What does it take for a Super Bowl ad to be great? Here are 10 things to consider while watching the commercials today. Is the ad you're watching:
1. Memorable? Effectively uses creativity so the product or service that is being sold is remembered.
2. Thought-provoking? Presents ideas that make you stop and think.
3. Funny? Uses humor that causes you to laugh until you cry.
4. Entertaining? Might make you completely forget that there's a stupid football game going on.
5. Surprising? It's one thing to embargo ads to advertising sites (like Adland), but putting them out on YouTube (full versions or teasers) and the like removes any surprise for the viewer. They end up thinking, yeah, ok, already saw this--no matter if they think it's brilliant! Super Bowl Sunday used to be like Christmas morning for ad grunts, waiting to see the ads. Now, it's anticlimactic for the most part when you've already seen them. Release films to the tradepress and tradesites (like Adland) under embargo to get articles about the ad and drum up hype makes sense - but putting films up on YouTube and the likes, where your ten million dollar spot is seen in a dismal poor quality is a great way to doom your idea. When you spend a great deal on making a fantastic looking film (or even a 3D film), leaking it in teeny-tiny, pixellated stamp-sized movies is an insult to both agency, director, and client. (Obviously sending out embargoed ads to Adland is groovy, we like it!)
6. Rewarding? Where you don't feel like a chump after having watched it.
7. Leaving you/them wanting more? Makes the viewer want to see it again, rather than inciting the desire to throw their remote through the TV screen or indifference.
8. Provocative? Where the ad turns on more people than just those in the ad biz.
9. Timelessness? Can be enjoyed by viewers of all ages and stands up to the test of time.
10. Unique? Doing something different. Not relying (only) on fart jokes, anthropomorphic animals, monkeys or gratuitous use of celebrities.
For those who can get an amazing ad out the door, kudos. Just remember, we work in a business where things like this happen.