Big Game Brand Exposure – Reviews from Our Own Marketing Pros

Posted by Paladin on February 08, 2016

Sunday’s broadcast of the Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers garnered the second highest overnight rating on record for the big game, behind only last year, according to Nielsen. Because of the record number of viewers two years in a row, companies and advertisers take full advantage of the platform for brand exposure.

An effective ad works best when it strikes a chord in the needs and desires of the consumer—and this year’s commercial advertisements did just that. They were emotive, and at times, downright funny.

Here’s what some of our very own marketers had to say about their favorite commercials:

Doritos© | Ultrasound

Review by Billy Bellis

I’m a sucker for animals, so I enjoyed many of this year’s commercials, but the Doritos commercial stood out. I know, I know… it might seem like a cop out to select this obvious, ridiculous and silly commercial from a fairly sophisticated pool, but I guess I’m also a sucker for the ridiculous and silly.

Let’s answer some questions about this TV ad to explain why it’s a winner. Was it unique? Yes. Was it humorous? Yes (at least to everyone I know). Did the product get lost in the uniqueness and humor? No, that classic red/orange bag and some lucky chips were front and center. Did it make any sort of point beyond Doritos being delicious? Yes, you can eat them anywhere, anytime—literally. Will it make me buy Doritos? Well, I’ve always bought them, at least when I skip the baked chips. Will I eat them at an important life event? Why not? Is the ad generating as much social buzz as other commercials? Yep.

What more could you ask for in a big game commercial!

Watch Doritos© “Ultrasound” commercial here.

MINI USA |#DefyLabels

Review by Meredith Fordham Hughes

#defylabels by MINI is a masterpiece of advertising. The campaign beautifully draws parallels between the all-star cast of game changers and the quirkiness of this iconic automobile. Obviously, MINI is trying to sell cars, but they have brilliantly entered into a topic that is near and dear to so many of our hearts – how to successfully and happily be yourself.

Serena Williams, Abby Wambach, Randy Johnson, Tony Hawk, T-Pain and Harvey Keitel are all featured in the TV ad. However, the individual interviews featured on YouTube are worth watching as well. Serena and Abby’s videos deliver powerful messages on how they have been labeled as female athletes and how they get past them. However, T-Pain is my personal favorite of these. He is funny, sporting vampire fangs, and ends with, “There is no way to keep me down. I rise from the ashes…”

The messaging and style speak to the larger trend in content creation and a deeper comprehension of what drives brand loyalty in Millennials and Generation Z. Theses videos will leave you feeling empowered and that MINI is a brand that is real and truly understands its customer.

Watch MINI USA’s “#DefyLabels” commercial here.

And, if you geek out on behind the scenes videos, be sure to watch this one.

T-Mobile | The Battle of the Networks

Review by Laila Howard

The epic battle for our cell service has raged for decades. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are notorious for their contentious ad campaigns. The most recent spar involves colorful balls sliding down slopes and Verizon started it.

Verizon recently premiered an ad comparing the speed and reliability of their service to all three of their top competitors. The seemingly scientific study, made an impact and has been their lead ad for weeks. If you have not seen the spot that started it all, check it out. Sprint made their stand next, undercutting Verizon’s claims using the same visual and an “independent” study of their own. The Sprint ad ended with their Pay to Switch promotion, offering Verizon customers a simple way out of Verizon’s contract and into Sprint’s. If you have not seen it, take a look.

Though Sprint puts forth an offer few could refuse, I have to name T-Mobile the winner. If you want your ad to pack a punch, premiere it during the 50th anniversary of the big game. Sunday night, you may have seen Steve Harvey apologizing for yet another mistake. Only this time, he wasn’t dethroning a Miss America contestant; he was burying Verizon’s tainted study with millions of pink spheres. In a 30 second ad spot T-Mobile called out Verizon’s biased study, reminded us of their growing capability as a network provider, and vindicated Steve Harvey. Apparently, it’s never too late to #ballogize.

T-Mobile won the cell service battle on the field, and I haven’t even mentioned Drake.

Watch T-Mobile’s “The Battle of the Networks” ad here.

