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Super Bowl TV Spots — Some Score, Some Fail

26-year old Vanessa watched the TV commercials during the 2020 Super Bowl game so she didn’t have to listen to her boyfriend complain about the lousy officiating. Many viewers watched the spots hoping to be entertained.

However, most of the approximately 100 million viewers watched the spots because they didn’t have a choice — the TV ads are carefully and expensively placed within the biggest game of the year.

People involved with marketing — consultants, marketing department managers, business owners and entrepreneurs — watched the spots because it’s part of their business or career. Marketing is in their blood and they are always looking for new ideas, an edge, or a message that can be modified, made their own and used to increase brand awareness, sales or both.

Some marketers watched for something to mention on social media or something to use in a column — like this.

While we marketers may shake our heads at the idea of spending $5.6 million for a 30-second TV commercial, we appreciate their investment for our own reasons.

Which were the best spots?

That’s the question asked and answered in the general media the day after the Super Bowl. We marketers have more important questions: Which demographic identified certain commercials as best? Why do they classify them as “the best”? Which had the most impact, and which were a waste of almost $6 million? What can we learn?

This year, there were plenty of spots that scored, and several that failed…Let’s look at a few.

A big stage like the Super Bowl is great for introducing a new product. Done right, it can be a home run. This year’s commercial for Cheetos Popcorn knocked it out of the park.

The Cheetos spot had a good balance of entertainment, humor and differentiation. The orange “Cheetos dust” left on your fingers could be a liability, but Cheetos turned it into an advantage. As we hear M.C. Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This,” we see the consumer get out of paperwork, helping a friend move and even avoid holding the baby.

The spot is memorable and communicates a benefit.

On the flip side, the spot for Quibi, a new mobile streaming service that runs short-form entertainment, was meant to introduce and explain this unique service.

The spot featured a bank robbery scenario that had zero connection to the service. I polled two dozen people who saw the spot, and no one could identify what Quibi does or is.

Another potential bust was the 60-second Rocket Mortgage spot, featuring the massively muscular Jason Momoa, star of Aquaman.

The spot went from humorous to weird as special effects were used to help Momoa get “comfortable” at home. He peels off parts of his young muscular body and long hair, revealing an older, skinny, bald dude.

It certainly was a memorable spot, but I doubt anyone will remember Rocket Mortgage.

The Budweiser Typical American spot easily scored the highest with me for overall positive and long-lasting emotional impact.

Unlike the divisive Nike-Kaepernick commercial of a few years ago, this spot was unifying and inspirational — and it reinforced Budweiser’s long-standing This Bud’s For You theme.

I believe I qualify as a typical American, and by the end of that spot I was convinced this Bud was for me.

About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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