Top 3 Super Bowl 44 Commercials

Overall I think this year was an improvement from last year on the so called Brand Bowl front. We saw the return of some of the traditional big players like Budweiser and Coca-Cola and the now expected E-Trades babies and silly Go-Daddy spots, but who were the big winners for tonight? Here are my top 3 with some commentary on why they were successful.

1. Google: Search On

It might have surprised some to see the King of Online Ads make the big Super Bowl investment, but this made total sense. In an obvious response to Microsoft’s television media buys for Bing, Google traded in ubiquitous placement for a one-time hit it out of the park spot. It is already ranked second in number of brand mentions on Twitter (with over 13,000) and about 75% of those mentions are positive. What I loved about this commercial was its focus on the user experience tied with the user’s personal story. It did a great job of reminding us how Google plays a role in our most important life decisions in an almost best friend kind of way, rather than a “big brother-esque” way.

The Bing commercials are funny and certainly make a point, but Google’s point is better. They reminded us of the instinctual user interface we have all come to love while adding an emotional component to search engines. It’s not the decision engine, it’s the “make my world go ’round” engine.

2. Coke: Sleep Walking

I love Coke’s new slogan “Open Happiness.” It ties into that playful, best drink on a hot day, Santa Claus defining, Polar Bear cuteness,  when I see it I know I’m home brand story that Coke owns. This commercial does a good job of selling that idea with an out of the ordinary environment combined with a favorite and familiar drink. There is something about the guy’s face that we can all relate to when he is opening the refrigerator to grab one and then sitting down to enjoy one. There really is a small joy in that moment.

I’ve always been a fan of simple, consumer experience based commercials that tell a story we can all relate to (even if our African plain is really just the walk from one side of our apartment to the other).

3. Kia Sorento: Joy Ride

Unlike the Dodge Charger commercial which not only ignored the female Super Bowl demographic, but completely isolated/offended it, the Kia angle hit home with all kinds of target audiences. You’ve got the iconic Sock Puppet and Yo Gabba for the kids (and of course the Moms who get to watch with them), the hot tub and jumping action for the Dads, the club scene for the younger crowd, and the kids pouring into the back seat to resonate with the older crowd.

This spot did a great job tapping into all of Kia’s target demographics by creating a 30 second consumer experience that embraced all of them. This is just one example of how brands like Kia and Hyundai are working to change perceptions not only about quality, but about the “fun factor” of their cars. This spot worked for Kia.

Ok, that’s my top 3! What do you guys think?

On a side note, I’m surprised that more companies didn’t go the CSR route with their commercials this year. The Saints season, and ultimate Super Bowl victory, is one of the most touching human stories we have seen in sports in awhile. It would have made sense for brands to piggy back off that sentiment by educating consumers about their own victories in local communities and around the world. Were they too scared to go there? I think it was a big missed opportunity.

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