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Sunday's newspaper is going to have a way-cool layout of a story I tried to do on what makes a classic Super Bowl ad.Super_bowl_ads

Because you, dear blog consumer, deserve a sneak peek whenever I can give you one, here's a look at what I sussed out, along with lots of links to Super Bowl ad stuff suitable for consuming right up to the Big Game.


When it works:

Edscatherders  The key ingredient for any Super Bowl commercial; the more absurd, the better. Business technology firm EDS’ “cat herding” commercial – with hard bitten cowboys talking up the tough life of wrangling cats – is a recent classic. Etrade’s spot with a guy in an emergency room with money coming out his wazoo is another.

When it doesn’t:

Britney Babyface_bob Too mean, too creepy or just unfunny stuff is deadly. Who thought Bob Dole leering at Britney Spears would sell more Pepsi or farting horses would sell Budweiser?


When it works:

Meanjoe1 Big names work making fun of themselves or twisting their image. Coca Cola’s spot featuring defensive tackle “Mean” Joe Greene tenderly handing a kid his jersey after a football game is one of the best-remembered Super Bowl commercials ever.

When it doesn’t:

Dietpepsipdiddy A celebrity can overwhelm the spot, making the commercial more about the star. Nobody remembers what P. Diddy was pushing in his 2005 Super Bowl ad -- Diet Pepsi, actually – but his ride sure looked fly.


When it works:

Cindyp Best used when there’s just enough sizzle to draw attention. Ali Landry munching Doritos and Cindy Crawford turning young boys heads with the help of a Pepsi excite without requiring a cold shower afterward. (Here's my favorite Cindy Crawford Pepsi ad)

When it doesn’t:

Godaddy  Too much sex, too obvious sex or too creepy. makes a crusade of producing spots the networks won’t air, including one with a woman washing a car that looks more like a strip club lapdance.


When it works:

Apple1984ad It really is a big idea – the right notion at the right time. Apple’s 1984 ad introducing its MacIntosh computer is the best-remembered example; Anheuser Busch’s 2005 spot showing the public applauding troops headed to Iraq is more recent.

When it doesn’t:

Nuveen_tv_ad The idea is too convoluted or too depressing. What does a walking Christopher Reeve have to do with an investment firm? That Nuveen Investments had to constantly explain that connection – good investments might cure problems like the late Reeve’s paralysis – proves its ad didn’t work.   


Kfed K-Fed and National Insurance – The former Mr. Spears is shown in a bling-filled rap video until a crusty boss yells “Federline! Fries!” and we see he’s actually daydreaming while working in a fast food joint. A sorta-celebrity spoofing what he knows we all think of him = success.

Doritos – One of the five finalists in Doritos public contest features a guy taping up his bag with duct tape to stop his roommate; as he closes his door to leave, we see the roommate taped to the back of it with more duct tape. Cool idea + funny twist = success.

The NFL - The winner of the NFL’s American Idol-style commercial pitch competition, New Hampshire’s Gino Bona, describes an NFL spot with teary fans washing off face paint and putting away foam fingers at the season’s end. It’s so good, I don’t even need to see the finished spot, to be revealed today. Average guy + big idea + funny, poignant message = priceless.


[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:37pm]


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