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The 2013 Super Bowl Ads

Worst Year Ever?


Super Bowl 2013
Image via Getty Images

There is a certain expectation that comes with any Super Bowl ad. For one, it should be something memorable. That's a given. It should be larger than life, it should have every single bell and whistle, and it should make you laugh hysterically, cry, or bowl you over with it's incredibleness.

I have to say, after watching the offerings presented during Super Bowl XLVII, I was more than a little underwhelmed. To be honest, I'm having a hard time recalling any of the spots as I write this, and there is usually at least one ad that leaps to mind.

This all comes back to a fundamental problem.

The Problem With Super Bowl Advertising

The problem? It really is a list of problems, but let's start with the humdinger. What is the main job of advertising? This is something we have mentioned often in the Advertising Guide, and as repetition is a great way to hammer home a message, it will continue to be repeated.

The main job, the ultimate goal, is to get noticed. That's what advertising has to do, above anything else.

Now, usually that involves doing some wild and crazy things to break through the clutter and get noticed. But in the case of the Super Bowl, that doesn't apply.

Advertisers have a captive audience. People are waiting for the ads. They are watching every one, intently. They're going to the bathroom during the game itself, because the ads are supposed to be incredible. $2-$3 million mini-movies, designed to wow and amaze.

So, with the main goal of advertising gone, what is the next job? What should it do? Well, once you have their attention, you have to convince the prospect that they want the product or service. It's time to sell, and be damned good at it. And after that, you need to close the sale; the Action part of AIDA.

This is where Super Bowl ads fall to pieces. They go straight to entertaining people. They consume vast amounts of money and time in an effort to make people sit up and shout "yeah, that was great."

If they do a good job at that, hopefully people will remember which company the ad was for, and perhaps try or buy the product or service. Or, as is the case with a spot this big, at least do a fine job of underlining the many great virtues of the brand.

Sadly, most don't. And as they're not trying to sell anything either, we end up with lots of money beings spent on showcases for directors and ad agencies, but not a lot that sells much of anything. Shame.

However, I'm in the minority when it comes to getting rid of the extravagant Super Bowl ads once and for all, and always will be. People like the spectacle, and with such a captive audience, advertisers are lining up to spend millions getting in front of them.

This will never change.

For What It's Worth, The Good and the Bad Spots from Super Bowl XLVII

First, the good. Ish. Some of these were trying a little too hard, but overall I thought they had some merit. Nothing like the power of the Apple 1984 spot, but not bad.

VW - Get In. Get Happy.

People cried racist, but really it was just fun and feel good.

Mercedes Benz - Soul
Well produced, and product focused. I actually signed up for more information. Of course, it was that insane price tag that got me.

Budweiser - Brotherhood

Honestly, I don't get the horses thing. I guess it's tradition. And this was bordering on schmaltzy, but it was well executed.

And the bad. Most of them were really. But these were at the bottom of the bottom of the pile.

Calvin Klein - Concept

If anything showed how vacuous advertising has become, it was this stinker.

Go Daddy - Perfect Match

Once again, Go Daddy shows that taste and quality are two words they despise. And talk about a cliché concept.

Taco Bell - Viva Young

Really? What were you trying to say? It seems like the marketing team said "what about doing Cocoon, but on crack? And Taco Bell munchies? Yeah!" Awful.

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