Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What about those super bowl ads?

It’s pretty much common knowledge that the super bowl advertisements are in a league of their own. These ads are the most unique, the most expensive and the most talked-about. During the super bowl is when advertisers debut their new commercials, especially the commercials that are supposed to grab a viewer. Super bowl viewers expect that more than half of the commercials will be new. Another notable item is that people will watch the super bowl, only to watch the commercials.

In the past, there have been some famous commercials to make their debut during the super bowl. In 1984, there was a landmark commercial which introduced the Macintosh computer by maker Apple. In 1993, there was an ad where Michael Jordan and Larry Bird competed in a basketball shooting contest but, they had to do things like bounce the ball, “off the highway” and make the basket, “nothin’ but net” in a competition for some McDonald’s food. Finally, in 1995, there was the introduction of the Bud-Weis-Er frogs.

This year, it seemed like there were some recurring themes in the commercials throughout the super bowl. There were a number of commercials where animals were acting human. Denny’s had two commercials featuring chickens that were acting human. They were highlighting the “grand slam” breakfast. The badger playing the violin for was incredibly cute. Furthermore, there was even a commercial were humans were acting like dolphins for Emerald’s nuts and Pop-Secret.

There were a number of ads that featured men without pants on. The most notable of these showed men in their underwear and was sponsored by This made me want to NOT go to I hope I never work in that office, as well. I felt this commercial was in poor taste. Dockers also put out a commercial called, “I Wear No Pants.” This one made a little more sense to me. At least one can see why a pants company might use this theme in an ad of theirs.

My friend’s favorite commercial was, “Playing Nice.” This was a Doritos commercial where a little kid smacks his mother’s date, “Keep your hands off my mama. Keep your hands off my Doritos.” I really liked the commercials for Doritos more than any other sponsor. In “Funeral,” a guy is buried in Doritos while he watches sports. In “Dog Collar”, the dog is wearing a collar which will not allow him to bark so he takes it off and puts in on the man with the Doritos. Then the dog takes the Doritos. Of course the man can’t say anything because he gets shocked if he speaks. In “Tim’s Locker,” Tim goes after someone who stole Doritos out of his locker. He throws a Dorito into the throat of the innocent bystander. The Dorito is depicted as a sort of a weapon. I liked Doritos commercials the best. I felt they were the most interesting and innovative. They grabbed me as a viewer. I would want to buy the product; however, Doritos are not kosher so, I will not be consuming any Doritos as a result of this commercial.

While I liked the Dorito commercials the best, there were other commercials that I noticed because of their marketing angle but, didn’t necessarily like. For example, the commercial, “Comfortable Skin” which I thought was a little too feminine to reach most of the male audience. My friend turned to her husband after the commercial and asked him if he grew a vagina watching it. This is an ongoing joke because he overheard men discussing skin care products in the barber shop, of all places. He said it was so bad he grew a vagina just overhearing it. It doesn’t seem to me that men would be attracted to a product with a commercial like this. The commercial starts with a man at birth. It then shows the man getting married and having three babies followed by his wife sending him out to check on a noise with a flashlight. Women would like this ad. I don’t think men would. Usually putting babies in a commercial is done when women were the target audience, not men. Women would like the idea of sending their man out to check on a noise. All four of us watching the commercial felt this way. I think a better angle and strategy would have been to show a man playing in the mud with his teenage son but, still-looking young. Then he uses their “manly” product to wash of this dirt he acquired in a manly fashion. The fact that he was spending time with his teenage son would draw in the girlfriend or wife who might buy the product for him.

So, this year’s super bowl did not seem to air any landmark commercials, like Macintosh or the Budweiser frogs. However, since super bowl commercials are the most expensive commercials out there, they are surely worth reviewing. While I doubt they will go down as some of the greatest commercials ever, we saw some interesting and innovative commercials from Doritos. Now that we’ve reviewed this year’s ads, the only task remaining is to wait for next year’s super bowl advertisements.


  1. Wow! I used to work in marketing communications for a Fortune 500 and I think this is an excellent synopsis of the ads. This year, I mostly turned to my laptop when an ad came on and just read reviews about the ads after the game instead. This is more comprehensive than what I've read elsewhere.

    I'm ambivalent about the black dude checking out the mama in the Doritos ad getting slapped by the kid. I don't know, maybe I'm just too P.C.

  2. Well, thank you! That'a a great thing to hear when you're a marketing major. I turned this in as an extra credit paper but, the professor said she doesn't have time to look at it yet. Her son (8) has something due, so she's helping him with his homework.

    No, I didn't say I liked that commercial with the slapping, but my friend did. She had the remote and rewound a couple times. Now I'm thinking about it... yeah, I think, also that ad was written by a woman. When we had the marketing field dominated by men, ads targeting women missed their mark. Now, we're seeing the marketing field and most certainly Market Research as something women do. So, we are seeing ads that should target both genders effectively, not doing so. Women would love the idea of their son protecting them (and his Doritos, too.) Whereas, super bowl ads should be bias towards men or both.

    I think, even though it's a super bowl, it's still football and one should expect 60 to 70 percent of the audience to be male. I don't usually watch it. Although, my mother watched football religiously. However, I grew up in Buffalo. The Bills are considered to have the best fan support and there's some truth to that. When would would play, everywhere you go it was on the radio. When something good or bad happened in a game I would hear it from my mother and from upstairs. So, I knew something about what I was watching, but, I still don't watch normally. If the Bills made it to a superbowl again, I would surely watch and root for them, as they will always be my home team even though, now, NYC is my home.

  3. I didn't even grow up in an NFL town, so I'm mostly just a college sports person.

    BTW, I knew you were pursuing a business curriculum but I didn't know it was marketing. You sound like you're really into it.

    Oh, I saw you at the DaatTorah blog today. I'm the Daniel over there. The convert is innately evil thing is something I never imagined people could believe. I told my wife tonight after work and she was just incredulous.

  4. I thought you were in Chicago, Bears? No?

    Daas is a piece of work. He changes sides to the underdog whoever that is. That's why he changes his opinion. Watch, you'll see. He's just trying to keep his hits up.

  5. Uhhh I thought the overall theme of the ads this year was that men are emasculated. Given the economy, not surprising. The "but I will choose the car I drive" commercial took the cake on that one.