-Cola polar bear commercials just didn’t sparkle.


Like the 13,928,737 others who have watched the long-form commercial on YouTube in just 14 days, I love Matthew Broderick’s Day Off ad for Honda CR-V. It clearly was a stroke of brilliance by Honda and their creative team.  It resonates most with the middle aged adult crowd, and didn’t we enjoy the nostalgia?

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”


How is it that Matthew has aged so well?

Hyundai Veloster Turbo: The Veloster turbo from Hyundai is very powerful. V/O: “Trust us, it’s fast.” And to prove it, a man releases a cheetah to chase the Hyundai. The cat instantly realizes the vehicle is way too fast. He turns his eye on another prize - the man who released him from the cage. Uh-oh.

Volkswagen's “The Dog Strikes Back” commercial was very entertaining, but what an overweight dog embarking on its own fitness plan has to do with the new VW Beetle is beyond me.

Audi vanquished vampires with their ultra-bright LED headlights. Did anyone ever foresee an automobile company dedicating an entire 60-second spot to headlights during the Super Bowl?

The contest to get the first 2012 Acura NSX was very entertaining. You can’t miss with Jerry Seinfeld. The race boat and the zip line were epic bits, and Jay Leno swooping in on a jet pack at the last second to scoop up the keys was killer. Funny. I don’t recall what the car looks like, though.

I guess the Chevy Sonic “Stunt Anthem” commercial was supposed to convince us that the little vehicle is rugged, safe and fun to drive. Didn’t work for me, but at least the song “We Are Young” by Fun is catchy.

Chevrolet Silverado, man and his dog survive the apocalypse foreseen by the Mayans. I have two questions: 1.) Did Hostess pay a fee to have its Twinkies brand in the commercial?  2.) Do any of these men look like Barry Manilow fans?

The Chevy “Happy Grad” ad was the winning entry in Chevrolet’s Chevrolet's Route66 competition. Mom: “Should we tell him now.”  Dad: “Not yet, he’s losing steam.” Girl: “John, marry me right now!”  Son: “I will so marry you right now.” Girl: “Mom, we’re getting married.” Son: “This is the best day of my life.” Son & Friends repeatedly chant: “Best gift ever!” Hilarious.

Go here to see the other Chevrolet commercials that aired on Super Bowl Sunday.

Let’s see, what other car commercials were there? Oh yes, Kia Optima showed us your dream car includes your dream girl. Fiat Seduction, however, took dreaming to another level with their fantasy fueled commercial. Change cannot be contained, according to Lexus, who already has a 2013 Lexus GS model in the market with only 340 left in calendar year 2012. Toyota gave themselves a pat on the back for reinventing the Camry, along with a few other of “life’s pleasures?”.

And then there’s Chrysler’s “Halftime” Commercial with Clint Eastwood as spokesperson (a brilliant choice!):

America and Chrysler wishes it were only halftime for Clint Eastwood

Wow. The tingling goose bumps didn’t abate for several minutes. Let’s get on with the second half America!

Selected Others

Who among you remembers the brand in the dog race commercial? Mr. Quiggly break dances across the finish line and finds himself in the loving arms of his owner, Mark Cuban, who surmises that the champion canine will want a raise. Did you remember the ad was for a brand of shoes?

Bridgestone boasted about their polymer performance technology in a pigskin spot with Troy Aikman and Deion Sanders and their serenity sound absorption technology in a hoops spot with Tim Duncan and Steve Nash. A lot of money was spent for what were a couple of forgettable vignettes.

Perhaps one of the steamiest commercials was turned in by none other than Teleflora. A sexy woman (Adriana Lima) is in her bedroom getting dressed for a night out. A black dress, red heels, and red lipstick, she is dressed to the nines! On her makeup table, red & white flowers in a bright red vase. She looks to the camera and with a sultry voice, says: “Guys, Valentine’s day is not that complicated ...” brief dramatic pause as she leans into the camera, “…give and you shall receive.” Oh yea.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention eTrade and GoDaddy. Both delivered superb spots that stayed true to their brands. Entertaining and memorable. And let’s not leave out CareerBuilders and their pranking monkeys. Sleepless nights abound with those jokers.

Final Observations

As I wrap this long post up, I must ask: What was up with all of the extraterrestrial life forms? It seemed like at least half a dozen companies made a conscious effort to reach out to that other-worldly demographic, including one of Texas’ very own:

Something strange is always happening in Texas.

Are aliens becoming a high profitably market segment? The evidence from this year’s installment of commercials would suggest so.

So, did the 2012 Super Bowl adstravaganza™ live up to the hype? Many were highly entertaining. Most were smartly conceived, written and produced. The social media channels were deluged with strong positive reactions to so many of the ads. In terms of exposure and awareness, the answer is yes. Will they result in sales? That’s the true measuring stick. Does anyone use it?

To view all of the Super Bowl commercials in one convenient location, go here.

“You’re still here? Don’t you have anything better to do? Go on, get going. Go!”