A week ago the impossible happened – a Super Bowl that was WAY more exciting than the ads.
Still, duty calls – – it’s taken a week to fully process the advertising train wreck but the result is worth the wait.
The Armchair MBA carefully analyzed the reviews of 10 respected entities (plus a timid peep from Harvard Business School), summarily ignored them and can now announce the REAL best and worst ads of 2018.
Super Bowl spots, in particular, need to stand out in a hyper-charged environment, create water cooler (social) chat to extend the brand, and ultimately move the brand forward.
Clicking on this chart will blow it up so you can see where everyone came out.
Included at no extra charge – charming, witty, pithy bons mots! It’s so worth it!
We generally subscribe to the ADPLAN evaluation system set up by the Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Attention, Distinction, Positioning, Linkage, Amplification and Net Equity).
First, a few general observations:
- When everyone does anthemic feel-good ads to set themselves apart from the competition, everyone starts looking the same. In some cases I was moved almost to tears and had no idea which brand I should hug.
- I have a dream that in the future, companies won’t feel compelled to stretch to co-opt (read: exploit) a universal good (cancer research, disaster relief, first responders, and BABIES!) to draw attention. Winner (loser) by a long shot in this category – – Ram Trucks.
- LCD humor apparently remains a reliable go-to for advertisers (see: Febreze, M&Ms).
- Not as many animals this year (no Clydesdales, Doberhuahua or Puppymonkeybaby), BUT we still had more than enough with Yellow Tail’s ‘Roo, TurboTax’s monster under the bed…and Steven Tyler.
- Personality counts a LOT! Morgan Freeman continues to define ‘Maximum Possible Q Score’, Peyton Manning is a reservoir of humor and credibility (especially since the divorce from Papa John), and Eli, he of the permanently blank expression, will always be the little brother.
Selected Best Ads
- Echo (Amazon) – – witty, creative, great cameos, and the product is the whole point
- Doritos/Mtn Dew — great pairing, both products and performers, with a high fun factor
- US Olympic Committee – – in the grand tradition of Up Close and Personal, terrific effort at personalizing the competitors (particularly important in light of current controversies). Incorporating childhood photo/video a big plus.
- Tourism Australia – – in a head-fake worthy of Doug Pederson, grabs your attention and keeps it
- Tide (It’s a Tide Ad) – – P&G threw a long ball with several executions of this campaign spoofing other campaigns (see above), and scored. The premise of ‘if it’s clean, it must be Tide’ could not be more spot-on (pun intended)
- Rocket Mortgage – – humorous, relatable, and highly relevant to the product
- Sprint – – a bunch of robots who make the logic work, and then crack wise, make it a strong spot
- Ram Trucks – – #1 stinkeroo. Someone thought it would be a good idea to use the words of MLK Jr. to elevate…a truck. Shame on Ram Trucks, and shame on the MLK family, for that matter.
- Squarespace – -in a way, they’ve become sort of a reliable companion in the stinker category. This year, we had Keanu Reaves riding a motorcycle standing up and…pontificating.
- T-Mobile – – a high-concept ad which pans over a multitude of infants, and unsuccessfully tries to make some sort of connection to the product. Creepy.
- Febreze – – ironically in the stinkeroo category. Maybe the man’s *** don’t stink – -but that doesn’t mean the copy is something you want to be around
- NFL – – I’m apparently a voice in the wilderness here. Most people found the Eli/Odell pas de deux a charming play off the iconic Dirty Dancing scene. I just thought it was forced, clumsy and unfunny. Plus, not sure what the message was.
Maybe like the E*Trade commercial says, I’m just getting old.