It’s almost obligatory for a blog about advertising to comment on the Super Bowl each year. If you want to watch them all in your copious spare time, you can see them here. But why would you when I’ve just done the homework for you?
So here goes my 3 favourite Rad Ads… and a few runner-ups.
#1. Hyundai: The Elevator. Humour never goes out of style. Jason Bateman and the cast of characters deliver perfect comedic timing and make you want to know how the ad finishes as they descend into life’s most miserable experiences… including root canals, jury duty and a vegan dinner party (Beetloaf!) —- naturally vegans are outraged by the ad. Car shopping is down there with the vegans (I can pick on them because I practically am them) - but then all is revealed for how to make car shopping a pleasure.
#2. BUD LIGHT: Brewed with No Corn Syrup. Sometimes a brand just needs to take off the kid gloves and just punch its competitor(s) in the face, which is exactly what Bud Light does to both Miller and Coors Light - which are apparently brewed with corn syrup…. who knew?! There is the risk that this will bring the entire “light beer” category down rather than lift Bud Light up (new mental model: “Light” beers = corn syrup) but I admire their bravery in portraying competing brands in their ad. It’s ballsy - just like Bud Light. Certainly seems more motivating than sister-brand Budweiser’s ad which uses Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” to tout that its beers are produced using wind farm energy, which I’m even less sure its audience cares about than corn syrup in beer.
Verizon: The team that wouldn’t be here. One of the more poignant ads, it features 12 NFL players who nearly died in accidents earlier in their lives - and the first responders who saved them. The ad celebrates the players and first responders and drills home Verizon’s clear brand positioning as “America’s most reliable network” due to its role in helping first responders receive emergency calls. It encourages you to go online and hear more about their stories (bring tissues).
And there are 3 runner-ups as well:
Pringles Stack - Sad Device… because I never thought to combine flavours by stacking them - which might really increase my cart size next time (I’ll buy a Ranch tube AND Honey Mustard). Also - it’s very funny. See it here.
Pepsi “Is Pepsi OK?”…. As far as I can tell, Steve Carell can do no wrong. This insightful ad brings to life a snippet of real world dialogue that always happens when a you order a Coke but the restaurant only has Pepsi: “Is Pepsi OK?” After seeing this ad, you’ll never hear that question the same way again. See it here.
Michelob Ultra Pure Gold… You have to admire a brand that uses the whispery sounds of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response ) as Zoë Kravitz plays with a bottle of “beer in its pure form.” Only problem is…. this ad would not have worked in a rowdy and loud party of beer drinkers who wouldn’t be able to hear it. See it here.
What WASN’T working for me: a) Anything much over 1 minute long (gratuitous!); b) unclear what the ad is for (and you really don’t care to find out); c) blatant use of celebrities without them adding to the story (ie: M&M’s doesn’t need Christina Applegate to be a soccer mum; but Sarah Jessica Parker reprising her role as Carrie and choosing a Stella Artois instead of a cosmo has relevance to the actor so it feels less crass).
What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts.