Column: Who won the (advertising) Super Bowl?

February 04, 2013  |  Ron Tite  |  Comments

In the battle of the teams, Baltimore won. But in the battle of the brands, the score’s not as easy to agree on. Here are my Winners and Losers from this year’s Super Bowl spots.

In the spirit of global viewing and complete accessibility to all the spots, I won’t differentiate based on where they were aired or whether they were released prior to game day.

The Winners

Oreo – “Blackout”

The more timely a message is, the more relevant it is. And no one proved that more than Oreo. With a blackout in the game, Oreo created and tweeted the ad featured above. With half the world sharing in the experience, this just-in-time execution may have immediately connected with more people than any other ad in history. Not all of us drink Bud. Not all of us use Samsung. But ALL of us watching the game experienced the blackout at the same time. And Oreo connected our dots immediately.

Am I over-dramatizing it? Maybe. But I want to see the numbers before I’ll admit it. With dedicated creative and social teams, Oreo set themselves up for success. In their wake are all the other spots and campaigns created months before (including their own).

Is it possible that a free tweet was more powerful than all the million dollar spots? Yup. Oreo owned the night and they didn’t have to pay a ton of cash in media costs to do it.

RAM Trucks – “Farmer”

God made a farmer but he may have had a hand in this spot, too. Beautiful still photography accompanied by real audio from Paul Harvey’s moving 1978 speech created a spot that was refreshing and unique (even if the grizzled truck drivers looked a little familiar). There’s not a heck of a lot of farmer in me but this spot made me wish there was.

Go Daddy – “”

Apparently, securing your own URL doesn’t actually require the scantily clad women and celebrity spokespeople we’ve seen from GoDaddy in the past. This spot has an obvious insight, a simple idea and it’s well executed. It miraculously strays from the juvenile attitude of the past while still feeling appropriate for the brand. That other one with Bar Refaeli? I can still taste the throw up.

Molson Canadian – “The Canadians”

Rethink was given the responsibility to transform Canadian and they went out and got former CPB CD, Aaron Starkman to lead the charge. He and his team have done a nice job. They went back to the obvious Canadian foundations of the brand and used a nice idea to get us to the aspirational rip-o-matic footage that all domestic beer drinking Canadians will love. Best of all, it was made in Canada.

Budweiser – ”Brotherhood”

If you didn’t tear up during this spot, you have Buckley’s running through your veins and you tear wings off angels in private.

Jeep – “Whole Again”

I didn’t like this ad. I thought it was a blatant use of soldiers and patriotism to sell a product and I reacted negatively. Throw in an epic orchestral track, and an Oprah Winfrey voice over and you can see why I thought this was a little over the top. That being said, I’m clearly not the target market. American audiences connect more to “rah-rah” military messages and – if twitter is any indicator – this effort certainly was popular south of the border. #GodBlessAmerica

Budweiser Canada – ‘Budweiser Red Lights”

A goal light that is synched with real games to sound off and light up whenever your favourite team scores? Are you kidding me? Now THAT is innovation. And isn’t it amazing that when the idea is this good, we don’t really discuss the merits of the spot itself? Who cares? I want a light.


So it turns out the teaser wasn’t a teaser. It was just another execution. Big deal. The spots are funny and they made quite a statement with the talent they brought on board. You know how the Jays silenced the Yankees by getting Jose Reyes and RA Dickey? That’s what Samsung just did to Apple.

Who, in Ron’s opinion, were the losers on Sunday? Click here to read the full article to find out.

Ron Tite is president of The Tite Group, a content marketing agency based in Toronto, and chief content curator for Dx3 Canada

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