Farris Rates the $5 Million Commercials

By George F. Farris, CEO Farris Marketing

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – What makes a great Super Bowl ad? If you ask most people what their favorite spot was,they’ll usually describe one that was most entertaining to them. And entertaining spots have value because often they are most talked about and therefore, the most remembered.

One of the most successful and talked ads ever was the Budweiser Frogs spot that appeared during Super Bowl XXIX in 1995. It featured three lifelike puppet frogs that croak randomly and then begin croaking “Bud” ”weis” “er” in sequence over and over. That’s it. Three frogs repeating a brand name.

But entertainment is only one factor for success. With viewership of the Super Bowl now hitting over 100 million and the cost per 30-second spot is now $5 million, advertisers need to produce effective, not just entertaining, spots.

So to determine the best and worst Super Bowl ads I used the same three keys that I use in my company’s tagline at Farris Marketing. I tried to determine which of the 55- to 60 spots did the best job of: A. Standing out, B. Connecting with the target market and C. Igniting the audience and moving them to act.

So here are my picks for each and I’ve enclosed YouTube links for you to check them out as well.

The Five Best

No. 1: Mountain Dew Kickstart, “Puppymonkeybaby”

mountain dew kickstart PUPPYBABYMONKEY

Mountain Dew presents its unique definition of three awesome things combined in Kickstart (Mountain Dew, Juice and Caffeine) and call it a “puppymonkeybaby.” It’s a creature with the legs of a baby, the tail of a monkey and the head of a puppy that marches in with a bucket of Mountain Dew Kickstart and dances. The target market (young males) probably ran out and bought some at halftime.

No. 2: PayPal ,”Theres a New Money In Town”

PAYPAL NEW MONEY

Paypal wants to become the currency of the younger generation. The company makes a solid case with logical reasons, of course. But to reach their market, and increase market share, they knew they had to connect with their market on an emotional level. 

No. 3: Amazon Echo, “Baldwin Bowl Party”

Amazon Echo

This is a great spot featuring actor Alec Baldwin throwing a lavish Super Bowl 50 party with Dan Marino and Missy Elliott. Not only is the spot entertaining, it uses the brand name repeatedly and even better, demonstrates how the product works. Excellent marketing.

No. 4: Axe “Find Your Magic”

AXE MAGIC

Axe grooming products uses its 30-second Super Bowl 50 commercial to celebrate individuality and flaunt it. You’ve got your thing, Axe says — work it. Think about what Axe is saying — in essence, EVERYONE is unique — so everyone should use Axe. That is great. Maybe even genius.

No. 5: Esurance “Pass It on Sweepstakes”

esurance pass it on

This was a great marketing effort combining a clever spot and social media. The advertiser, Esurance, created the Pass It On Sweepstakes and is gave away more than $1 million to people who retweet messages from its official Twitter handle throughout Super Bowl 50. Winners were selected in real time during each quarter of the Big Game.

What a terrific way to get the most name recognition and build followers. Esurance knows you may not need insurance today but you might need it tomorrow, so they are making sure you know their name and stay in touch.

The 5 Worst

No. 1: Buick Cascada featuring Odell Beckham Jr.

BUICK CASCADA


Buick makes its Super Bow debut with a 30-second spot featuring the Cascada. The ad stars the New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and model/actress Emily Ratajkowski. Although popular in their realms, neither of these two are household names. The spot spends 24 of its 30 seconds describing a bouquet catch by a bridesmaid, repeatedly saying “She Odell’d it.” — meaning she made a great catch like Odell Beckham Jr.

No. 2: Apartments.com, “Moving Day”

Apartments

The theme of this spot is “Change Your Apartment, Change the World.” Jeff Goldblum returns singing his rendition of “Movin’ on Up” from the 1970s TV show The Jeffersons. When you get to the top of the high-rise folks are moving into, Weezy and George Washington (yes George Washington) are grilling burgers and beans which, apparently, according to the song, don’t burn on the grill.

No. 3: Snickers “Marilyn” featuring Willem Dafoe

SNICKERS
Last year, Snickers had an award-winning spot that spoofed The Brady Bunch featuring Danny Trejo. This year they try to spoof Marilyn Monroe’s iconic white dress scene from “The Seven Year Itch.” She’s Willem Dafoe until she eats her Snickers. This looks pathetic and forced.

No. 4: LG “Man from the Future”

LG

This spot was created to unveil the new LG OLED TV. It’s a wild production feature actor Liam Neeson who foretells a revolution and brings a mysterious new technology from the future. The only problem is most people cant figure out what it is advertising. How can they be moved to go buy anything when they can’t figure out what it is?

No. 5: SoFi “Great Loans for Great People”

SOFI

What does it mean to be great? Apparently this loan company is the judge. SoFi loan company tells us that some people are great and some people not. And guess what? They give loans to those who are great. Hey I guess the rest of us are screwed. I’m sorry but this is just a dumb, dumb approach.

Local Advertisers in Super Bowl 50

Local advertisers were in the game as well this year. None seem to have any different or mold-breaking spots except Boak & Sons. Owner Sam Boak used his expensive ad buy to do something very noble and admirable — he honored and thanked veterans. Great job, Sam.

I have to admit it was more difficult picking out the worst spots than the best spots this year. And there were plenty of very good TV spots this year.

But really, was there any unforgettable, incredible game changing spots this year? Were there any Budweiser frogs? The truth is, that overall, the Super Bowl spots this year were OK, but nothing worth croaking about.

Editor’s Note: George Farris is CEO of Farris Marketing. Email [email protected] or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.