Judging the Super Bowl

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Bart Cleveland Bart Cleveland
The Super Bowl has turned into a national holiday. It's no longer about a football game; it's a full day of celebrating, being entertained and sharing the moment with others. So everyone is anxiously waiting for the commercials, the halftime show and the ballgame. The next day more people will talk about the spots than the game. There will be a great deal of discussion about what was great and what was lame. Then, within a week or so, most of it will be forgotten. But a few gems of our craft will be remembered. Maybe one of the spots will even become the stuff of legend. It's the best time of the year to be in advertising because people use their TiVo to actually watch commercials.

Seven years ago we developed an online poll of the best Super Bowl spots and called it ADBOWL. It was designed to give everyday people a place to rate the commercials and gives us a chance to reward great advertising by announcing the favorite Super Bowl spot. ADBOWL gives a rating range between a fumble and a touchdown. It's just for fun, but it's ironic how accurate the poll can be when it comes to how our industry judges which spots were the best. The winners of past years have generally been the same ones that our industry has judged among the most creative.

But ads for the Super Bowl are striving to do something I've always said every ad should do -- entertain. A Super Bowl ad must be entertaining if it doesn't want to get panned by everyone the next day. People are watching the ads as part of the Super Bowl and advertisers have embraced their role. Imagine advertising if we did every idea as if it was going to be seen during the Super Bowl. Obviously there would be a lot more great work going on in our business.

So enjoy the game and the commercials. Take notes. I'd love to hear what your favorite spots were and why. It'll be interesting to see how our industry point-of-view matches up with everyday people who vote on ADBOWL.
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