Talking Super Bowl Ads with NPR, and my list of favorite spots to see before the big game
Good news for Super Bowl fans who find the game a pesky diversion from what you really care about: The ads.
Now you don't have to wait until the game to see them.
Thanks to Volkswagen's success last year with a Super Bowl ads they released early of a kid in a Darth Vader suit, many big advertisers have released their commercials early online, hoping for viral buzz which builds awareness.
As I told NPR Thursday, this is a war for the second screen everyone is using; according to some marketers, as many as 60 percent of Super Bowl viewers will have another screen in front of them, from ipads to smartphones.
And since the super-expensive ads (priced at an average $3.5-million per 30 seconds this year) usually kick off a year-long marketing campaign, advertisers love an environment where a commercial gets free exposure online and in news coverage before the game (the Ferris Bueller homage featured in the picture to the side has racked up 9-million-plus views BEFORE it hits the game.
So look below for my conversation with NPR and enjoy:
Best use of Seinfeld
Other than his standup, I haven't found much from Jerry Seinfeld which made me laugh after he left his classic sitcom -- until this inspired commercial, featuring an amazing cameo from Jay Leno.
Best use of Shatner
Priceline.com’s Super Bowl ad shows the heroic end of William Shatner’s Negotiator character, plunging to his death after saving a bus full of people he urged to “save yourself…some money.” Cool punchline: lady books a hotel as bus bearing Shatner explodes, then lady turns and says “It’s what he would have wanted.” If only Captain Kirk’s death in the Star Trek movies had been so sly.
Best shot at a repeat of last year’s success
Volkswagen’s “The Bark Side” ad features a chorus of dogs shouting out the theme music used to introduce Darth Vader in Star Wars. A way cool shout out to last year’s cutesy commercial with the little boy dressed like Vader. And the geek in me – okay, most of me – loves the dog dressed like the giant armored transports from the Empire Strikes Back
Worst shot at a repeat of last year's success
Turns out "The Bark Side" was a trailer for this spot, which is a classic case of marketers getting so jazzed by past success, they forget why we liked their original ad in the first place.
Most annoying ex-athlete
“Neon” Deon Sanders takes a prize that’s tough to win when Terry Bradshaw is onscreen, wearing a Pepto Bismol pink blazer for a Century 21 ad and loads of self-satisfied attitude for a Bridgestone tire commercial featuring footballs made of treads. Nothing more annoying than a sorts star who doesn’t know when he’s being overbearing (that means you, too, Bradshaw!)
Best use of nostalgia
Yeah, it feels weird seeing Matthew Broderick reprise his Ferris Bueller character 26 years later, just to cavort around Los Angeles in a Honda CR-V (especially since the ad airs on Sunday when, you know, most people aren’t actually working). But the result is a modern take on all the stuff we’d want to see in a Bueller sequel with two cool advantages: it only last 2 ½ minutes online (1-minute during Super Bowl), and there’s no Ben Stein. Ohhh, yeeeah.
Best grab at Twilight’s audience
Audi’s ad featuring a vampire who drives up to party in a car with LED headlights which make every bloodsucker explode, works wonderfully. For Twilight fans, it’s a fun shout out to their favorite films; for haters, it’s a demonstration of what we’d love to do to Edward and Co., anyway. Everybody wins.