Categories: LauraPositioning

Super Bowl Ads 2010

Best ads of the game

Google: Google transformed how we think about search and now
Google has transformed how we think about Super Bowl ads. Without any
celebrities, special effects or juvenile jokes, Google did what Google does
best. It showed us in a simple clear how Google had changed the world. The ad
is unlikely to win any creativity awards but unlike most ads I think it made a
powerful, lasting impact in the mind on consumers.

Doritos: Who needs a fancy award-winning agency when you can
hold a contest and get your ads for free? Doritos showed us again that there
are a lot of aspiring creatives out there with a lot of time on their hands and
a lot of ideas in their heads. For a cool, fun, spicy, youth-oriented brand the
strategy paid off big time. The dog with the bark collar was hilarious and had
a great brand payoff at the end.

Snickers: When you brand owns a strong, narrow idea in the
mind, it is a whole lot easier to make a great commercial. Snickers, the
number-one candy bar, is focused on adults. Having a cranky Betty White turn
into a young guy playing football was not only visually funny, but also packed
a mean branding punch too.

Budweiser: Overall, I was underwhelmed with Anheuser-Busch’s
ads this year. Usually Budweiser dominates the game and easily delivers among
the best in the bowl. While Budweiser didn’t have its best  year, average for Budweiser is still pretty
good. They own the Super Bowl and they are still the King of Beers. As usual, the
best ad used the Clydesdales, the iconic symbol of the brand. But the ad itself
wasn’t as great as the Clydesdale ads of past years. If they would stop line-extended
Bud Light (now in Lime and Wheat), then maybe they would have more time to work
on the ads.

Denny’s: The free-breakfast idea got people really excited
last year. So Denny’s repeated the giveaway. And people probably got even more
excited about the free breakfast this year. But on top of breakfast Denny’s
delivered some of the top ads of the game. Again when you have a narrow idea,
it is a lot easier to get good creative work. “It’s a good time to be an
American, but a bad time to be a chicken.” Who can forget that line?

Coca-Cola: When your award-winning competitor suddenly drops
the ball, it is wise to pick it up. Coca-Cola took full advantage of Pepsi dropping
out of the game and delivered with ads that showed us why it is the world’s
number one brand. I’m not crazy about the tagline, Open Happiness, but the
message was clear, Coke is the Real Thing. My favorite was the terrific Simpson’s
Hard Times ad which spoke to the mood of a nation and the thirst of the world.


Great ads, but no connection to the brands.

Boost Mobile: The Super Bowl Shuffle parody was wonderful!
Nothing works like using nostalgia to create a great ad.  But there was no connection to Boost Mobile.
Part of the problem of course is that nobody knows what a Boost Mobile is.

Dodge: Man’s last stand. The set-up was fabulous: still
images of men’s faces, the voiceover about all the miserable things they were
willing to do to be our man. The payoff was the problem. Man’s last stand is
driving a Dodge? Come on! You have got to be kidding. You can’t take Man’s last
stand with a Dodge. A Porsche would be much better. Or at the very least a Ford
F-series truck.

Audi: Love the Green Police ad I was singing right along
thinking how timely and appropriate to promote a green car. But wondering in
light of the recent news why Toyota would run an ad for Prius? I know Audi owners love
their cars. But Audi has a branding problem, it doesn’t own anything in the mind of the
consumer. And the last thing it will own is green.


Nice ads, but the brands are in trouble.

Volkswagen: Working with an idea already in the mind is
always good. Volkswagen brilliantly brought back the “Punch Buggy” kids game
where you get to punch someone every time you see a Volkswagen Beetle on the
road. The problem is that today Volkswagen has 13 different models on the road.
Kind of defeats the purpose of the game and the ad.

FLO TV: And people thought the iPad had a naming problem. With
a name like this, the first thing I think of is here comes the flow, get me a
pad! Live mobile television is an easy thing to sell. Missing the big game or
American Idol can be funny. The real question is other than these examples, who
really cares about live television anymore?


They tried

E*Trade: Consistency counts. E*Trade has been in the Super
Bowl for years with the same talking babies. The gag might not be as funny. But
right away you know the brand and you remember the message.

HomeAway: Unlike Ed Begley Jr. there are some celebrities that
it is fabulous to see again in a Super Bowl ad like Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo.
I loved the idea of a National Lampoon’s Vacation spoof. But the jokes weren’t funny
enough and the key idea not sold enough. Rent a house for half the price of a
hotel, that is a powerful idea. Too bad they didn’t hammer it harder.


Shouldn’t be in the game

CareerBuilder: The company has made a career out of Super
Bowl ads showing people working with horrible co-workers. Either they are a
bunch of chimps or they are naked. Not sure which is worse. The idea comes
across, your job sucks so it’s time to get a new one. There are two problems.
First of all in this economy many people would happily take a job even if it
meant having to wear underwear on Fridays. The second problem is the fact that
CareerBuilder is not the leader. When all your ad does is sell the category you
are essentially benefiting the leader. Even worse the category leader
(Monster.com) was also advertising on the Super Bowl and delivered with a
hilarious Beaver ad.

