Monday, February 5, 2007

The Ad Bowl

I just have to vent right now, because of a trend that I know is at least as old as my literacy: bashing the Super Bowl ads. Once again, this year's crop of ads has been declared "disappointing". Maybe you agree with this assessment. If so, just ask yourself this question: When was the last year in which you were actually impressed with the Super Bowl ads? Let me rephrase that: When was the last year in which you said you were impressed with them? Did all your most recent watercooler conversations on the subject sound something like this...

Someone else: "Those Super Bowl ads were pretty lame, eh?"
You: "Yes, I agree with your assessment so as not to seem culturally out of touch."
Someone else: "Totally."

This is not necessarily your fault. The media, which is in fact neither liberally nor conservatively biased, is, on occasion, idiotically biased. The Wall Street Journal, which I consider to have the best news coverage around (of the stuff which they actually cover), has their typically prompt evaluation of the night's fare posted, and we're treated to verdicts like, "Despite the standouts, this year's Super Bowl ads overall didn't live up to the hype surrounding them." Fair enough, but what does this sentence actually say? To my point, have the ads ever actually bested their hype? Of course not. That's why they call it hype. Because it's hyperdemanding.

Later in the article we get treated to this gem: "But the biggest fumble of the night came from Flomax, the prostate drug from Boehringer Ingelheim Corp. The spot, which described the drug's side effects as including a 'decrease in semen,' showed men competing in a bike race. Ad executives questioned whether such ads should run during the Super Bowl. 'Call me a prude but there are kids watching the game,' says Mr. Feakins."

The article goes on to explain that they decided to run it late in the rotation to avoid kids, with nary a mention of the spot with the marketing dept. full of half-naked models that ran early in the rotation. People are getting bent out of shape on account of the word "semen", a clinical word which our children who are old enough to watch most Bud Light ads actually should be exposed to in health class. Those people are idiots.

Okay, so this is an auto blog, so I should probably say something about the automotive ads that ran. I work for Ford, but if I were to deny that GM stood out I'd lose all credibility. The amateur-based HHR car wash ad was good, but the robot spot was an absolute gem. This is an ad that'll get a lot of play on YouTube, and GM will be getting more than its money's worth spreading their quality message. In fact, in a stroke of brilliance, if you search for the ad on YouTube right now, you get a preview spot that tells you to go to to see the actual ad.

I think the only danger with this ad is the message being received as "Now that we have a decent warranty, we realized we actually have to think about quality." We'll see. But this ad may pay off for the General in sheer good will, further breaking down the stodginess of its image.

The Ford Super Duty ads were quite polished, and I did like how they built towards the actual intro ad where you got to see the full vehicle. But there should be more done in preperation for the traffic that these ads would drive. Many people, no doubt, went to, which has nothing on it about these ads. And the homepage doesn't have a prominent link to Super Duty info.

The Jeep ad was clever, yet forgetable. "What Jeep ad?" you say? See what I mean.

I guess the overall point of this post is, think for yourself. Don't be so quick to say "This year's ads fell kinda flat," especially when you get such a familiar feeling as the words leave your mouth. The fact is, you can't even remember last year's ads well enough to compare them. Am I right, or am I right?

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

"Am I right or am I right" always Randy,...

C. all of the above.