September through February, you can always find us doing one of these two things: discussing ads or arguing about football. The Super Bowl is an exciting time for us because it puts our two favorite things on a grand stage.
Football’s over (our Production Manager, Jan, was right about the Ravens—who would’ve guessed?), so it’s time to kick our ad discussion into overdrive. Below are RSW’s reactions to a few the most memorable Super Bowl ads—the best, the worst, and the “Wait, what are you selling?”
BEST: Dodge Trucks—“Farmer”
Saul: Agencies assume that getting the attention of a Super Bowl audience requires throwing digital effects at them. This spot succeeds because the agency understood that CGI doesn’t surprise people—surprises do. Using an unexpected, low-tech approach and showing beautiful stills got people’s attention.
WORST: SodaStream—“SodaStream Effect”
Jeff: It always amuses me when people take something that is loved and assume people want to make it themselves. To be fair, SodaStream looks like an interesting novelty, though the commercial did little to explain it to me. I guess I trade in the guilt of tossing plastic bottles into a landfill for the new guilt of tossing a bunch of empty plastic packets of icky syrup residue into a landfill.
Catrese: I almost shed a tear. It was a take off War Horse, but that’s OK (full disclosure: I’ve only seen 20 minutes of War Horse.) It was sweet and made me want to buy a horse—although maybe not a Budweiser.
Megan: I love the Budweiser commercials every year. Playing on emotional heartstrings while advertising beer? You have my vote. Bonus points for “Landslide.”
WORST: Kia Sorento—“Space Babies”
Jeff: I enjoyed this spot, but I can’t remember the client. I think it was for a car company, but the car was barely even secondary to the story. The father could have made up the same yarn on a park bench, a backyard patio, or in a competitor’s dealership.
BEST: Taco Bell—“Viva Young”
Jeff: This ad really underlines Taco Bell’s title as the greatest late night utopia. Beautifully shot with a wonderful story line and great little touches, like the bathroom stall gag and the sun-up return home. They made it even more interesting by running the song in Spanish and letting the audience translate in their heads.
WORST: OREO—“Whisper Fight”
Brooke: It seems like so much noise and chaos for a cookie. The cookie and creme are both the best parts of the Oreo—that’s what makes it an Oreo. Library fights make me feel a lot of things, but an Oreo craving is not one of them. It had that “It’s the Super Bowl, so let’s just go big” attitude, which I find terribly off-putting. Are we sure Oreo can’t just rerun the DSRL spot with the Mannings and the Williamses?
BEST : Coke—“Security Camera”
Saul: I thought this ad used a very clever idea: People on security cameras doing things OTHER than beating the tar out of each other or crashing their cars into buildings to steal ATM machines. The only thing I didn’t like about the ad was the advertising part. It didn’t make me want to go out and buy a Coke. But I did feel a little more hopeful about the human race.