, "The Perfect Getaway"
David & Goliath
Kia brings a little dose of reality to its Super Bowl
advertising, which usually features aliens or hamsters or weird
fantasies involving UFC fighter Chuck Liddell. But it does so while
managing to be interesting and funny, playing with action-adventure
tropes, as well as car-commercial tropes. Pierce Brosnan, formerly
of the James Bond franchise, imagines a getaway featuring high
speeds, missile launchers and explosions, when in reality it's a
slow ride up a steep mountain in the rugged but safe Kia
Toyota, "How Great I Am"
Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles
With Muhammad Ali's "How Great I Am" speech serving as a
voice-over, Paralympic medalist and "Dancing With the Stars"
finalist Amy Purdy running and driving and snow-boarding and
driving and falling and driving and dancing and driving and
modeling and driving and looking fabulous and fierce and beautiful
and driving … the bold new Toyota Camry. Not quite sure what
one has to do with the other. Sure, slapping that new grill on the
front of the Camry makes it look a little more aggressive, but
that's in a completely different universe from what Amy Purdy does.
But, hey, Toyota at least recognizes this is a Super Bowl ad. You
can't be boring in the Super Bowl and this ad isn't boring. It aims
for inspirational and hits that mark, while speaking to athletes,
fans of sport, and fans of comeback stories of both genders.
Toyota, "My Bold Dad"
Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles
Another one from Toyota that has very little to do with the
product being sold. But, like its other ad, it shows that Toyota
knows it audience. Got a room full of slightly inebriated men
bonding over sports, throw down a full house of Go Dad and Team
America -- from a daddy's little girl's point of view no less. BAM!
Waterworks. Japanese-owned car company with an agency on the Left
Coast just called your bet, Chrysler, and raised you a hundred.
Merkley & Partners
Once upon a time, this ad from Mercedes might have been seen as
a groundbreaking bit of animation. And it is beautiful to
look at. But in a post-Pixar world, it's almost commonplace. The
story is cute, but predictable; calling the turtle -- sorry,
tortoise -- happening upon a car factory a "plot twist" is a bit of
wishful thinking. It's the Super Bowl, it was either going to be a
car ad or a shoe ad, right? That "Who's your turtle?" at the end is
something only a six-year-old would find funny. And six-year-olds,
for all their charms, are not the target demo for a car that costs
well north of $100,000. (It also looked for a second toward the end
that the hare was going to be turned into
Jeep, "Beautiful Lands"
Not all of the Chrysler brands found their sense of humor. Jeep
is still exhibiting full-on Chryslertis, symptoms of which include
long ads laced with moving imagery and inspirational words or
music, sometimes involving patriotism. This ad starts out seemingly
in full on Team America mode, with "This Land Is Your Land" as the
soundtrack. But at the halfway mark, we start seeing international
scenes cut into the American's highlands, etc. Ultimately we're
encouraged to be good global citizens, sort of like the Jeep
Renegade, which is an SUV, but it's America's smallest and lightest
SUV. It seems an ad perfectly built for millennials and boomers who
wish they were millennials -- and one easy to edit for an
Skittles, "Settle It"
As weird as it is, this ad is almost normal compared to
Skittles' typical advertising. No Skittles beards or Skittles teeth
or Skittles-pox or Skittles clouds. Just an Old West town of
dominant-armed freaks -- young, old, male, female, canine -- who
settle their Skittles beefs the old-fashioned way: with
arm-wrasslin' contests. It's eye-catching, hits the right notes for
the target demographic and speaks to a universal truth (Skittles
eaters do have favorite colors). But for such a strong start, it
finishes a little flat.
Bud Light, "Real Life PacMan"
The "Up for Anything" campaign, in which Bud Light finds some
schmoe and plops him into an unexpected scenario, is getting a
little tired. One of the problems is that the non-actors they pick
for these things never really get over that whole
deer-caught-in-the-headlights look. The Tampa Bay fan who has his
home and yard redecorated looks less like he's having a good time
and more like he's worried his wife is going to have a fit when she
sees what they did to the place (as she should). Or maybe he just
looks like that because he's a Tampa Bay fan.
For this entry, however, Bud Light seems to have found someone
who can emote and put him in a situation that doesn't look
ridiculously stage, perhaps because it was really, really staged,
what with the life-size Pac Man board, the DJs and the ghosts that
look like they've been added to the action after the fact.
But Pac Man? Either Gen-X is the target or we're finally taking
creative control of big-budget ad campaigns. (Or Super Mario Bros.
was too hard to pull off in real life.)
Wieden & Kennedy, New York
Will the sight and sound of Jeff Bridges chanting beside a
sleeping couple's bed be intriguing enough to get people to rush to
DreamingWithJeff.com to figure out just what in Sam Hill is going
on? ("What in Sam Hill" is totally something a Jeff Bridges
character would say.) I'm not convinced. What this ad is supposed
to do is drive you to the website and learn that Squarespace makes
it easy to build a website, even if you're Jeff Bridges, possibly
high out of your mind and possessed by a batshit insane idea --
sorry, a crazy dream -- for a business. This business? Sleeping
Tapes, tracks of sounds and things, including Jeff Bridges just
talking, meant to help you sleep at night. Though if you can sleep
through the Ikea track, you might be less "The Dude" and more the
inspiration for an upcoming "Law & Order " episode. I still
haven't figured out if this is a joke or not. People can pay what
they want for digital tracks, $20 for a cassette and $250 for a
gold album and all money will go to No Kid Hungry. It's a
fascinating project and it definitely shows off the ease and
flexibility of Squarespace, but, again, will anyone hop from the
Super Bowl ad to the site?
Discover, "No Surprises"
This is part of an ongoing campaign in which Discover pairs
remarkably similar customers and customer-service operators to
advertise that Discover It card users get their FICO credit scores
on their monthly statements and online for free. This ad will look
remarkably familiar to those who've noticed the campaign because it
uses a customer-operator pair from a previous spot and the same
general premise. This customer hates surprises. In the old
commercial, he opens the door and is scared by a surprise party. In
this Super Bowl spot, he is surprised by a goat. The goat screams.
The customer screams. The operator screams. Because if there's one
thing funnier than a screaming goat, it's a screaming man. And two
screaming men is even better. Look at it this way, after
advertising something as unfunny as credit scores, Discover manages
to leave them laughing.
That's right. I found this comedic bit featuring two A-List
actors less funny than screaming goats. The premise was ripe with
promise. Mindy Kaling think she's invisible. Antic will ensue.
There was a "teaser" campaign to excite America. But what America
got during the game was the exact same ad with 15 seconds of Matt
Damon thrown in. Turns out Matt can see Mindy. She's not invisible,
but you can sometimes feel that way when dealing with certain other
insurance companies. Overall, it's a perfectly fine Super Bowl ad.
But we expected so much more.