Could this be the year that advertiser's finally gave up? Forget #brandbowl. This was the year of #blandbowl.
Last night I was live tweeting as part of Wharton's Future of Advertising program and so actually so most - if not all of the ads - versus actually socializing with human beings and even enjoying the game.
It gave me the opportunity to utter WTF about 20 times.
I believe there were about 54 to 70 spots depending on different accounts (which may include halftime show or perhaps pre-game), but that seems like a LOT of clutter.
In addition, according to @AlanKercinik - who was keeping me updated on - auto made up about 31% of ALL creative spots. Seriously guys, how are you not all hopping mad that you all just canceled each other out and pretty much zeroed out any ability to differentiate.
Flashy Flashy Flashy. Fast Fast Fast. Bright Bright Bright. Hashtag. Dogs. Hot Chicks. Dogs. 4 Wheels. Hashtag. Overproduced Hyperbole. Hashtag. Fast. Fast. Fast. Brand in question: ?????????
In general, I couldn't believe how over the top and overproduced some of the spots were, to the point where they went completely over the heads of people watching.
Reminder: Most people are inebriated and/or watching with groups of people making lots of noise with the sound of the TV either being drowned out by the noise or turned down.
Reminder: Copy. Text. Spoken Word don't work. Keep it Simple. Stupid which is why Coke's Polar Bears works. It's safe and predictable, but people get it.
To me, I think advertising in the Super Bowl has become a giant ego trip for most advertisers (like the tax prep software one that no one will remember tomorrow) and it's all about the announcement itself, rather than the execution. Look at me...I'm a playa!!!! Yawn.
It should be so simple i.e. focus all your efforts on hitting the fast ball zipping straight down Broadway for a game winning home run...made all the easier if an existing platform/equity can be leveraged (e.g. Polar Bears) but instead it becomes a completely insider and incestuous attempt to outdo one another in terms of lavish production.
...but this post was really meant to be about innovation (or the lack thereof) from the Big Game. Starting with basic new media best practices and integration like making sure your freaking website doesn't crash (Coke, Acura) or how about the complete neglect of your digital storefront; your home i.e. your website.
From what I heard only Bud Light did some kind of intelligent drive to digital via it's Facebook integration to get people to donate money to Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), although I completely missed it during the spot. People were saying, "why did they use such an ugly dog?"
All in all, with over 50 spots, only 2 companies did anything that could be called "innovative". Let me be clear...I take my hat off to both companies for their efforts and I wag my (M.I.A. middle finger) at all the others for zzzzzzzz....boring, bland, safe and mediocre creative. That said, I'll also offer a little commentary on what worked/could have worked better.
The first was Coke's Polar Bowl, which apparently had two Andy Serkis characters covered in bulbs reacting live to the game itself and broadcasting themselves as two Polar Bears supporting the Pats and Giants respectively. Ordinarily that would be awesome to follow this live streaming, except for:
- The scarf colors were ambiguous given both teams sort of wear the same colors
- The site went down
- It didn't work on iPad or iPhone, which imho, is how many people would be watching TV these days and especially at a party. I'm sure someone at Coke or their agencies will explain this to me...and I assume it would have worked on Android, but either way, I think it was a missed opportunity
Next time, take into account how people typically watch TV in a multichannel multiscreen environment.
The second was the Shazam Bud Light integration during the Half Time show with Madonna. The idea was that you'd Shazam the new song by Madonna and then get to download the LMFAO remix. The challenges here were as follows:
- Shazam had to work over the noise of the party (it did)
- There were several steps that had to be followed e.g. verifying age, e-mail address and filling out marketing opt-in boxes (it is what it is)
- The disappointment of not being one of the first million as what happened to me...
Overall, the big winners here were Shazam and LMFAO/Madonna...both getting ridiculous downloads of app and track respectively. I feel Bud Light scored 1,000,000 kudos but fell short on anything from 1 disappointed customer (me) to countless many more millions of potential new customers and/or exisiting loyalists.
Next time don't use a cap and set a record for music downloads!!!
And that's about it from the Super Bowl that really was a Super Bust when it comes to creativity, originality and innovation.
See you next February. Go Giants!!!