Super Bowl Ad Roundup: What’s with all the seriousness?

Hola Todos!

The Super Bowl is one of my favorite nights of the year on Twitter and Twitter is at its best when millions upon millions of people are all doing the same thing…such as, watching Super Bowl commercials.

Last night featured an unusual set of commercials – meaning mostly serious or inspirational ones.  It is almost like all the senior brand and creative executives met at a bar and decided to stick to common high-brow themes like “dads” or “going beyond oneself.”  A glut of inspiration results in a blending of the ads – it was much harder to stand out therefore, reducing any possible impact.  Moreover, the Super Bowl is a fun event and most watchers are with friends and family at a party.  PSAs, movie trailers, and “high-brow” themes are better for the Oscars as opposed to beer, dips, chips and nachos.  Make me laugh please…I’m at a party.

As for the rankings, the USAToday AdMeter got it largely right.  Bud with the “Lost Puppy” at #1, – Coke’s “Happy Internet” and Doritos’ “Middle Seat” in the Top Ten. Ads that I thought were solid and did not break the Top Ten were Bud Light’s “Pac Man,” Avocados from Mexico, and Turbo Tax’s “Boston Tea Party.” Special mention to Reebok who ran a great ad before the game started.  I also thought that SquareSpace’s “The Dude” spot was way better then where it landed and the BMW 3i spot was way worse then where it landed.

Two of the most talked about ads of the night were Nissan’s (90 seconds of dad racing – being away from the family) and the Nationwide’s “Boy who Died” spots.  The problem with the Nissan ad was the storytelling in the ad was contrary to the story in the “Cat’s in the Cradle” song that was used in the ad.  In the last stanza of the song, the son grows up to the be the same absentee dad – its not a happy ending – it’s a morality play. The Nationwide ad was well done but few people would react well to that type of theme when they are at a party.

All in all, I have to agree with my friend Ian Schafer, CEO of DEEP Focus; for as expensive as these ads are, one good night of branding should not make up for 364 of slacking.

Check out the links when you get a chance…

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o


Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Marketing

Director, MBA Program

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University








One thought on “Super Bowl Ad Roundup: What’s with all the seriousness?

  1. Great write up Dan-o. Bud’s “Lost Puppy” was my favorite…it seems they get on my top three each year.

    Funny you mention Deep Focus. I’ve been cold calling the CFO/COO (Steve Evans) for a few months now. Haven’t had the opportunity to speak with him just yet.

    Hope all is well!


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