The Super Bowl: The big winner was an ad beauty contest also-ran.

This year’s ad beauty contest was fascinating on a number of levels. Like last year, one manufacturer made it into the top ten.  Last year it was Audi, this time it was their corporate brethren at Volkswagen:

VW followed that up with a second commercial that took the 12th spot (#2 for autos). A pretty good showing for the VW guys and their agency, Deutsch LA.

After that things began to slip pretty badly for the auto industry according to USA TODAY.  The chart below details each of the eighteen automotive spots and shows how they ranked in the automotive category and among all the ads in the Super Bowl:

So again, despite having 18 commercials in the big game this year, the auto manufacturers were mostly average at best.  Mini even tried puerile humor, which in the Super Bowl is usually a guarantee of good results, but even “Cram it in the boot” didn’t get it done.

Another year, another set of mostly average commercials, another disappointing showing in USA TODAY.

Except that one auto manufacturer demonstrated that the Super Bowl ad beauty contest truly is just that, a thin veneer that looks great but has little substance.

Chrysler demonstrated in one fell swoop why having something important to say and saying it an unconventional way trumps winning the ad contest any day:

Despite being big, emotional, engaging, and important, not to mention beautifully produced and edited, as well as the first time Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” was used in a commercial, this Chrysler commercial ranked 44th of all ads and 12th of auto ads in the Super Bowl according to USA TODAY.

A beauty contest loser, but in the real world where people buy cars, this commercial made people sit up, pay attention, think and then they started talking.  If you doubt the veracity of this statement check out the change in consideration level reported on Edmunds Auto Observer, a week after the game:

A week later, Chrysler’s consideration is still up 87%, no one else is even close.  We all knew this intuitively; chances are if you were speaking to anyone about the Super Bowl advertising, you ended up talking about Chrysler’s ad.

In some circles, concerns were raised.  Will it work? Will it sell cars? Did it show enough car?  Does “Imported from Detroit” make sense? Will only people in Detroit care?  What about Eminem?  Is he good for Chrysler’s image?

All the reasons “why not.”

Fortunately the people at Chrysler and their agency, Wieden & Kennedy had the courage to ignore all the reasons “why not.”

Their reward; 6,966,893 YouTube views (as of this moment), unimaginable news coverage, countless consumer conversations, and 87% higher consideration.

Not bad for an ad.  Exactly what you need to do if you want to take advantage  of the Super Bowl and relaunch your brand.

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