Super Ads? Uh…NO!

It wasn’t too long ago that at every Super Bowl party in America, you could divide the crowd into two groups…those that were there for the game, and those that were there for the outrageous commercials. And usually, if anybody was disappointed after the game, it was the group that was there for the contest itself. The game rarely lived up to the commercials. Oh, how times have changed.

Last evening’s Super Bowl was a whitewash of the Carolina Panthers, and while my wife was rooting for Denver (she’s a Peyton Manning fan), I really didn’t care who won. I just wanted to see a good game. And until Cam Newton got sacked inside the 10 yard line, it was a good game, and you felt that Carolina just almost put it together. But the commercials? They sucked.

Let’s face it. There were a few commercials that made me chuckle. There were a few commercials that were ok, but when on earth did the Super Bowl ads become about movies and cars? Where were the beer commercials (and I’m not talking about Amy Schumer or Seth Rogan). Oh, the Helen Mirren spot about drunk driving was cute, as was the Kia Optima commercial comparing a car to beige socks, but they weren’t what I would call memorable. The rest? Come on already!

It was a good thing I was into the game because I certainly wasn’t into the commercials. And coming from 35 years of media employment, working for an advertising agency during that time, having my own advertising agency during that time, and writing over 35,000 commercials during that time, I have to tell you, the creativity for something like this absolutely sucked. If I was an advertiser and I was spending $5-$10 million on one commercial, and saw the pieces of crap like that, I’d be firing my advertising agency! This was an effort that I expected out of a fifth grader, not “professional, Madison Avenue type ad agencies”.

We were warned. I know I saw in two or three different places that the ads this year weren’t going to be as creative. There were a lot of companies, including our own here in Phoenix that decided to skip the Super Bowl this year. And those that ponied up the big bucks went with more mundane messaging. I guess that’s their choice, I mean, they certainly don’t owe me the entertainment factor when they are the ones paying the big bucks, but I don’t have to watch them either. And there were several I didn’t. And if enough people went to the bathroom or the kitchen for more guac during those commercial breaks, it also didn’t make for a very good advertising investment.

In the end, it’s the advertiser that needs to decide whether to go all out and spend outrageous money to actually create a memorable commercial, AND spend another pile of dough running it. The option is don’t advertise in the Super Bowl and be more creative. Or less creative. Or skip television ads entirely. After all, isn’t everything coming to the internet anyway?

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!