While the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens battle on the field during Super Bowl XLVII, marketers from Best Buy to M&M to Toyota competed against each other on advertising's biggest stage. And they're doing so by pulling out the most persuasive tools of their trade.The stakes were high, with 30-second spots going for as much as $4 million this year. And more than 111 million viewers were expected to tune in.
ADS FOCUS ON BABIES AND FAMILIES
- Hyundai's "Epic Playdate" spot right before kickoff showed a family partying with the band The Flaming Lips: wreaking havoc at a natural history museum, getting chased by bikers, going to a petting zoo and playing in a park. "Make every day epic with the new seven-passenger Santa Fe," a voiceover states.
When the family gets back home and the daughter asks, "What are we going to do now?" The father replies, "Well, I think there's a game on," and the broadcast went straight to the kickoff.
- Audi's 60-second ad in the first quarter, with an ending voted on by viewers, shows a boy gaining confidence from driving his father's Audi to the prom, kissing the prom queen and getting decked by the prom king.
- Toyota's ad stars Kaley Cuoco from CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" granting wishes to a family, from a boy wanting to go into space to a dad wanting to lose his "spare tire"
HUMOR IS KEY
- Best Buy's 30-second ad in the first quarter starred Amy Poehler, of NBC's "Parks and Recreation," asking a Best Buy employee endless questions about electronics.
"Will this one read "50 shades of Grey to me in a sexy voice," Poehler asks about an e-book reader. When the staffer says no she asks, "Will you?"
- M&M's showed its red spokescharacter singing Meatloaf's "I Would Do Anything For Love," and wooing beautiful women, but stopping short when they try to eat him.
- Oreo's ad featured a showdown in a library between people fighting over whether the cookie or the cream is the best part of the cookie. The joke - the fight escalates into thrown chairs and other destruction, but because the fight is in a library, everyone still has to whisper.
- Doritos went for humor with its two user-created spots. Winners of the "Crash the Super Bowl" contest included one about a Doritos-crazy goat. Another showed a dad playing princess with his daughter to get Doritos. His buddies catch him, but instead of making fun of him they join in the fun.
"Is that my wedding dress?" says his wife when she sees them playing.
- Budweiser showed rival 49ers and Ravens fans each creating a voodoo doll for the other team with the help of a mysterious figure in a bar. "It's only weird if it doesn't work," reads the copy.
- Taco Bell showed a group of seniors partying, getting tattoos, and eating its Doritos Locos Tacos
- R&B legend Stevie Wonder and actress Zoe Saldana makes a rare appearance in a Voodoo ad for Bud Light
- Subway uses celebs, including Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, boxer Laila Ali and Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers, trying to say "Febru-any
- The Milk Processor Education Program, known as MilkPep and popular for its "Got Milk?" print ads, featured actor and professional wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in a 30-second ad in which he battles all kinds of oddities on his way to get milk.
- Chrysler made a splash with a two-minute spot during halftime showing families waiting for their family members to return home from serving with the armed forces abroad. Media mogul and TV personality Oprah Winfrey read a letter from the Jeep brand to encourage families to stay hopeful.
-Tracy Morgan of "30 Rock," appeared in ad for Kraft's Mio Fit water enhancing drops
SEX STILL SELLS
- Calvin Klein upped the sex appeal with a 30-second spot showing male model Matthew Terry strutting around in underwear.
- Godaddy.com's spot toed the line of good taste, showing a close up extended kiss between supermodel Bar Refaeli and a nerdy nobody to illustrate Godaddy's combo of "sexy" and "smart."
- Budweiser introduced its new Black Crown Lager with two sleek spots that showed sexy twentysomethings drinking the high-alcohol beer at a chic urban party.
WATCH EVERY AD AGAIN
quarter-by-quarter, or look an up by sponsor
Staff Favorites: From Buffalo's Early News
Susan Rose's Favorite: The Budweiser Clydesdales
(see below for video) " It was heartwarming.
John Zach's pick: " I'd have to pick that one too. It was nostalgic."
Chris Johnson's favorite:
The Doritos Goat.
"It was the first one that really jumped out at me. I'd have to go with that one." (video at right)
Randy Bushover's favorite:
"Tide's Miracle Stain" (see video below) It was the only one that made me laugh out loud. At the end, I let out a "Ha!"
Dave Debo's Pick:
Audi- The Prom:
" It was fun, and I thought it really connected the message to the product, instead of just being fun and interesting."
Adman Bill Collins's Favorite?
"The jeep and the ram. ... For me, what really got me at the pump was those two spots. For me, patriotism still sells"
Hear more from Collins:
Buffalo's Early News In Depth:
From Travers Collins:
Vote for your favorite
From USA Today's Ad Meter.....
Here are the Top Three Ads Rated By Fans.
#1-- Budewiser: The Clydesdale
#2 --- Tide Stain Remover :" The Miracle Stain"
#3 --- Dodge Ram Trucks: "The Farmer"
Other Super Bowl ads this year morphed into mini soap operas.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson shrugged off aliens so he could get more milk for his kids in a Super Bowl spot for the Milk Processor Education Program. Anheuser-Busch's commercial told the story of a baby Clydesdale growing up and returning to his owner for a heartfelt hug years later. And a Jeep ad portrayed the trials and triumphs of families waiting for their return of family members.
The reason for all the drama off the field? With 30-second spots going for as much as $4 million and more than 111 million viewers expected to tune in, marketers are constantly looking for ways to make their ads stand out. And it's increasingly difficult to captivate viewers with short-form plots involving babies, celebrities, sex and humor - unless there's a compelling story attached.
