Super Bowl ad winners and losers (Column)

Ron Tite is president of The Tite Group, a content marketing agency based in Toronto, and chief content curator for Dx3 Canada. This column originally appeared in two parts The game may have been long over by the time Sha-Na-Na joined Bruno Mars on stage but the commercials went on as planned. You hate the […]

Ron Tite is president of The Tite Group, a content marketing agency based in Toronto, and chief content curator for Dx3 Canada. This column originally appeared in two parts

The game may have been long over by the time Sha-Na-Na joined Bruno Mars on stage but the commercials went on as planned. You hate the sweater you paid $90 for last week? Too bad. Try being a brand that forked over millions in media and production to advertise during a game that was over after 12 seconds.

Here’s my take on the ads that won and those that lost.

Winners

Esurance: “Save30”

This wasn’t as funny as E-trade’s “Well, we just wasted 2 million bucks” spot from years ago but it was just as relevant. It not only communicated a strong brand belief, it backed it up with a clever media buy and a second screen contest. Top marks for something so simple.

Maserati: “Strike”
Young creatives pay attention. This is how a writer makes a spot. From the opening line, “The world is full of giants” to the closing, “…and quietly walk out of the dark and strike”, every word has its place, every beat has its purpose. The only thing they didn’t do was ask the writer of the script to take a look at the name of the car, “Ghibli”. Regardless, as a writer, I wish I wrote this.

Jaguar: “Rendezvous”
Who know “Good to be bad” could be so great? Well it was in every way. Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong undoubtedly made British villains and the country they represent proud. I may never be an evil villain but I’d certainly kill for their getaway car. Well done, Jag.

Chevrolet: “Life”
Aligning with an important event like World Cancer Day isn’t easy. A lot of brands try to be noble but their bias gets in the way and they end up sounding like self-interested capitalists who are just using the charity for profits. This didn’t in any way. Beautiful spot. Amazing song.

VW: “Wings”

A wonderful set up with great casting and nice little smiles throughout. Touch the rainbow!

Cheerios: “Gracie”
I like brands that stand for something. Thanks, Cheerios. Good for you.

Budweiser: “Puppy Love”
If you saw this and didn’t cry, your heart is made of left-over steel from the Keystone pipeline. I’ll take 1 of these over 10 of those “epic” spots any day.

Chrysler: “America’s Import”
I’m still not sure that Bob Dylan was the right person to appear in this spot. Luckily, he was given a pretty bold script and he delivered. When it comes to drawing a line in the sand, it doesn’t get much better than: “So let Germany brew your beer. Let Switzerland make your watch. Let Asia assemble your phone. We will build your car.”

RadioShack: The Phone Call
You want celebs? RadioShack put on their leg warmers and brought in Erik Estrada, Dee Snider, Cliff Clavin, Mary Lou Retton, Devo, Jason, Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter, California Raisins, Teen Wolf, and Alf (who also appeared in an inflight video earlier in the week) for an 80’s flashback that was really fun. Completely self deprecating, too. It’s time for a new Radio Shack. Let’s just see if they can build one.

Hyundai Genesis: “Dad’s Sixth Sense”
Nice spot indirectly thanking dad. Nice to see especially after all the P&G mom love. I hope I’m as good a dad as this guy.

Go Daddy: “Body Builders”
You want web traffic? Here’s a totally fun depiction of it. Ridiculously simple and simply ridiculous. Besides, Go Daddy finally didn’t resort to using sex to sell. Imagine that.

Losers

Subway: “It’s Crunch Time”

What’s more off-putting? The brand that stands for eating fresh putting Fritos on their subs or letting a guy in a bad suit sing along with the “Cruncha-Muncha, Fritos on my sub” jingle? You choose. I’m too busy reviving Jared from his shock induced coma. Oh, look. They did it in-house.

SodaStream: “Sorry, Coke & Pepsi”
I don’t see why this spot is getting the love. It’s fine. But last year’s spot showed the true value of SodaStream much more effectively and it didn’t need ScarJo to do it, either. Here’s a tip: When you’re trying to differentiate yourself from the big boys, don’t act or spend like the big boys. This felt like SodaStream was a dot-com from 1999.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (Crackle): “Reunion”
I didn’t mind the spot. The writing was funny. My only question is why? Why take a new type of show, shot in a new kind of way, on a new kind of network, and blow your brains out on the king of old school media? Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (which I love) represents the new regime. There was no need to do this.

Wonderful Pistachios: “Stephen Colbert”
After last year’s Psy and this year’s Colbert, maybe Wonderful should take the money they fork over to celebrities and give it to an agency to actually help hem build their brand. If only there was a contest. Oh, wait. There was.

Audi: “Doberhuahua”
All that for the line, “Designed without compromise”? Trust me, somewhere along the way, someone compromised. Disappointing effort from a great brand.

Bud Light: “Epic Night”
It starts well. It ends well. It’s executed well. Still, a brand like Bud has to be in front of trends not behind them. Every second brand film feels like it was created by the crew of Just for Laughs Gags. Remember when Howie Madel helped orchestrate that over the top wedding proposal at Disneyland on the show Mobbed 3 years ago? This felt like the beer version of that. Besides, didn’t Heineken do that 6 months ago?

Intuit TurboTax: “Prom”

I love the concept. Love the writing. Love the performance. Hell I even love Shawn in slow motion. I just don’t really like the connection to the brand. That set up was for a faster tax refund? Eeeesh.

Squarespace: “A Better Web Awaits”
“We can’t change what the web has become”… is great territory. I absolutely love the promise of that notion. The spot just didn’t deliver on it. More importantly, I have no clue what Squarespace even does.

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