Good on you, Giants, Patriots, Goodell and FOX

Let me first of all say that I am no expert of the NFL and could, at best, be described as a casual fan.  When I lived in Dallas years ago, way before the current Jerry Jones era  (a whole other story), my wife and I were fans of the Dallas Cowboys.  When we moved to Houston and had to endure the constant whining of Bud Adams, I lost my taste for professional football.  Now we live in a non-NFL market.  All that said, I DO love the post season and the Super Bowl with all the entertainment surrounding it.

AND for the first time in a while, the game itself this year was pretty good.  I really enjoyed watching it, and unlike some years, the game actually demanded staying with it right up to the very end.  And, as a departure from years past, I really could have been pleased with either team as the victor.

My hat is off to Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL.  Whether he deserves credit for it or not, he is the boss, so I will assign it to him.  He seems like a much needed breath of order in the NFL, and the production of the game and in particular the half time show were appropriately in keeping with the “family fare” that this game ought to be.

As a former marketing executive, I have always enjoyed the commercials played during the Super Bowl.  This year was no exception.  And apart from the Patriots and the Giants providing a good game, Fox apparently acted, in conjunction with the advertisers themselves, to exercise some reasonable discretion with respect to the content of the commercials that aired during the game.  What was apparent to me was the absence of the “sex sells” marketing technique.  Even the Victoria’s Secret ad was comparatively tame compared to some I have seen.  That was a refreshing change. 

At one point, I had considered publishing a “Top 10”, but decided instead to simply memorialize a few of this year’s commercials as examples of good, bad and funny.  So here they are: 

The SoBe Life Water ad featuring Naomi Campbell dancing with the troupe of lizards was pure technical entertainment. 

I found the FedEx ad funny because of how preposterous it was and the dead pan, straight-faced punchline. 

The Bridgestone add was a good one, because my wife reacts to oncoming driving “peril” not by screaming, but by covering her ears… 

The e Trade baby add, particularly the second one that ran was really funny.  Especially the final sentence the baby says.  Very matter of fact. 

The Audi R8 ad wins my award as the commercial that probably created more confusion than attraction to a hot new “luxury” car.  Virtually everyone I watched the game with, all of whom are old enough to have seen the cinematic inspiration for the ad, missed the parallel to the horse-head-in-bed from the old Godfather movie.  So, at one minute in length, there went $5.4 million down the drain in media cost alone.  Would hate to be the agency or Audi marketing exec. who dreamed this one up.  Can you say “dust off the resume?”  This one bombed for me, second only to the two animated disasters from SalesGenie.  The first of the two SalesGenie ads that ran follows the Audi commercial below.

As is the case every year, the Budweiser Clydesdale ad was excellent.  You can’t help but smile.

As mentioned above, the Victoria’s Secret ad was comparatively under-control.  And in addition to a Super Bowl oriented message, they also created a Valentines’ Day tie-in.  I don’t commend the ad to you to watch, but I do commend Victoria’s Secret for exercising some restraint.

The following ad is COMPLETELY in keeping with what we have become accustomed to seeing during the Super Bowl from Go Daddy dot Com.  You may recall in years past, they their ads have featured a woman testifying before a congressional committee when her top falls off, she covers up and dances around.  Well, this year, Go Daddy’s INTENDED ad was a spoof on Britney Spears and her “no-panties” days of partying back in 2007, and in particular when she was photographed getting out of a car and exposing herself.  The good news is, and koodos to FOX, the network rejected this ad, in favor of a tamer one that simply directed viewers to the Go Daddy website where they could see this ad.  [UPDATE:  The ad that I just mentioned that ran during the first quarter of the game directing viewers to the Go Daddy website, was scheduled to air again during the second quarter.  In that brief time, FOX received so many complaints that the ad was pulled and replaced with a FOX promo for The Simpsons.]

VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.  Or if you prefer, simply scroll down to the next commercial.   

Coca-Cola usually has good commercials.  They aired a couple last night.  The one featuring Carville and Frist was clever, but I did not care for it…mostly because I can’t stand James Carville.  (How does Mary put up with that guy?)  Their second ad was better.  The ad with the Macy’s Parade balloons was excellent, with some great symbolism in it.  Cartoon character Stewie Griffin from Family Guy is a maniac kid who tries to dominate the world (Patriots).  He is competing for a bottle of Coke with another cartoon character, Underdog (Giants).  The ultimate victor is unassuming Charlie Brown, who is admired by a little girl holding a football (could she symbolize Lucy Van Pelt?). 

As a former employee of Pepsi’s chief rival, for me to say anything flattering about them, is remarkable.  This ad was not a part of the Super Bowl itself, but rather the pre-game show.  It merits comment.  Technically and strategically, I found it to deliver a real break-through in the (forgive the expression) noise and clutter of advertising and programming.  Its impact is palpable.  Congratulations to Pepsi EnAble for this ad.  Well done. 

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