SuperBowl Ads — Mistakes or Money Makers?

Were the 2014 SuperBowl mistakes or money makers? There were plenty of both. None of the spots hit it out of the ballpark like the first E-Trade baby spots, but everyone had favorites.

A good TV spot should stand out, connect with the audience and have some call to action or create a favorable impression of the brand.

I was invited to appear on the local NBC affiliate’s morning show the day after the big game and select the three best and three worst Super Bowl spots. Here are my picks and pans for this year.

The Worst Spots

  1. Bud Light – “Ian Up for Whatever.” This TV spot is a good example what happens when you have an unlimited production budget but no writing talent. It’s as if the creators of this ad got together and said “Let’s just throw some celebrities and a pop band together with a guy supposedly picked at random. Let’s have him in a limo with a bunch of girls paid to be with him, mix it all up with some silly hijinks and it should be exciting and fun and funny — right?” It was none of those things. It had all of the build-up before the game and then fell flat. Kind of like the Broncos.
  2. Maserati Ghibli – “Strike.” The first and only Maserati commercial…1.5 minutes long ($12 million to air)…a strung-out collage of crap. Backgrounds in America? Africa? With an afro-haired child staring in the distance, haunting music and words that supposedly evoke some emotion (anger? anticipation? who knows?) and a little bit of “blue collar, us-against-them” attitude. With this build-up, you would expect a new working man’s beer? A labor union? A church? No wait…it’s a $75,000 Italian Sports Car. What the…? I could not believe this one. You have to wonder, “What were they thinking?”
  3. Sonos – “Fill your House with Music.” Oh, music! A whole-house sound system — is that what this spot was selling? You would never know it. No voiceover to explain that either. It looked like a 60-second, $8 million TV spot for spray-painting interior walls of an expensive house. An empty expensive house. Did they show people enjoying the music? Explain the offering or product at all? Nope. That would make too much sense.

The Best Spots

All of the best spots have simple stories, interesting visuals and new products being shown — which are likely to see a huge spike in sales in the days and weeks following the Super Bowl.

  1. Butterfinger Cups. I loved this spot. It was funny and showed a delicious-looking product. It was easy to remember, and likely to have people looking for some the next day.
  2. H&M – “David Beckham.” This spot for men’s underwear showed the product for part of the ad until it was taken off or torn off. More importantly, it featured the type of guy who might wear the garments for the benefit of 45% of Super Bowl viewers who are women. And women make most of the purchases of men’s underwear.
  3. SodaStream. This spot featured the beautiful Scarlett Johansson. She got attention and was funny. She demonstrated how the product works and pitched a very positive benefit for your health and the health of the environment — less sugar and fewer bottles.

NOTE: You can view all of the SuperBowl TV spots by going to YouTube and searching for the “EverySuperBowlAd” channel.


About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Email questions and comments to GFF@FarrisMarketing.com and connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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