"A lot of advertisers are running long commercials to tell these stories that engage people often in a very emotional way," said Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. "These spots that tell stories really stand out in the clutter."
TEAR-JERKING MINI EPICS
Chrysler started the long-format commercial trend last year, with a two-minute spot starring Clint Eastwood that became very popular.
This year, Chrysler led the trend again with its two-minute salute to troops and their families. The ad featured Oprah Winfrey reading a letter from the Jeep brand to encourage families to stay hopeful.
Wendy Ochoa, a high school teacher who lives in Novi, Mich., said the ad was very emotional. "It tugs on your heartstrings," Ochoa, 44, said. "How can it not?"
Anheuser-Busch also pulled at heartstrings with a spot about a baby Clydesdale growing up and moving away from his farm and his trainer. Years later, the horse remembered the trainer after returning for a parade. He raced down a street to hug him.
"The Budweiser commercial with the Clydesdale made me cry," said Wendy Ponzo, 49, who was watching the game in Pont Pleasant, N.J.
Lincoln's 90-second ad was inspired by tweets by fans about road trips. The company asked people to send their stories, and Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," decided on which tales would be used.
From CBS News.com
The ad, which was based on more than 6,000 tweets from fans, shows adventures during a fictional road trip. A woman picks up a German hitchhiker, and they go to an alpaca farm, get stopped by turtles crossing the road, and drive through a movie set.
Rap pioneer Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons and Wil Wheaton, who acted in "Star Trek: The Next Generation," made cameos in the spot.
Coca-Cola created an ad based on an online campaign that pit three groups - a troupe of showgirls, biker style badlanders and cowboys - against each other in a race through a desert for a Coke.
Starting Jan. 23 and continuing through the end of the Super Bowl, viewers voted online for their favorite group. The group with the most votes - the showgirls - were revealed when the Super Bowl ended.
Audi also went with an ad that told a story - and was inspired by viewers. The company's 60-second ad featured an ending that was voted on by viewers prior to the game.
In the ad, a boy gains confidence from driving his father's Audi to the prom, kisses the prom queen once he arrives at the dance and gets decked by the prom king. In the end, he drives back home with a smile on his face.
The Audi mini-epic was a favorite of Super Bowl viewer Stephanie Bice, 39, a business development director in Oklahoma City.
"It was fun and whimsical," Bice said.
COMEDY GOES LONG
Not all of the storytelling ads were dramatic, though.
Samsung's two-minute ad showed Seth Rogen ("The Guilt Trip") and Paul Rudd ("Role Models") getting called in to do a "Next Big Thing" ad for Samsung. But they're agitated once they realize that they're sharing the spotlight. LeBron James, an NBA basketball player for the Miami Heat, makes a cameo, appearing on the screen of a tablet.
The ad won over some fans in the ad world.
"I could watch the Samsung ad over and over again," said David Berkowitz, vice president at digital marketing agency 360i. "It's as good as any Seth Rogen movie."
Budweiser, a long-time Super Bowl advertiser, also told a continuing story in two of its ads. One showed rival 49ers and Ravens fans each creating a voodoo doll for the other team with the help of R&B legend Stevie Wonder. In the other ad, fans go to great lengths to curse a rival fan's "lucky chair."
"It's only weird if it doesn't work," the words in the ad read.
Mercedes-Benz's 90-second ad had a Faustian plot.
A devilish Willem Dafoe ("Spider-Man") shows a man everything that comes with a Mercedes-Benz CLX: A date with supermodel Kate Upton, dancing with Usher, driving around with beautiful girls, getting on the cover of magazines including Vanity Fair and GQ, getting to drive on a racetrack.
The man almost signs his soul away for the car. But then he sees a billboard that says the car starts at $29,900, and doesn't sign.
NOT EVERY AD TELLS A STORY
Although many advertisers tried to pull people in with lengthy story lines, there were a few that stuck with short, quirky spots with no particular plot.
GoDaddy.com's ad was one of them. It showed a close up, extended kiss between supermodel Bar Refaeli and a nerdy guy wearing glasses to illustrate GoDaddy's combo of "sexy" and "smart."
Some viewers thought the ad was too explicit for the Super Bowl.
"I don't care who wins the game. I just don't want to see that commercial again, ever," said Stephen G. Smith, 63, an editor at The Washington Times in Washington, D.C.
Stephanie Malone from DeKalb, Ill., agreed: "GoDaddy should be ashamed."
Striking a less controversial note, Best Buy's 30-second ad in the first quarter starred Amy Poehler, of NBC's "Parks and Recreation," asking a Best Buy employee endless questions about electronics.
"Will this one read `50 Shades of Grey' to me in a sexy voice?" Poehler asks about an e-book reader. Then, when the staffer says no she asks, "Will you?"
M&M's spot showed its red spokescharacter singing Meatloaf's "I Would Do Anything For Love," and wooing beautiful women. But the M&M stopped short when the women try to eat him.
And Oreo's ad featured a showdown in a library between people fighting over whether the cookie or the cream is the best part of the cookie. The punch-line? The fight escalates into thrown chairs and other destruction, but because the fight is in a library, everyone still has to whisper.
The ad directed users to follow Oreo on Instagram photo-sharing site, where they could continue the "cookie vs. cream" debate. Meanwhile, Oreo was quick to capitalize on the blackout that hit the game for about 30 minutes in the third quarter. It tweeted a picture of an Oreo in the half-dark with the words: "You can still dunk in the dark."