The DC ad community/DC Ad Club came together last night to critic the NFL Super Bowl XLIX ads that Capitol Communicator assumes most of its readers watched the other night. Moderated by Mason Harris, Hutzpah Media (advertising pro, author and entrepreneur); the panelists were Gretchen Carswell, associate creative director, MDB Communications, Inc.; Jim Lansbury, principal and chief creative officer, RP3 Agency; Louise Salas, associate creative director, Wunderman; and Dallas Thompson, account director, Sensis; were somewhat divided on which ads were worthy and which ones were doozies.

OK the big doozie was the Nationwide Ad. No one wanted a downer kid story who missed life because of death ad during the Super Bowl. Yes, bold but misguided. One of the comments from the ad group was a new slogan suggestion, “Nationwide because my kid died”.

What makes this annual post-bowl gathering so entertaining and interesting is the variation of opinion among the panelists and attendees. Thompon, who presented himself as more of a consumer rather than an advertising creative type really liked the Coke, Toyota, Microsoft and Mercedes ads, even though he thought, overall,the ads were somewhat disappointing this year. The creatives – made up of Carswell, Landsbury and Salas – tended to prefer the Avocado, Fiat, Skittles (kind of, preferred Breaking Bad), Clash of Titans and Squarespace/Jeff Bridges ads. Capitol Communicator liked the Mophie and Turbo Tax ads, but seemed to be in the minority with those opinions. There was no clear winner among the panelists or attendees.

So what is the take-away for the ad community next year?

  • No dads
  • No amputees
  • No dead kids
  • Leave the creative up to the creatives
  • No pre-release of the ads. Leave some surprise
  • Be smart

Another thumbs-down ad among the panelists and attendees was the Carnival Cruise Line ad. Most at this gathering seemed to not like that Carnival chose to use the unprotected-public J.F.K. brand. The parodies have already begun:

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