Winners and Losers of Super Bowl Ads

Winners and Losers of Super Bowl Ads

Not much can compare to the anticipation of Super Bowl ads. I, for one, wasn’t very excited about the match up this year between the Seahawks and Patriots, as I don’t care much for either team. Then I remembered that each commercial break would bring a chance to critique each ad, at which point I was focused on who would be crowned Super Bowl Commercial Champ at the end of the night.

I read that a 30 second ad for next year’s game will cost $6 million. Considering how much is riding on these advertisements, you would think each would be seriously vetted for any and all possible reactions, good and bad. Let’s discuss some of those winners and losers.

One of my personal favorites was the Dodge “Wisdom” commercial and Carnival’s “Return to the Sea” ad. There’s something about elderly people and the soothing voice-over — do we know if that was JFK? — that always gets me. This particular voice-over reminded of another all-time favorite commercial of mine, the “So God Made a Farmer” ad also by Dodge! They may have it figured out.

All of these ads induce fuzzy feelings for me. Maybe it was nostalgia. But, as I write this, I remembered the companies and the way I felt watching them — I didn’t have to Google them to find out.

As for the losers, the awards go to Nationwide and Go Daddy, in my opinion. Even though I believe the “abandon dog” label was a bit much for the Go Daddy ad, animal cruelty was the overall takeaway for the public. It got pulled before the Super Bowl. Talk about a waste of money!

The most obvious blunder of the evening had to be the Nationwide Insurance ad. They had to release a statement that night about their “Make Safe Happen” ad. I specifically recall gasping when I saw that bathtub filled with water and asking aloud, “Are they really implying a drowning?!” The rest of the commercial was lost anyhow because everyone was talking about how they couldn’t believe the ad’s message.

The words “childhood death” are just a nail in the coffin, people. Absolutely no pun intended.

Advertisers want viewers to get up off their couches and continue thinking about their ad. Which companies had the more critical consumer takeaway? Dodge and Carnival or Nationwide and Go Daddy? I think the Nationwide ad created the most buzz — that of the worst possible kind. Better luck next year.

Laura Scharfeld