Feb 8, 2016

The 7 Best Ads of Superbowl 50


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By Peter Murane, Founder & CEO

It’s a beautiful day to be a Denver Bronco fan. And a beautiful day to be in branding. Last night’s Super Bowl featured some particularly good advertising after a couple of years of lackluster work.

Between bites of chips and salsa here’s what stood out for me. Keep in mind that when I analyze commercials I watch them once rather than study them. Great advertising drives recall so if a commercial doesn’t cause you to connect with and remember a brand the first time you see it it’s not an effective commercial.

Here’s my take (after one take) on the best ads of Super Bowl 50:

Toyota – All New Prius 4  – This is the best ad Toyota has put out in years. What a brilliant selling idea – staging a bank heist and get-away featuring the eco all-star, Prius. The only way the outgunned cops can compete – put a Prius of their own into the chase. Fantastic! Totally changes how one thinks about that brand.

NFL – Superbowl Babies. Let’s face it, the NFL is a wonderful business but hasn’t been very good at marketing due to poor leadership and PR incompetency. With Superbowl babies they nailed it and cemented their hold on our country as America’s game through the generations. This ad delivered no news but it made me think about life and families and the way football marks the passage of time.

Budweiser – Bud’s new “don’t back down” tagline powerfully returns the brand to its roots – beer for hardworking people not dudes who put orange slices in their drink. When a brand shows you who it’s for in an aspirational way it’s done a great job. The raw power of the creative and new take on the famous clydesdales created an inspiring, authentic commercial.

Heinz – Everyone knows the key to winning hearts in Superbowl advertising is to include babies or puppies (or both) in the commercial. So Heinz’s approach was both shameless and wonderful. A literal pack of “wiener dogs” running slow motion across a meadow to be reunited with their mustard and ketchup owners. Yes, it was a little weird but I bet it will sell ketchup. And it delivered a warm fuzzy for a brand that doesn’t mean much anymore.

T-Mobile – The strategy behind T-Mobile’s new uncarrier campaign is brilliant: attacking big wireless carriers for being the price-gouging monopolies they are. And using a talent like Drake coupled with an unlimited data strategy will connect with a new generation of younger, wireless users who see AT&T and Verizon as corporate brands.

Audi A8 – I wasn’t sure what to make of Audi’s A8 ad – watching an older man with some form of cognitive decline come to life behind the wheel of the new A8, reconnecting with the rocketry of his earlier life. But I did love the reason to believe in this ad – a top speed of 205 miles per hour (or at least that’s what I recall). So essentially, this car is a rocket ship that blasts the cobwebs away.

Colgate – Finally, I appreciated Colgate’s “turn off the faucet” public service announcement. It demonstrated what clean water can mean to the world and highlighted the thoughtlessness of wasting resources. But it was done so in a way that wasn’t sanctimonious.

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