Like many of you, I love watching the Super Bowl – mostly for the ads. When it comes to ads, this year didn’t disappoint – there were highs, lows and some serious WTF moments. Here are my highlights of the ads:
1) Dads are the new Moms
A few years ago we saw a trend with advertisers going for emotional “thank you mom” type moments and most dads were portrayed as bumbling morons, incapable of successfully completing even the smallest tasks. Dads have changed. Advertisers are now their cheerleaders and the emotional dad commercials were plentiful this year.
2) WTF Nationwide?!?!?!?!
Nationwide had 2 spots that couldn’t have been more different. The first one was about dead children, who died from random “preventable” accidents. According to Nationwide, their goal was to raise awareness. In defending the spot they point out that “thousands of people visited their MakeSafeHappen website, which builds awareness about accidents. Ummm… thousands of people visited your website? After a superbowl spot? That sounds successful to you? Sorry Nationwide, but thousands of people visit my website, and I don’t even have a superbowl ad. The ad was just strange and depressing, and didn’t make me want their insurance (or wait, will I be insured if my kid dies?!?!? Is that the point??!?!).
The second one was hysterical and featured Mindy (from the Mindy project) being invisible. This was a great ad, but I wonder how many people remember that it came from Nationwide.
The 2 Nationwide ads couldn’t have been more different in tone, branding, strategy and everything… Strange approach to fragment your brand.
3) Dear Camry: An Ad Can’t Make You Edgy
Branding is about consistency between your actual product and how you market it. I’m no car buff, but I think that people buy a Camry because it is reliable, affordable and looks like a normal car. It isn’t sexy. It doesn’t have a hot design. It doesn’t have a great powerful engine. It isn’t an adventurous car. It is a safe car, and that is OK. The Camry commercial on the other hand was about adventure and testing the limits. The car is in no way about that. You don’t buy a Camry because you test the limits and crave adventure.
IMO this ad, while a good commercial was was off brand for Camry.
An ad alone can’t change your brand value proposition.
4) Let’s Make Fun of Hipsters!!!
In 2015, mocking hipsters became fun. The Budweiser ad mocked the craft beer snobs, and while some were up in arms, I say GOOD FOR YOU FOR CELEBRATING YOUR CUSTOMERS and making them feel good about not fussing over hoppy IPAs and “dissecting beers”. From a branding perspective this was great – the people who were offended would never touch a Budweiser and they made their customers feel good. Loved it.