Well, that was fun. An exciting football game. A couple of old guys trying to relive their youth at half time and 63 commercials trying to win the hearts, minds and wallets of the American people. All in all, not a bad night for the advertising industry. The quality of the game kept people in front of their sets. The quality of the commercials, however, was mixed at best. I'm not going to dissect each and every one of them, but here are some of my thoughts. If you want to see any of the spots again (except the Tebow ad, because apparently Focus on the Family isn't interested in sharing. How christian of them) you can see them here.
There was great storytelling (Google), incredible cinematograpy (Coke), the unexpected use of celebrities (Snickers, VW), and screaming chickens (Denny's). According to USA Today's Ad Meter, the big winners were Snickers and Doritos, which proves once again, that most people find it funny to watch other people get hurt, especially Betty White and Abe Vigoda. It also helps when you're not burdened by the responsibility of telling anyone anything about your product.
The unfortunate media placement of the night came when the Docker's Men Without Pants ad ran after Career Builder's Casual Friday spot. Sixty seconds straight of men in their tighty whiteys is just a little too much.
As for animals, the winner for me was Denny's with its screaming chickens. Monster's Fiddling beaver was a close second. The Bridgestone Orca ad was a decent rip off of the Hangover, but a rip off none the less so ultimately, it failed.
My biggest disappointment was the Miller High Life spot. I was hoping for more from Wendell and our four quirky, small business owners.
My favorite ad of the night was the Google spot. It told a great story while telling me a lot about the product. Unfortunately, I don't think the Super Bowl was the right venue for an ad with this level of wit and intelligence. If only they had found a way to show someone being hit in the groin, I'm sure it would have scored higher.
The true test of the ads, however, will play out over the next few months, to see who built the best campaign around their commercial to extend its effect beyond the big game. I'll do a follow up in six months. In the meantime, lets hear your thoughts on the spots.