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Super Bowl ads get graded

Super Bowl XLVIII was “a pretty fair year for the advertisers.”

So said John E. Neal, assistant visiting professor of marketing at Fairfield University’s Charles F. Dolan School of Business and former executive vice president and general manager of ad agency Campbell Mithun. Neal teaches courses in media strategy, public relations, consumer behavior and marketing and is a recipient of the Dolan School’s “Excellence in Teaching Award.”

“America and traditional values won the day, with advertiser after advertiser talking about our troops, jobs and old fashioned values,” said Neal, who also was an ad man for Young & Rubicam before entering academia. “All the wild exploding and preposterous commercials seemed to just blend together.”

Neal offered his thoughts on the Super Bowl commercials from a marketing point of view, revealing who got their money’s worth and who did not:

Best Five:
Budweiser – “No surprise here. Budweiser, the world’s most popular beer, simply has to hit consumer emotions and American values to remind people that Bud is ‘America’s beer.’ Puppies and horses are an automatic heart tug.”

Jaguar – “The ‘bad guys’ commercial really fit Jaguar’s brand image, reminding us that we seem to covet everything British and that Jaguar is both stylish and ‘dangerous.’ Perfect for their target audience.”

Wonderful Pistachios – “Finally, a commercial that is about nothing but the product they are trying to sell. Stephen Colbert did not overpower the message about the brand.”

Microsoft – “Simply told America the advantages of the brand in an emotional way. Not your usual tech commercial.”

Chrysler – “Eminem, then Eastwood, now Dylan – they keep surprising us with celebrities that are famous and quintessential ‘America.’ Chrysler’s determined copy about their vehicles and the foreign competition really hits home with our current ‘USA!’ feelings. I’d run this commercial again in the Winter Olympics.”

Worst Five:
GoDaddy – “Both the job quitter and poor Danica Patrick in a body builder suit were just silly, and 90 percent of us still don’t really know after all these years what GoDaddy does.”

Maserati – “What on earth is an automobile that costs more than a year’s pay for most Super Bowl viewers doing on this program? Better to run a print ad in an upscale magazine and save the money.”

Audi – “Their campaign recently taking on Mercedes has been enormously successful raising the perception of Audi. Why move away from that successful strategy with a weird and scary dog that has nothing to do with a luxury automobile?”

T-Mobile – “Is it just me, or did anyone else feel really sorry for Tim Tebow for having to go through all this humiliation of no longer being a star athlete? I would rather he had a contract.”

Toyota – “Boy, I can’t wait to buy a car that the Muppets like! So much for raising the profile of a fine line of cars. I don’t want a toy vehicle driven by a frog.”


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