T-Mobile | Restricted Bling

Review by Jason Provost

In another T-Mobile ad, rap star Drake is featured in his gyrating glory, as he dances inside his colorful box in the often parodied “Hotline Bling” video. In the 30-second commercial spot, Drake sings the infamous lyric, “you used to call me on my cell phone”, before a trio of lawyers put an abrupt halt to the video shoot and insist that the phrase is just a little too vague.

The lawyers suggest changes to the song and ask Drake to add in some terms & conditions to the rap lyrics, such as a required 24-month wait time for upgrade eligibility and that streaming music will incur data charges. Drake is all too excited. He smiles, agrees that the changes don’t ruin the song and goes back to dancing for the video.

The T-Mobile message at the end of the spot is that “wireless carriers ruin everything” and “stream all you want”, with the call-to-action being for the consumer to switch over to their cell service. The hashtag “#YouGotCarriered” is the social hashtag.

My first thought? Yes. A whole lot of yes. Can this be a whole series? Can we get Julia Louis-Dreyfuss to make an appearance as Elaine Benes and join him in the box? How do we make this happen?

My analysis. In the end, it’s a pretty effective commercial. It’s moderately funny, and we get to see Drake kick and twirl his hand to that catchy song. It’s also co-branded with Apple, which is meant to assert that you won’t pay any data for streaming if you have an Apple Music subscription. The #YouGotCarriered garnered some pretty positive feedback over Twitter, and the brand was very active with engagement during the big game.

On the flip side. Who would ever get excited about a cell phone carrier? Are any of them any good? We all know better. And I’d imagine that the folks who’ve never heard of the song or seen the video were pretty confused. *But to be fair, weren’t we all a little confused when we first saw that video?*

Bottom line: I’d say this goes in the “win” column, and I’d imagine the folks at T-Mobile are pretty happy with it.

Watch T-Mobile’s “Restricted Bling” ad here.

Mountain Dew | PuppyMonkeyBaby

Review by Sam Holland

Weirdest or most ingenious ad ever? Aside from the commercial itself being genuinely disturbing (you’re lying to yourself if you didn’t cringe a little), I definitely think it was successful. Not only did the bizarre trifecta of “puppy, monkey, baby” clearly correlate with the new combination the product is offering but it was so, so, so strange that OF COURSE you’re going to remember it, and talk about it, and tweet about it, which creates buzz. As a marketer, it’s an epic brand awareness campaign.

And, for brands with budgets worthy of the big game, it’s just the beginning. This crazy, out-of-the-box ad is the impetus for a whole host of story telling opportunities that will allow Mountain Dew to penetrate new customer segments. It even gives them a chance to convert people into buying the beverage that found the ad really uncomfortable and weird. The possibilities are endless.

So this begs the question: will the success of Puppy Monkey Baby unleash a whole new marketing approach geared toward ads that are designed to shock and dismay? Probably. Will they be successful too? Only time will tell.

Watch Mountain Dew’s “PuppyMonkeyBaby” commercial here.

Budweiser | Simply Put

Review by Collin Webb

The advertisement that carried the most gravitas of the night came from Budweiser. It opens with a humorous juxtaposition: renowned English actress Helen Mirren sitting in a dive bar with a cheeseburger, fries, and a Budweiser. Mirren delivers an erudite description of what she thinks of people who make the decision to drive drunk, calling them “shortsighted, utterly useless, oxygen-wasting human form of pollution.” Mirren’s unorthodox approach to a public service announcement was not only entertaining but also highly effective. Kudos to Budweiser for using their time and money to address a topic that desperately needs to be in the minds of the viewing public. Simply put, it was advertising done right.

Watch Budweiser’s “Simply Put” commercial here.

Budweiser was also inadvertently part of the best advertisement of the night. In his postgame interview, Peyton Manning told Tracy Wolfson that he planned to “drink a lot of Budweiser tonight.” The NFL prohibits its athletes from endorsing alcoholic beverages, so Manning’s comments should lead to a fine. However, many are speculating that he will be ending his career following his second championship victory and that his comment was a hint at his upcoming retirement. That’s quite the endorsement in a huge moment from one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

Watch Peyton’s interview here.

Do you agree with these reviews? What are your favorite commercials from the big game?

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