Super Bowl XLV was a record-breaking platform for some brand marketers.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of mediocre advertisements among the five dozen national spots that appeared between kickoff of the Super Bowl and the game’s end.
The overall entertainment level and presumed effectiveness of the event's body of work was below par.
But several spots and brands sank even beneath that low mean. Here they are, in one correspondent’s view, in alphabetical order by brand.
CareerBuilder.com: The chimpanzees were cute, attention-getting and perhaps even buzz-building a few years ago. But at this point, we rise to get chip dip when they come on. CareerBuilder’s ad about an unfortunate guy getting stuck by monkeys “between a bad job and a hard place” didn’t move any kind of needle.
Coca-Cola: After watching the “Siege” spot a handful of times post-game, it’s still way too difficult to figure out exactly what’s going on in this fantasy-video-game-like narrative – or why we should care. Here’s a case where a brand could have spent $6 million on social media instead of making a traditional-media “statement” that didn’t say anything.
GoDaddy.com: Dull, full-bore sexism and vulgarity have become the brand’s well-traveled companions in past Super Bowls, so it’s no surprise that they were the domain-name giant’s featured characteristics this time around. The worst of its two spots was an amateurish tease to reveal, of all people, Joan Rivers, as the “the new .CO girl.”
Hyundai: A disappointing performance by the upstart brand may have been inevitable after its last two highly successful Super Bowl stints. But this Hyundai spot was a confusing, kaleidoscopic critique of the compact segment that failed to turn viewers on to the wonders of its Elantra. And what does the car have to do with an “animal spirit”?
Mini: Really – BMW couldn’t figure out any better way to kindle interest in its Countryman model, with a more capacious rear end than you might expect, than to make one heinous 30-second-long reference to “cram[ming] it in the boot”? Taste doesn’t always sell, and tastelessness sometimes does. But this below-the-belt allegory won’t do Mini much good.
PepsiMax: The brand explored the evening’s familiar first-date theme in about the crudest way possible, as a young man kept thinking, “I want to sleep with her,” while his date conducted an inner monologue about the guy’s income potential and whether he wanted kids. Many lines less brazen could have worked just as well.
Skechers: Isn’t just about everybody as sick as can be of Kim Kardashian? In this spot, the “actress” brought to bear the same on-stage acuity that was so brilliantly on display in her Dancing With the Stars stint a couple of years ago. Only, this time, it came in a sort of low-porn setting that didn’t do anything good for the brand. The Skechers brand, that is; this was par for the course for Kardashian's personal brand.
Snickers: The candy brand’s “You’re not you when you’re hungry” theme has officially jumped the shark, with this ad. No one even knows who Richard Lewis is anymore. And while we all don’t mind seeing Roseanne Barr take a mudbath, that’s a trick Snickers shouldn’t have gone back to after abusing Betty White in its engaging Super Bowl ad last year.
Stella Artois: AB-InBev would have gotten more mileage out of a Budweiser ad than this spot promoting one of its lesser-known, upscale brands. The theme of a man picking his beer over a babe has been beaten to death by brewers. Yet, Stella Artois spent as much as $6 million to show actor Adrien Brody crooning to a room of deceived women.
Teleflora: Are we disappointed that Faith Hill participated in this dip into sleaze because we’ve unfairly idealized her? Perhaps. But the brand isn’t going to score points with women anticipating a bouquet of flowers on Valentine’s Day with this spot, where a guy wants to write an ode to his girlfriend’s “rack” using Teleflora.