Monday, February 3, 2014

In Super Bowl ads, a little Interspecies romance scores big, and VW engineers get their wings.

The ad about a spunky little puppy and the Clydesdale horse it loves gave A-B another win this year. It is a great spot, even if it is a kind of ‘sequel’ to last year's, which was about a savvy horse that kept returning to its trainer.

For the 26th consecutive year, USA TODAY's Ad Meter reached out to consumers to vote for their favorite Super Bowl commercials. This online audience of 6,272 preregistered panelists voted from across the country. The game featured nearly 50 commercials that cost advertisers a record $4 million per 30-second slot. The audience was estimated as high as 100 million viewers.
Complete list of Ad Meter Results:

As in the beverage category, it seems like new ideas are few and far between in the car business. Only one car ad made the top ten, and it wasn’t the Chevy Silverado ‘romance’ spot with the stud bull. It was something from Hyundai called ‘Sixth Sense’ and it scored a 6.87. I’m not sure why.

Best car ad of the bunch was VW’s “Wings” spot, which outscored everybody in the category except for that ho-hum Hyundai execution. It's no surprise to me. Here was an ad that actually reinforced the brand positioning by reminding us of the ‘German engineering’ that goes into every one of VW's cars, and what it means (durability, value) to the consumer. Wow, make a statement about the stuff your car is made of while being fun and entertaining? This is not brain surgery, people. 

Chrysler’s ad with Bob Dylan was impactful and memorable because of the surprise factor. It was kept under wraps. The other carmakers could have saved their money. Kia, Maserati, Toyota, Honda, Jeep, Audi, and even Jaguar with their first Super Bowl spot fielded pretty unremarkable work.

Honda takes worst car commercial of 2014 spot, hands down.

Honda’s latest attempt to sell cars to people who know nothing about cars, or don't really want one,  is this weird and very annoying “Today is Pretty Great” spot for the 2014 Civic Coupe. Leave it to Honda – desperate in their attempt to appeal to anxious millennials – to produce a spot that goes out of its way to avoid showing you the actual product.

Now, maybe I’m just being old and crusty here, but where do I start to address everything that’s so absolutely wrong with this thing?

What were they thinking, starting a spot with the Vintage Trouble guy belting out the lyrics, “Today, the world is pretty sad?” Now that’s some brilliant marketing. You should always have your product associated with negatives, right?

As if that isn’t bad enough, the clips that follow include a landfill and a visual reference to bankruptcy. Sure, I want my product to be associated with all of these great things!
According to The Detorit News, the spot originally featured demonstrators outside the Detroit bankruptcy court and caused enough anger in the community that the footage was changed. What, indeed, were they thinking?

Next, couldn’t we feel the breeze in our facial hair, dress in super hero costumes, go parasailing or do  any number of fun things and get there in any other car? Actually, for many of those fun recreational activities shown in the spot, I don’t think a Civic Coupe will cut it. Better off buying a used SUV, kids.
And how many times an hour do I have to have it pounded into my head? This spot will drive buyers away in droves.