By Dave Marinaccio
As I sat through the defensive struggle that was Super Bowl 50, I had a nagging thought that I’ve been here before. The game, the halftime, the commercials all had sameness to them. And it wasn’t because the spots were bad. Some of them were very good.
At some point, I realized I had seen it all before, on YouTube. The practice of pre-releasing Super Bowl spots had left little to discover.
I certainly don’t blame marketers for trying to capitalize on their five million dollar investments. Using a Super Bowl spot as a news hook to build a program around makes good financial sense.
But here’s the thing: I had seen virtually every Super Bowl spot in the previous month. The surprise and excitement were gone. From Mountain Dew’s “Puppy Monkey Baby” to Doritos’ “Ultrasound”, both of which I loved, the commercials were old hat when viewed the day of the game. In fact, I could go to the bathroom without missing a thing.
There were plenty of spots worth hanging around for. The Toyota Prius bank robber spot combined entertainment and an inspired selling message. I loved the way it went right at the perceived weakness of the product. This slow, low performance vehicle was outrunning the entire Chicago police department in a commercial that could also be seen as an homage to the Blues Brothers.
T-Mobile resurrected the reputation of Steve Harvey who had botched this year’s Miss Universe pageant announcement. At the same time, they one-upped Verizon with a sea of tiny purple balls that refuted the cell giant’s superiority claims.
Esurance won the Twitter battle among advertisers. However, it cost them one million dollars in prize money to do it. They did prove that paying people to tweet works.
All in all, this year was a bit tamer than the usual Super Bowl fare. Or, perhaps, it just seemed that way because we had seen it all before. I see this as an issue that future Super Bowl advertisers will have to deal with to protect their investments. This new wrinkle to the game within the game will be interesting to follow for a long, long time.
Dave Marinaccio is chief creative officer at LMO, a Capitol Communicator sponsor.