Super Bowl 50 Punt: What’s so great about the ads?

Sunday’s face off between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers on CBS was—yes, the Super Bowl—but just as many watchers tune in all jacked to check out the ads, advertising and marketing’s own Super Bowl of big spend, big audience and big creativity.

Or so it’s supposed to be.

Watching this year, we had a collective ho-hum moment.  Few ads inspired envy in us, and instead there was an uncomfortable ripple of  “why isn’t this better?”

We’re deconstructing our reactions, and it comes down to a few key points:


So, what did the creative brief say as far as the target viewing audience? We had to wonder if the off-field goal was to score with eight year-old boys. There were more of the usual crop of spots where somebody gets hit in the head or socked in the you-know-where.  Maybe funny after too many brewskis, but we thought it was not only sophomoric, but a tad irresponsible—given that Super Bowl Sunday is reputed to be a bad day for domestic violence.


Often, it felt like there was little strategy other than to get a laugh or simply some degree of attention as fans dash to bathrooms and buffets. Humor, of course, is highly individual.  The Steven Tyler Skittles ad is an example—where is the connection to the brand promise?


Not sure we wanted to see a little intestine having a case of bad-crab-nachos. Xifaxan for stomach upsets was under the radar before Sunday, and we’re betting it’s not registering much better after.


Jeff Goldblum singing the theme song to The Jeffersons while being hoisted up the side of a high-rise apartment building for Anyone who recalls George and Weezie is at least 55, Goldblum is in his 60s…does this make sense?

Sticker shock.

The price tag this year was $5 million for thirty seconds.  The chance to make an impact may be irresistible. But the chance to make great advertising is seemingly less and less. Are there better media for that investment?

We can think of a number of wise, ROI driven alternatives.

Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn


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