We've just rounded off the Beancast recording (Live from New York City!) where we talked about Super Bowl ads, groin-shots, the fail of funny and if the emphasis and hoopla surrounding the Super Bowl ads are a problematic distraction for marketers.
If the premature ad-joke-alation is distracting the brand from their strategy and message, I say yes. There have been hundreds of genuinly funny ads aired during the superbowl, and equally many where the funny failed, and in both cases if the consumer can't remember the sender of the latest groin-kick, it was a big waste of money. Huge. As an example of funny ad that stayed on message, I brought up the Tide stain pen.
But it seems to me that the classic ad tactic "when everyone zigs, you zag" plays well in the Superbowl. Epic ads can make a huge impact, as you'll actually have a captive audience watching, and waiting for a punchline. Give them a punch. Chrysler did well in the epic ad arena this year, and walking dogs serving beers were soon forgotten.
In 2006 Dove took a big risk, in the middle of a macho game in between the chips and beer, they had a serious talk with the viewers about our daughters. People paid attention. It's not epic the way Chrysler or 1984 is, but it was serious.
Masterlock stayed true to its message, in fact it ran the same message over and over until it practically became synonymous with superbowl. The lock did not budge, repeat, did not budge from the brands message.
The Budweiser frogs weren't funny, not the first time anyway, they were just hypnotically strange, and all they did was repeat a brand name. 30 seconds of brand name!
Budweiser paid homage to both New York City skyline in 2002, and soldiers in 2005.
Apple have done great ads, and bad ads, during the bowl. Hal played on the Y2K fear - remember that?
And of course, 1984 has to be on this list.
But back to the beer - if you know what you're doing, you can mix epic and funny in one spot. I give you male intuition in the Heineken Big Drop.
I'm sure you can find your own favorite example in the worlds largest collection of superbowl commercials as we have 39 years of them now.