Well, the big game certainly didn’t turn out how we’d expected. But football aside, the ads this year were rather disappointing. We’d hoped to see a series of clever, well-put-together advertisements. Instead, we got a lot of big companies flexing their advertising budgets and flashing their brands around. From the plain stupid to the honestly weird and uncomfortable, we couldn’t wait to get back to the game.
There were still a few exceptions that caught our eyes, and here they are – the best and worst of the Super Bowl 2014.
Rolling Out a New Product
Done right: Subway – “Fritos Chicken Enchilada”
No, we don’t particularly feel like buying an enchilada sandwich (it actually sounds pretty gross). But that doesn’t mean the ad itself is bad. It shows off the product, ties in heavily to the already existing brand, and wasn’t terrible to watch.
Done wrong: Kia – “The Truth”
Famous actor? Check. Trite but laughable movie reference? Also check. But somewhere along the time Morpheus stars singing opera so loud that his cheeks flap in the random explosions, this ad really lost its point. Was there a new car in there somewhere?
Relying on Your Strengths
Done right: Chevy – “Romance”
This ad pretty much says it all: Chevy trucks are strong and reliable, just like the people who drive them (and the bulls they pull along). The story it told was cute without sacrificing Chevy’s brand, and we even had a little laugh at the end. This marketing department gets a high five. (Hugs might be too girly.)
Done wrong: Volkswagen – “Wings”
This commercial would have been a lot more enjoyable if it wasn’t so weird. And the “exasperated teenager” trope is a little overdone.
Running Off Nostalgia
Done right: Heinz – “Hum”
Does anybody else want to go buy ketchup, just to own one of those glass bottles?
Done wrong: Budweiser – “Puppy Love”
Alright, before you get up in arms over this one, hear us out. Yes, this is a brilliant little story, and a great short film. It even made us tear up towards the end. But as an ad, it doesn’t really do it’s job.
An ad needs to make you interested in the product or service. At the very least, it should be related to the produce or service. But this spot didn’t make us want to drink Bud; it just made us want to go adopt a puppy. Aside from the horses, there was nothing to tie it into the Budweiser brand.
Reshaping an Image
And now, for our number one favorite ad of the year. There’s no “done wrong” here, because no other ad this season could compare.
Radioshack – “The Phone Call”
This is an example of a brand that’s fully aware of their greatest weakness. But instead of trying to cover it up, they embrace it and move forward. Radioshack isn’t that store from the 80’s anymore – they’re a place to find accessories for your technology, get help when something’s broken, or even purchase a new device. And before this ad, many of you might have just gone to Walmart.
- Cheerios – “Gracie”
Gracie’s family returns in another Cheerio’s spot that is honestly just as adorable as the first one.
- GoDaddy – “Puppet Master”
Ignoring the other weird GoDaddy ad, this one did a good job targeting the company’s main audience – small business owners.
- Sonos – “Face Off”
Simple, effective, and on target.
- Wonderful Pistachios – “Stephen Colbert”
Because this is one company that really knows how to pick their celebrity sponsors.
And our dishonorable mention goes to none other than Toyota, for their sponsorship of Hulu Adzone. Or more specifically, the way they botched it. Sponsoring all the other ads is great, but no one wants a Muppet screaming “Let’s go places!” at them every time they click on the next minute-long video.