U.S. Census Bureau: Ed Begley Jr. is in charge taking a
snapshot of 300 million people for the U.S. Census. This is a clear sign that
government has drifted to the far left and has no idea whom to call to get
something done.

Laura Ries :

View Comments (13)

  • What's up with your neo conservative commentary polluting your image as a brand consultant. I presume you need money and FOX is the only network that will have you regularly. Have you signed a deal to push conservative talking points on your blog in exchange for appearances on FOX? There's been an obvious change in your work product (the change was clear when you posted that totally random bashing of health care, which had NOTHING to do with the information and insight people come here to read about.)
    Just wondering.
    I think if you were giving yourself objective advice about this blog, you would say -- keep your personal politics out of it. You have and will seriously jeopardized your brand. People like me - who see an extremely obvious up tick in your random neoconservative talking points appearing in branding discussions as your appearances on FOX increase, might think that if you can be bought by FOX, you can be bought by anyone else that thinks they can gain brand traction through positive reviews of their marketing campaigns by blogs like this one.
    I recommend you start a new neo conservative blog and cover your politics, or whomever's politics, there.
    I want may old, objective, all about branding Reese back. She wasn't a sell out. She had what every brand needs -- authenticity. If you believe what you say, super. Just don't confuse the brand you've built through this blog with these obviously neoconservative talking points brand you are building on FOX. You are breaking your own rules in doing so. Stick to branding advice. Drop your politics from this blog.
    One day, you might look back and wish you had protected your core brand from the direction you seem to be dragging it.

  • Thanks Joshua. I do appreciate the comment. The Ed Begley joke was a little snippy. But come on, the Census advertising during the Super Bowl, it was so silly and Ed Begley just wasn't the right spokesperson.
    I will admit the Obama Care post was off topic from what a usually cover. But some of the policies of Obama demonstrate how when a brand tries to do too much all at once it can get itself in trouble. If I were advising Obama I would have picked an easier battle to focus first. One that would be easier to win.
    You also should remember I was and will always be very much in favor of Brand Obama. I loved how Gibbs wrote on his hand "Hope, Change." Wonderful. How many brands can put two words on a hand that represets everything about the brand.
    Obama is such a wonderful example of a brand that focused on a word in the mind.
    Sure, I have been on Fox quite a few times, but I also appear on CNBC, CNN, HLN and others. I don't get paid by anybody.
    That said, you are also right. I will stick to my focus, BRANDING. There are plenty of pundits to debate politics.

  • Joshua-I believe your opinion to be in the minority. Do you even know what a neo conservative is? Calling Laura a sellout is a spiteful remark and unnecessary. Her last name is Ries not Reese, which makes me wonder how often (if at all) you visit her blog.
    Laura blogs about recent news and VERY occasionally politics, which sometimes trumps other news. Case in point, the '08 election.
    Do you rip Jack Trout for spouting off on President Bush and working with Nancy Pelosi? I doubt it.
    And you should let other people speak for themselves. I think it is pretentious of you to think that you understand why "people" visit the blog.
    Brand Ries and Fox News are doing just fine without you. And I think the insight gained from Laura's political analysis can be easily transferred to any product/service regardless of your party affiliation. Laura is on Fox News because people watch Fox, unlike the other networks.
    Keep up the occasional political post as they offer insight in personal/individual branding.

  • The problem is that today Volkswagen has 13 different models on the road. Kind of defeats the purpose of the game and the ad.

  • Laura, this guy must have touched a nerve for you to defend yourself with a response. You're beginning to reveal a side of timidness. You said you wouldn't get too personal, but you're allowing personal attacks to effect your conscious.
    Stay focused. Dignifying yourself to negative feedback will make you step down to the other person level. When the audience throws eggs and tomatoes, just keep marching on. Don't allow criticism win the battle of your the mind.
    You're an expert. Act like one and swallow your pride. I was somewhat disappointed that you being a colleague and mentor- allowed yourself to be webbed in by such propaganda rhetoric.
    Don't apologize. Everybody is not seeking you out for a witch hunt to burn you at the stake. State your position. If you show people that you made clouded judgmental errors in your , you will look like an idiot who doesn't know what she's talking about. You do this in some of your guest appearences on news programs as well, where you say, "you're right", making yourself look passive. Sometimes you sound indescive and won't stand up for what you believe.
    Remember you can't be everything to everybody. You must stand for something or you will FALL for anything, as you fell for the negative feedback trap. A brand must stand for something, even if you lose customers to the competitors. Your damage is done with Obama health care post. Hone up to it like a warrior, hold your head up high and be accountable.
    Everybody will not like every post. Even if you try to play the moderate, people will judge you. Tough cookies! You don't need some hurt emotional crying fan to whine to you about, "why don't you return to the old has been."
    You're maturing like a beautiful butterfly. Time to shed the ancient fans, and speak to a new generation of followers. Blossom into your gift and explore your talents. You are an expert. Speak the truth, even if it gets you crucified. You will be a legend. You are a champion.
    "Survival of the fittest"

  • I just read your book "22 immutable laws of *branding*". Now I was wondering if you were capitalizing on the power of the brand "22 immutable laws of *marketing*" and line extending it into branding?
    Anyway I enjoyed both books.