Bentley College Marketing- Honors

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Monday, February 06, 2006

'Super Bowl' of Advertising

This week the actual Super Bowl coincided, not coincidentally, with the “Super Bowl of Advertising”. These multi-million dollar mega-spots sometimes out shine the lackluster football games they have to thank for their exponential exposure. This year, there were the traditional brand building spots from Anheuser Busch & Pepsi with many other companies rounding out the pack. Adfreak (http://adweek.blogs.com/) chronicled the communications quarterly, with special sections for pre-pregame, pre-game, halftime, and a couple of post game, and morning after segments. I am going to focus on the posts up until and including the first quarter by Tim Nudd this week.
The first “super” ad was a sixty second one for Full Throttle, an energy drink made by Coke. The drink sponsored the pregame show, and there were teasers leading up to the actual ad. Tim Nudd, the author of this first post makes reference to the fact that truckers have actually been protesting the ad because it reinforces the negative view that many people have of trucker’s aggressive driving practices. What ends up happening is that a whole slew of 'extreme' motorists follow a Full Throttle truck in a scene reminiscent of Forrest Gump's trek across America. Towards the end of the spot, the Full Throttle truck tailgates and ‘encourages’ a Red Bull truck to get out of the way. The spot is also infused with tons of other reckless driving from racecar drivers and motorcyclists, but you don’t hear them complaining…
Following this was an ad for Pizza Hut starring Jessica Simpson doing a rendition of “These Boots are Make for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra but with ‘pizza lyrics’. This spot satisfied my roommates hopes who a few days ago while watching a Pizza Hut commercial for the same ridiculous crust pizza said “Why don’t they show Jessica Simpson in this commercial?”
After the kickoff, Burger King unveiled a sixty second production that was more or less a musical. Nudd called it “grand, eye catching and tongue-in-cheek”. He also states that it didn’t go over well at the party he was at. I concur on both counts. I thought that the spot was really well done, creative, and subtly humorous. My friends, however, thought it was “gross” and “stupid”. Fair enough, but I have always thought that the ads with the creepy King which they liked were pretty inane and irrelevant. This might signify a disconnect between the people who make ads and those who they are intended for. They managed to weave in the King and Brooke Burke at the end which redeemed it slightly in my friend’s eyes. I just can’t imagine Burger King reusing that spot too much, even in an edited 30 second spot.
Bud Light came out with some very funny ads, as always. The first one I liked was one with a grizzly bear and two guys in the woods. The guys run in opposite directions and the bear can only follow one. The man that the bear chooses subdues the bear by offering it a Bud Light, only to have his friend bolt on to the screen and nab the Bud Light, leaving his friend with the infuriated bear. Good spot, Nudd would agree. However I have an issue with the Anheuser ‘ad’ naseum. Do they really get $75 million dollars, or however much they spent, worth of brand switching or extra purchases no matter how many ads they run. I think you have to assume there is a point of diminishing returns and Bud’s ad campaigns vault it by leaps and bounds every year. Maybe they have locked themselves in with the old frog campaigns and couldn’t 'bear' to go through another Super Sunday without seeing the family name 32 times during commercial breaks.
One of the surprise successful capaigns that drew a laugh from my friends was the Ameriquest spots. One ad shows two doctors using a defibrillator to take down a fly buzzing over a patient. As the family walks in they say “That killed him”. Nudd says “Another great ‘Don't judge too quickly’ spot. This one will score well.” I agree and would add that this is indicative of the trend towards heavy advertising budgets becoming part of financial planning firms. Although the spots for the big four, or fidelity usually convey strength, (sometimes with large animals), the humorous overtones on the Ameriquest spots were a nice touch.
More Super analysis next week.

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