Marketers Source More Super Bowl Ads From Agencies Outside U.S.

Football May Be All-American, But International Shops Are Increasingly Making Big-Game Commercials

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Both veteran Super Bowl marketers and first-time advertisers in the game are increasingly turning to ad agencies outside the U.S. to craft their commercials.

Four major marketers in 2013 ran Super Bowl spots created in London or Buenos Aires, suggesting they may find international work more attention-grabbing or provocative. Last year, no advertisers went outside the U.S. for the creative work that aired during the Super Bowl.

Coca-Cola Co. tapped a popular spot from Argentina called "Security Camera" that ran mostly online last year in Latin America under the name "Camaritas" and racked up creative awards at Latin ad shows as well as airing during the Olympic Games.

The spot, done by Martin Mercado, Y&R Argentina's creative director, and production company Landia, captures random acts of kindness and bravery on genuine footage taken by security cameras around the world.

"This is a great creative piece that exemplifies Coca-Cola's core values and what makes the brand so special," said a Coke spokeswoman, noting that the work "made a splash" at the London Olympics last July. "It is a top performing ad that resonates very well across a broad audience."

Unlike spots that are often created for the Super Bowl, Coke already knew it had a crowd pleaser with "Security Camera."

Guido Rosales, who nurtures innovative creative work as Coke's Latin America advertising strategy and integrated marketing communications director, noted in a post on a Coca-Cola blog "We posted the spot on YouTube, and introduced it to our Fan First program, distributing it across our Coke fans on Facebook in Latin America. It was only available online, and not supported by a media or advertising buy. And it just took off. Within weeks, it had racked up more than six million views from every corner of the world."

"Security Camera" is a big change from Coca-Cola's entry in last year's Super Bowl, three spots by Wieden & Kennedy Portland, each featuring Coke's infamous polar bears watching the football game. This year, a Wieden spot called "Mirage" that urged viewers to go to and vote for one of three teams racing across a desert won three stars in Ad Age's review of this year's Super Bowl spots, compared to top marks of four stars for "Security Camera."

In other offerings from overseas, a spot by BBH London for Unilever's Axe body spray for men called "Lifeguard" garnered three-and-a-half stars from Ad Age. BBH's London office has a long tradition of creating popular international Axe spots that run around the world, so the U.K. agency wasn't a surprising choice to create Axe's first-ever Super Bowl spot.

The other two ads created in London didn't fare as well. BlackBerry's first Super Bowl ad introduced the BlackBerry Z10. BBDO said the spot was done by its London office, AMV BBDO, because AMV is the global lead agency for BlackBerry and the account is run from London, where the new Z10 is already on sale.

BlackBerry's "My new BlackBerry" spot scored a meager 1.5 stars in Ad Age's review, and the other spot created in London, Beck's Sapphire "Serenade" with a singing goldfish by Mother London, was the only of 41 ads reviewed to score a single star.

See all the spots here.

This year's trend toward sourcing more Super Bowl creative from agencies outside the U.S. may have more staying power than one trend from last year: creating Super Bowl ads inhouse. That was done by five marketers last year (not counting Doritos' annual crowdsourced spot): History Channel, H&M, GoDaddy, Teleflora and Careerbuilder. This year, only one of the 41 Super Bowl spots was done inhouse, Wonderful Pistachios' ad with Gangnam Style's Psy.

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