If $5 million buys you 30 seconds, you might reasonably expect the moral equivalent of SNL, Second City TV, Louis C K, Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld or (insert your favorite comedian or comedy sketch here).
The sampling of teasers and game day Super Bowl ads, now being rolled out in advance of Sunday’s Big Game, leaves this student of social media saying “huh?”. In other words, if the Super Bowl ad previews were a trailer to a movie, I wouldn’t see the movie.
Charlie Rose previewed this year’s Super Bowl 50 ads with none other than the former advertising editor of the NY Times, a reporter from Ad Age, and the founding partner of the ad agency, Anomaly, creator of this year’s Bud Lite commercial. They sat around Rose’s famous oak table and you would think this year’s Super Bowl commercials were the second coming of creativity, brilliance, innovative story telling, enduring American themes, and of course, the magical marriage of product brand and “meaning.” It reminded me of an agency presentation to a client where the flattery and verbal effluent flowed so high, people were raising their hands to save their watches.
You be the judge.
Here are some of the notable “gems” of 2016 in no particular order:
Anomaly’s Bud Lite Campaign with Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen:
Death Wish Coffee:
Shock Top beer:
Budweiser’s Anti-Drunk Driving ad with Helen Mirren:
But, wait, there’s one by Colgate, the toothpaste, that resonates beyond the others. In a state nearly devoid of water, in California where the Super Bowl is being played, Colgate hits a nerve. It’s the utterly universal habit of people, including me, whenever they brush their teeth, of just turning on the tap and letting it run while you casually move the bristles back and forth across their pearly whites.
Colgate’s teaser is called Save Water and is quite gripping:
And OK, here’s one I think is funny because I think Alec Baldwin is funny. It’s an ad for AmazonEcho. It’s called Deflate Gate or the Baldwin Bowl.
Maybe these ads will create a huge amount of social media buzz and people will flock to their products and brands. And maybe there will be some incredibly clever, heart-warming, patriotic, tear-filled joyful tales of dogs finding their way home, horses thanking their owners for raising them, or kids being kids. In that case, all is forgiven. Well, not exactly. Anomaly’s Jay Durand said that all great advertising is based on an idea. When Rose asked him if you need big bucks to create great ads, Durand said no, falling back on the old ad cliche, “We don’t have any money, so now we have to think.”
For $5 million a half-minute, you’d think you could do both.