Our Favorite Super Bowl Ads

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By Coleen Sterns and Team

I’m one of those folks who watch the Super Bowl for the ads rather than the game. This year was an outstanding year.  Budweiser’s Puppy Love was my mushy top pick – days before the actual airing. Bud did a brilliant pre-game launch through social media and the spot had over 30 million views before Sunday. It was heartwarming and well produced. What’s not to like there.  Puppies, horses and a final air of romance. A happy ending for all.

A close second though is the Audi’s “Compromise Scares Us Too” spot featuring the Doberhuahuas. It was hilarious. I love Sarah McLachlan’s self-parody. I can’t even watch her animal rights PSAs – they are just too heart wrenching.  She was brilliant. And, yes compromise does create some scary creatures. It’s a great spot.

Third place went to Chevrolet for their Romance spot. A man and his truck.  And a very eligible bachelor. Hello, ladies. Makes me believe in miracles.

I’ve asked my team to share their thoughts, hope you enjoy.

 

Scott Moody – RadioShack “The Phone Call”

When trying to decide which one stood out above all others, I tried to narrow my focus on which ones left me remembering the actual brand or product as much as the ad. After all, what good is your expensive ad if people refer to it as “the one with the [insert some detail]” instead of “the [insert brand name] ad”.

With that mindset, the ad that left the biggest impression me was RadioShack’s “The Phone Call”. If you’ve ever visited a RadioShack in the past five years, maybe 10 years, you’re probably not alone if you thought “how is this place still open?” Well, RadioShack apparently understands that too. In “The Phone Call”, RadioShack acknowledged that the brand’s image, or at least it’s retail locations, are a bit dated. To drive the point home even more, the ad cleverly featured cameos from a plethora of 1980’s icons including Hulk Hogan, Chucky, Dee Snider, Alf, a DeLorean, VHS players, Devo, Kid ‘n’ Play, clunky computers and more.

I think it was a very effective way for RadioShack to poke a little fun at its own expense while demonstrating they are working to modernize the brand—or at the very least your perception of it.

 

Eric Lachs – RadioShack “The Phone Call”

My favorite commercial that premiered during the 2014 Super Bowl was the Radio Shack ad. The brand addressed the largest prevailing popular misconception about their chain of retail stores, namely “why would I need radio parts when I don’t use a radio?”

Super Bowl commercials are more expensive than ever, with many companies acknowledging that their direct sales following the ad may not recoup the cost. Like oh so many buy one get one free promotions, Radio Shack is investing in its customers and their payoff here is the result it likely produced in living rooms throughout the country. The ultimate conversation starter of “Oh, do you remember [insert 80s icon here]” makes it memorable enough to make an impact.

 

Kyle E. Glass – RadioShack “The Phone Call”

Strategically the best Super Bowl commercial was Radio Shack’s, in my opinion. After years of a steady decline of market share, I HAVE to imagine a new CEO coming in and deciding to shake things up: With a goal in mind; a board that wants positive change; and spending months with focus groups, surveying and self-reflection. I realize all Super Bowl ads probably have this, but not many are as being honest in their fallibility and blatant in telling me what they’re going to do to fix it.

And, I think they were going right for their intended audience and hit the nail on the head: the 30-something crowd. The line between knowing tech well enough to use it and the maturity to remember what they used to be. It wasn’t for everyone, and I like that. Very focused.

 

Jayna Thomas – Microsoft “Empowering”

When I think of a good commercial I think… one, does it catch my attention or make me want to change the channel. Two, was it informational or purposeless. Three, was the brand memorable and not just the commercial. With that being said, I nominate Microsoft’s “Empowering” commercial as the best Super Bowl commercial for 2014. The commercial is powerful, heart-felt yet strategic for humanizing technology and not to mention effective. Watching it, my heart instantly grew warmer for the Microsoft brand. My favorite aspect of the commercial is that it could appeal to such a variety of people from elderly, military, parents, artists, scientists, students, doctors, children, athletics, and more. We all embrace technology in one way or another so why not use it to unite and empower us, right? Makes you believe the experience is worth the cost. Kudos to Microsoft.

 

Aneva Matthews – “Wonderful Pistachios”

Okay, so I get it. You spent a good chunk of your marketing budget for this highly expensive television commercial spot during the big game. Everyone else is pulling out all their tricks to upstage the other and why not you too? The answer is, because if you’re not careful we will remember the funny stunt and nothing about the brand. I think this year was the year of many more “distraction storylines,” so my pick goes to “Wonderful Pistachios” who balanced it all well. In part 1, Stephen Colbert bluntly endorses the product by saying little to nothing. Then, in part 2, he sarcastically beefs up the product placement and brand name in flashing lights and a flashy lime green logo print suit – you couldn’t miss it!  If you didn’t immediately understand what they were advertising, then you never will.  For those of you who needed that outrageous wow moment, Stephen’s head was cracked open as a pistachio! The ads were cleverly “over-the-top” at the right time and place, mentioning their brand without too many other random distractions that had nothing to do with pistachios. I think it worked for them this year and allowed viewers to remember the brand just as much as the commercial.


2014 was a great content year for the Super Bowl. The game could have been better…

What was your favorite spot?