Super Bowl

Underrated Super Bowl Ads: McCann's Eric Silver Shares His Favorites

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Not every Super Bowl ad reaches "1984" status, but there are some whose ideas have endured over the years without that kind of legendary acclaim. From now until the Super Bowl, we will be asking some of industry's creative leaders and big game vets to share their thoughts on their picks for most underrated
Super Bowl ads.

Eric Silver, North American chief creative officer, McCann
Eric Silver, North American chief creative officer, McCann Credit: McCann

For the kickoff, McCann North American Chief Creative Officer Eric Silver, whose own Super Bowl spots have included the hilarious's "Double Take" and Fedex's "Stick," pays homage to the "other" Apple, a talking stain and more.

Stay tuned for more unsung faves from top industry talents, and check out our Super Bowl archive for more great oldies.

Apple "Lemmings"

"1984" gets top billing as one of the greatest commercials of all time; this follow-up is often referred to as a total disaster. I wonder how many people are even aware of this spot, which literally, and metaphorically, went over the cliff. Dozens of creatives have taken credit for "1984." I've never heard anyone taking credit for "Lemmings." It's still pretty damn brave, though, especially for the mid-'80s.

Google "Parisian Love"

I'm sure this successful commercial pissed off tons and tons of marketing "pros" who spent four or five million making their precious Super Bowl entries. Turns out this spot was conceived by a few students recruited from ad and design schools. Further proof that the cardinal rule of advertising always holds true: simple wins the day.

Tide "Talking Stain"

This one is absolutely incredible for two reasons: obviously it was a low budget win, and it came from, gasp, P&G. At the time, P&G was still a very conservative company and extremely risk-averse. Saatchi delivered this Tide commercial at the start of 2008, around the same time Wieden kicked into gear on Old Spice. I don't know who the CMO at P&G was during that time, but a huge hats off to them for initiating these marketing gambles, and upending what used to be the most boring advertising on the planet. "Listen"

Maybe it's easier for organizations to stand out with a serious message against the predictable wall-to-wall comedic shtick of the Super Bowl, but this one was truly remarkable. More than any other Super Bowl commercial I can think of, this one got people to stop, freezeā€¦ and think. What a coup for Super Bowl marketing.

I don't buy the tie-in with the NFL combating domestic violence. I don't believe Roger Goodell truly cares about this issue, and his enforcement policies are inconsistent at best. Nonetheless, I believe the airing of this commercial stirred up a critically important and overdue discussion, in front of an enormous audience.

Jeep "Snow Covered"

This commercial was not underrated 20 years ago. I believe it garnered lots of kudos and ran for many years, but it's been forgotten over time and almost never appears on any "Best of Super Bowl Lists" -- yet it should. This took great courage to put on the Super Bowl; it did not employ the typical pedestrian over-the-top humor we are used to, and not once did it feature the product. What it did accomplish, though, was to brilliantly convey Jeep's legendary rugged ethos and end benefit.

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