The sentimental favorites won the Super Bowl…at least the football game part.
Generally speaking I thought the advertising game within the game was just OK, not great. Within the automotive segment, six manufacturers stepped up for the Super Bowl:
As I said in an earlier post, the tough part about advertising in the Super Bowl is that while the football game is the primary draw, the advertising contest comes in a close second. As an advertiser you have to be willing to do work that will stand out and entertain because the very next day the “results” of the ad contest will be published in USAToday.
I always watch the Super Bowl hoping that one or more of the automobile manufacturers will break out of the category mold and amaze us. Here’s my take on the automotive commercials, from best to worst:
I think Audi was the automotive standout this year. A lot of industry veterans would have lined up to say that advertising a diesel on the Super Bowl was a waste of money because Americans don’t like diesel. As they have done for the last year, Audi takes on America’s perception of diesel. Audi recognized that Americans are interested in being environmentally responsible but at the same time find the “green movement” a bit over the top. The “Green Police” was a nice idea with enough oomph to do well in the ad contest.
Volkswagen’s “Punch Dub” commercial was the second best automotive entry. While it was a little bit more of a traditional car commercial, I thought it was fun to watch and did a nice job of illustrating the breadth of the VW product line with the warmth and humanness that we’ve come to expect from VW. The Stevie Wonder ending was a master stroke.
I know that Hyundai’s ads introducing the new Sonata will be criticized by the advertising industry as “expected.” Despite being more traditional category commercials, I think that they did a good job of making specific points that communicated an overall sense of quality engineering. Better quality paint than Mercedes-Benz and the idea that the car is “handmade” spoke to quality while the film itself made the product look terrific. These ads won’t win any advertising awards, nor did they do well in the ad contest, but they got their message across and the product looked great.
The Dodge Charger commercial was certainly a departure from the category norm, particularly for Detroit. Some have said that they thought advertising the Dodge Charger (high performance/in-efficient) seemed out-of-step with current societal sensibilities. Perhaps, but I was left wondering if the notion of the “hen-pecked” male was even more out-of-step. I hope that there is a segment of the male population who will identify with this commercial and go buy a Dodge Charger to affirm their manhood.
I sincerely hope that Kia’s execution appeals to young families as intended. While entertaining, I found the commercial silly and didn’t learn anything.
Honda’s ad for the Crosstour seemed forced, although I got the point that it offered a a level of utility in a sporty package.
Overall, my take is that VW, Audi and Hyundai made good use of their Superbowl investment, the others did not.