Ads for Ads: The 2017 Super Bowl

February 6, 2017 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai, Content Editor

Unless you’re new, it’s no surprise that every Super Bowl aims to hit the extremes of many different aspects.

The food:

Come on – this is a legitimate stadium replica made from rice crispies, chips and DIP!

The ad spending:

Five million (or more) for a thirty-second spot.

Pocket change.

This year’s Super Bowl may have been just last night and not within our typical Battle for Time weekly range, but what kind of marketing agency would we be if we didn’t work under the commandment of timeliness?

These are the spots that captured our minutes this week:

1. 84 Lumber – The Entire Journey ­– with Brunner

This is one emotional ride.

Whether or not you want to look at it for its political undertones, this ad has depth, a poignant narrative and a timely message.

Just when everyone is settling down to have yet another hot dog, they get struck by this spot. A spot that speaks to the brand’s bigger belief in never letting go of the will to succeed. A spot that shows 84 Lumber is about so much more than just lumber.

This ad was so good, it was actually deemed too controversial to air in its entirety and thus had an edited version with a plug to finish the journey on 84 Lumber’s website.

All in all, this is a quality production. From the idea of the story to the actual production work. It’s great to see brands be brave enough to pick a side (figuratively and literally speaking) and push something that’s bigger than its products.

2. Kia – Hero’s Journey – with David & Goliath

“I love whales!”

Who doesn’t love Melissa McCarthy’s voice? This ad is just straight up hilarious.

It tackles the real (how difficult it is to be entirely green and environment friendly in all aspects of our lives) but with relatable humour that just keeps hitting you.

Writing the story so that it’s quick paced and unrelenting is smart – viewers don’t have the chance to tune out because Melissa has already gone from saving whales to climbing trees to running with rhinoceros.

In a matter of seconds, their brains are already onto thinking about the next topic and how it relates to them.

Plus, in all the clutter that happens during the Super Bowl, being able to maintain the LOLs scene after scene is a pretty big feat.

3. Avocados From Mexico - #AvoSecrets Secret Society – with GSD&M



Another funny ad, but what we want to highlight is the writing.

It pokes fun at every little opportunity it can find, including little nudges at Tom Brady, what it even means to be a ‘secret’ society, and Bigfoot (yup, even Bigfoot).

It might all sound random and unrelated, but complemented with great acting performances it all comes together seamlessly and flows.

It’s equal parts hilarious and random, without leaving viewers confused.

Also, who doesn’t love guac? We all know we’d shell out the extra change for a healthy dollop of that stuff on our burrito bowls.

4. Squarespace – Who is JohnMalkovich.com? – with JohnXHannes

There always needs to be a quirky ad. This one takes the top spot.

John Malkovich uses his famous monotone, dead-pan delivery to discreetly push the need for viewers to get on top of finding their perfect domain (preferably with Squarespace).

We like that the pitch-slap is neither here nor there for John Malkovich’s own clothing collection (that wasn’t a joke) or Squarespace’s product offering.

It’s a just an ad with a classic character, simple script and clean production.

Much like Squarespace itself, we might add. Here’s to subtlety in a television event built on not being subtle.

All in all, the Super Bowl is always a great time to flex some creative muscles.

Of course, in the moment, getting those coveted spots of airtime deliver impact. There are millions of eyeballs glued to screens everywhere and if people aren’t tuning in to watch the game itself well they’re tuning in for the ads and movie trailers.

Brand awareness? Check.

Likeability? Check (just not for all brands… ahem T-Mobile).

Instant gratification (read: high-level metrics)? Check.

However, there has to be a conversation around protecting the larger scale brand identities and also the integrity of marketing.

When you look at these ads long-term, are they going to keep delivering for the brand? Not at the same rate as they did when they first aired. Are they going to build lasting relationships by creating relatable experiences for customers? Probably not – it becomes a case of “one and done.” Will they keep getting people to move through to the final sale? People are more likely to hit replay on YouTube than they are to reach into their wallets to get their credit cards out.

No matter what, content has to be produced for a real reason, developed through a plan that thinks long term and produced with care.

No $5 million will buy you loyal customers willing to stick it out until the world’s end. Sorry folks. You know why? 

Because they don't care what you spend. They care about how they matter to your brand.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?

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