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Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Bowl Ads: The Smart, the Bold and the Funny

It was no doubt a great football game. The New York Giants gave it their all to beat the once thought unbeatable New England Patriots. But admidst all the excitement was the high price legendary Super Bowl advertising blitz. Some big brands spent their advertising dollars wiser than others, but there were some clear stand out favorites. But I must mention that those who did spend the millions to run their ad during the super bowl invested well since the ads will get even more exposure from where the ads can live on in infamy - at least for a little. This is due to FOX (which ran the game) and Myspace both being owned by News Corp. which is clever in leveraging its popular social networking site.

A few years ago, a little internet technology company named spent major bucks on its first television ad that ran during the Super Bowl. (Those who are fans might remember an attractive woman in a court scene in a skimpy outfit that few have forgotten.) It was a very sexy commercial which had everyone buzzing and talking about Godaddy. This year, instead of giving one of their sexy ads direct to Super Bowl viewers, they chose to use the ad to tease the sexy ad now appearing on the website. This ad was smart because there is no better way for an internet-based company to get consumers to its site than to have a sexy video running on that will no doubt become viral. Plus, they will more than likely convert many of the gawkers into paid clients. A smart move indeed.

Bridgestone over the last years has been marred by a tire scandal and definitely needs a fresh start with consumers. Two Bridgrstone commercials ran during the game that were quite humorous. One featured furry animals screaming in fright as a car with Bridestone tires came barreling toward them (no animals appeared to be harmed.) Another featured metal legend Alice Cooper and exercise guru Richard Simmons who escaped being run down by a car with Bridgestone tires. These were fun and light-hearted ads that appealed to animal lovers and Richard Simmons haters.

My favorite commercial was the Diet Pepsi Max (energy beverage) commercial featuring the song "What is love?" by 90's one hit wonder, Haddaway. You might recall a skit from Saturday Night Live (SNL) by Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan dressed in shiny suits going club hopping and incessantly bopping their head to the Haddaway tune. Well, the Pepsi Max commercial played on the head bop by showing actors and well-know celebrites needing a little boost of energy to get their heads bopping. Some of celebs featured included: Troy Aikman, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott and LL Cool J. After getting fueled with the beverage, everyone was shown bopping their heads to the tune just like the famous SNL skit. Chris Kattan made a cameo at the end yelling "stop it" - seeming annoyed that everyone was STILL doing his old routine. This commercial used an infamous tv skit to get its point across. Brilliant!

Audi used a memorable scene from The Godfather to introduce its new luxury muscle car the "R8". The commercial took The Godfather scene in which a movie executive wakes up screaming in horror to find that his sheets are wet with the blood of his thoroughbred horse's head that was lying at the foot of his bed. In the commercial, the actor wakes up to find oil all over his beautiful sheets and the front end of his luxury car (could it have been a Mercedes?) at the foot of his bed. The commercial ends with the R8 racing of the man's estate. I loved this commercial because it used the same intimidation The Godfather's Corleone family did to "send a message" to its foes. Of course, those who have never seen The Godfather were oblivious to this, but those few should check the movie out.

Fox was the biggest winner. The network intertwined its Super Bowl coverage with branding from its new show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The NFL on FOX has a big football player robot that jumps around during interstitials. During the game, the NFL robot still jumped around, but had a few encounters with the Terminator robot. They battled for three interstitials with the last one ending with the Terminator robot being approached by two other NFL robots. The use of these built-in interstitials to promote network programming was extremely clever and done quite effectively. Although, I do not watch the Terminator program (and I have no intention on watching it) I appreciated the co-branding and thought behind the promotion.

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