Last night was the 2nd Super Bowl I have experienced while living in America. First time round I thought it was just some sport my husband was going to watch, thus giving me a chance to read a book. This time I knew there was much more to this thing; Top Gun style fly-bys, raw human emotion, music and lots and lots of adverts. These are not just any adverts either, these are really special ones that really matter in the way that others do not.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I had a grand old time watching the Super Bowl last night. I cried as Gladys Knight sang The Star Spangled Banner. My husband and daughter looked at my tear stained face curiously as I called out their hearts of stone. The planes flew over head, there was a Martin Luther King montage, followed by one of his actual descendants tossing the coin! Then, among the sport bits were regular, and I mean regular, mini entertainment sketches, selling things yes, but through the medium of titillation.
I decided to make it fun by watching all these ads and seeing what I remembered the most on the next commercially viable day. What did I recall? What brands were now in my psyche? What worked on me?
And here it is, the stuff without prompting that I recall in good or less good ways:
IN GOOD WAYS:
1. GOOGLE – the one about translation
Lip wobble alert. This ad was a series of vignettes of human life with a voice over that basically said, whilst there is bad in the world, the most frequently requested translations on Google were “how are you”, “I love you” and “thank you”. That people, fundamentally were good. I’m not sure it will change my relationship with Google, but in the brand world of affiliation, recall, engagement and brand perception, it is all good here.
2. WALMART – Famous cars picking up their internet orders
Sheer nostalgia, this ad had KIT from Knight Rider, OK, you have my attention. Then followed all kinds of famous vehicles, The Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, the van from Dumb and Dumber, the Back to the Future DeLorean – LOADS! It was jolly good fun. And yes, now I am in no doubt that Walmart provide this service.
3. Coca Cola: A Coke is a Coke
This for me was just an obvious message that never can be repeated enough. It was arty animation and unless it was by someone incredibly famous and important, it appeared to have come from a pretty low production budget. The message was that Coke is consumed by so many different people with different views: Together is beautiful. I have found being British in America requires a big element of sitting back, listening and peeling away layers to understand why some people believe certain things and have certain views. A bit like the Google ad, just a reminder that under all the Trump/Brexit divisiveness we’re all just humans… drinking sugary, fizzy pop.
4. Bubly (buh-blee) or Buble (boo-blay)
OK, there was tutting going on in our sitting room as this one was on (men and Buble eh?). But hey, it made me laugh, people confusing the pronunciation of the 2 names. I was barely conscious of the drink before, it’s on my radar now. Will I buy it? I think I probably will, there’s certainly a much greater chance of it now. It made me laugh and repeated the brand name about 4000 times. Done and done.
5. Verizon – First Responders
Waaaaa! (Jackie weeping). A man that nearly died in an accident is faced with the very emergency service personnel that saved his life. The pride, the gratitude, the emotion, my bottom lip went. I already use Verizon, I wasn’t very loyal before as I can never get through to a human to help from their helplines, but now I feel better about all of that – silly misunderstanding right? (I’m such a sucker for human emotion).
6. KIA: #Greatunknowns
Now, for some reason I saw something from Kia the day before the actual event that was different to the one shown in the game. It was an interesting premise. Basically an emotive kid’s voice suggesting that the fee’s paid to big ad stars should/could be re-directed to people that matter. HANG ON! Penny just dropped… so the ad shown in the game was an ad made by people of the town where KIA’s are made. Clever! I like my Ford car, I’ll probably stick with Ford because it sort of fits me, but respect to KIA.
7. Microsoft Adaptive Controller: When everybody plays we all win
This showed some amazing kids with all kinds of disabilities being able to play electronic games at the level of skill they are able. It was such a happy, lovely concept. There’s a bit where the Dad nearly cries saying “he’s not different when he plays” (I am crying now). The kids though, so strong, so happy. I’m no gamer but I’m glad this ad exists and this is the brand I want my kids to ask for.
8. Colgate: Luke Wilson’s Whole Mouth
Insightful premise. I personally just hate having to breathe near people, its verging on phobic and nothing will ever give me confidence in my whole mouth, but the ad was funny. More pivotally for me though, as an obsessive watcher of brand behaviour, was the departure for Colgate. The move from the talking head dentistry and scientific diagrams. It was one of those… “Ooooh Colgate, you’ve changed” moments.
Not necessarily bad, but not necessarily good recall:
1. Mint Mobile/ Milk with chunks.
I can’t unsee this one. There was a man in this ad watching an ad – for milk with big lumps in it (like gone-off milk – euwwww). I don’t know how I feel about any of it, but I remember it queasily today.
2. Bud Light and Corn Syrup
OK, this was filmic and *I think” was related to Game of Thrones which I have never watched but acknowledge it’s magnitude. It mainly just reminded me of Monty Python which still ain’t no bad thing. What did confuse me was the message about corn syrup. I didn’t know any beer had it. I had to ask if corn syrup was a good or bad thing in beer terms. I’m still not sure, assuming bad because they spent millions telling me they don’t use it. But I just don’t care really. I don’t drink beer for healthy reasons – it’s got alcohol in it and a lot of calories (yum!). Net: I actually had to double check if the ad last night was Coors or Bud and which one has it?!
3. Stella Artois: Carrie and that hairy bloke ordering different drinks
Gah, I’ve never seen The Big Lebowski. I’ve definitely seen ALOT of SATC. I wonder if it was designed this way to capture the widest audience possible with 2 diverse things? It was a classy ad, no question. Will I drink Stella now? Yeah, maybe, but only one at a time, it gives me “the rage”.
And that’s what I remember unprompted, about last night’s Super Bowl. This, and that the lead singer of Maroon 5 has got a lot of Tatts. I confess, and this is bad, I’m not even sure who won the game (blushes). I just assume it was the Patriots because someone said they always win anyway.
Merci, Danke, Obrigada, Grazie, Abrigato, Gracias, Khop Khun Mak Kha. (see what I did there. Thanks Google).