By Emily Kanter
A lot of women, like me, watch the Super Bowl for three main things: The national anthem (sung by Kelly Clarkson this year), the halftime show (Madonna featuring many other pop icons), and of course, the commercials. Each year, advertisers battle and bid millions of dollars for a 30-second spot to debut their commercials during the football game.
Super Bowl XLVI had a lot of entertaining bits while others fell flat or tried too hard. The thing that stood out most for me was Chevy’s aggressive digs at Ford. In a commercial portraying the Mayan apocalypse, Chevy drivers survived, leaving the rubble unscathed, while the narrator told us that Ford owners couldn’t survive the destruction.
Continuing with the automobile commercials, Clint Eastwood’s long and boring attempt to persuade viewers to do who knows what with Chrysler cars definitely lacked entertainment value. Acura teamed up with the always-loveable Jerry Seinfeld, who delivered his comedic act and riffed on several classic “Seinfeld” favorites.
Budweiser presented us with feel-good, classic, vintage commercials that celebrated various great moments throughout American history. Bud’s spots were very product-centered and had nostalgic nods to various decades. Overall, Bud left us happy, feeling good, and wanting to crack open a crisp beer.
On the other hand, Coke brought the bears back. We did not really get what they were doing during the commercials, but the cute polar bears quickly evoked forgiveness! Coke could have done a much better job showcasing its Cola brand that everyone loves.
Another classic brand that never disappoints was M&M, which introduced its new, female character. The company managed to make a “just my shell” joke (involving a brown M&M) and added an edgy twist by suggesting that the candy was naked.
Overall, with more than 140 million Americans watching the Super Bowl, there was plenty of room for billions of dollars to be made as a result of this sporting event. However, a significant chunk of that number is spent on advertising in an attempt to both entertain and influence consumer buying habits.
As in all elements of marketing and branding, the strategy needs to come before the execution. The creation of an amusing advertisement for the Super Bowl that does not aim to achieve a larger purpose may garner a few media mentions, but it will not add to the bottom line.
After watching yesterday’s commercials, we were left with two questions: What do you think was the strategy behind each commercial, and how well did each company execute that strategy? We welcome your comments below!