The Top None

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I’d planned in all sincerity to write an essay about the three Super Bowl commercials that I thought wouldn’t get the recognition in most "top ten" lists, but that I believed might actually do something business-wise down the road. I meant it. I wanted to be positive…

…but I just can’t. I can’t think of one spot that is going to matter after today’s Monday morning ad quarterbacking is done.

Sure, there were some funny ones — I liked Betty White getting tackled in the Snicker’s spot — and predictable ones, such as the recurring sexploitation commercials from Go Daddy. Lots of them looked like they’d been produced on a budget, which was probably the case; if anything, what was memorable about the segments was how few of them were really memorable. I’m not talking about commercially-relevant messaging here. I just can’t recall many of them at all.

Aren’t recall and retention of messaging the primary goals of any advertising? You want people to recollect what you beamed at their minds, whether conscious or not, because you want those memories to factor into some future purchase decision. I’ve always thought it was kind of silly that Super Bowl commercials aspired to being funny or cutting-edge in some way or another, almost in a trade-off for saying or showing anything particularly useful to selling stuff. Breaking through the clutter usually means skipping any content that mattered; there’s no correlation that I know of that links the ‘best’ spots with any subsequent business success.

So the fact that outright I can’t remember many of the commercials isn’t a good thing. Oh yeah, that Doritos spot with the guy throwing the chip like a sleeping dart. Great fun. 

I was interviewed late last week by the Chicago Tribune for a story on Motorola’s planned announcement during the game. There’d been build-up re its new phones and the company had produced some teaser spots on YouTube. So what did it announce? I have no idea, really. I think Megan Fox was in a bathtub and took a picture of herself, which proceeded to short out some power lines, etc. It was a spot for MotoBlur which, less than 24 hours later, is absolutely a blur to me.

The coverage today is going to be all about how messages were somehow integrated across platforms; ideas delivered in new or inventive ways; and that brands promoted themselves "out there" to somebody, somewhere, for some reason. All I can think about is that the spots evidence what’s terminally sick about the creative-driven approach to advertising. Those pricey segments could have been put to great, business-useful purposes…and they could have been fun, too.

But what about that game, eh? I think the stuff worth watching happened on the field.

Image source: duane.schoon

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