Until recently, Super Bowl ads have been more entertaining than the game. While the games have been better in recent years, the ads have really become just too darn safe. Many companies seem afraid to think too far outside the box. And frankly, some companies that do try to be funny end up failing. Here are some of the best and worst of the evening. First, the best five ads of the game (feel free to disagree).
Betty White, one of the funniest women in the history of television, covered in mud and making jokes about another guy's girlfriend? That's advertising gold on its own, but when you add in Abe Vigoda getting sacked, you win the day. Color me satisfied, Snickers.
The Denny's campaign really was well done, and really, isn't it hard to screw up screaming chickens? The ads got funnier as the game went along, but we'll link to the second one, because nothing tops a screaming chicken in space.
Okay, I may have been a bit partial to this ad because I watched it in a Las Vegas amphitheatre, but "a departure from the expected" campaign from Kia was one of the winners of the night. A sock monkey getting a "tattoo" stitched into his arm, riding a mechanical bull and dancing with attractive women in Vegas clubs…and a toy robot doing the robot…its hard to beat. Even with the irksome red fellow from Yo Gabba Gabba, a popular show for kids that I will not let my daughter watch due to it's creepiness, the ad was still a huge winner.
Look at you, Google. You spent about ten bucks to create your multi-million dollar ad, and it really got the point across. Consider my heartstrings tugged.
Doritos had a strong Super Bowl, and this boy will be getting more work. A great find by the ad agency. And yes, keep your hand off his mamma, and his Doritos.
While the Focus on the Family spot wasn't a strong ad, per se, it's what they didn't say that made it a culmination to the greatest viral marketing campaign of all time. Look, I hate hyperbole, but this was the greatest of all time. Sheer brilliance.
Also of note was the Hyundai Brett Favre ad which played very well in the room of a few hundred football fans I was in. Say what you want about Favre, but most of America still seems to like the guy.
Some of the Worst, AKA "We Get It"
It's not fair to totally rip Go Daddy for their ads when the one funny ad they had was banned by CBS, but the ad campaign has really run its course. We get it, Go Daddy, you get random attractive women to take off their tops in front of Danica Patrick or other Go Daddy reps. Then we're supposed to go to your website and watch more, hoping that we'll see some, what, nudity? Is there anyone who really expects that? It's a teaser ad to go to a site for another tease. People have hopefully learned their lesson on those ads. It's time to move on.
So, to, is it time to retire the E*Trade babies. We get it, E*Trade, talking babies were funny. Now it's just redundant. And honestly, I have no clue how that helps sell people on managing their own investments. I suppose it was a "so easy a baby can do it" type of campaign, but they've totally lost the point, and now they just throw a talking baby in silly situations and expect us to eat it up.
There were other bad ads, I'm sure, but this makes the list because of its sheer ridiculousness.
Look, we get it KGB, you charge people a dollar to give them instant text information. Google provides this service for free, in most cases. And besides, the ad campaign is predicated on the fact that KGB will give you information faster than going online, you know, if you happen to be in a sumo match anytime soon. Or, in normal life situations, you can just wait the extra five or six seconds it would take for your phone's browser to find you the information for free.
And I would rip the Taco Bell ad with Charles Barkley, but he's staying in my hotel, so I don't need to be ripping Chuck right now. Besides, they had the rhyme pattern of Fox in Socks, so that made the ad pretty darn good, actually.
Oh, and ad managers, let's keep the pants on from this point forward. Men in underpants isn't really all that funny.
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