Super Bowl ads battle for top spot
Super Bowl ads ranged from overweight dogs to naked M&Ms. In the end, the game between the Patriots and Giants outshone the Super Bowl ads.
The pressure was on. The tension was thick. And then, there were yawns in between.Skip to next paragraph
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The Super Bowl may have been a nail biter, but the ads were a snooze.
Companies paid an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot for the right to duke it out Sunday in front of the expected 111 million-plus fans. But it was all so ordinary with fewer surprises.
That's mostly because nearly half of the 70 Super Bowl advertisers put their spots out online in the days leading up to the game. That's a big difference from last year when only a few spots were released ahead of time. And the companies that did wait until game day for the "big reveal" didn't take many risks. In fact, most settled on cliché plots with kids, celebs, sex and humor.
"Advertisers this year are playing it very safe," said Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University. "They're running spots that are clearly designed to appeal to a broad audience and not to offend."
Here's a look at the game's ads, play by play:
SEX SELLS — OR AT LEAST ADVERTISERS HOPE IT DOES
Advertisers showed a little skin in their Super Bowl.
An ad for domain name-hosting site GoDaddy shows racecar driver Danica Patrick and fitness expert Jillian Michaels body painting a nude woman. A spot for clothing retailer H&M features soccer star David Beckham in black-and-white in his undies. And online florist Teleflora and automaker Kia both use Victoria Secret's model Adriana Lima in their Super Bowl ads.
But perhaps the two most blatant examples of "letting it all hang out" came from car companies.
And among the few standouts for the night was a Fiat ad that equated seeing the car for the first time with making out with a sexy Italian super model. The tagline: "You'll never forget the first time you see one."
"They did a good job of showing that some decisions are made with the heart, some decisions are made with the head and the Italian car decision resides in the groin," said Greg Dinoto, chief creative officer of advertising agency Deutsch in New York. "It was sexy and surprising and fun."
BABIES AND DOGS, OH MY
Who doesn't love cute animals and babies? Advertisers are banking there aren't many among us.
That's why Doritos used both. One Doritos spot shows a man being bribed by a dog with the chips to keep the animal's dirty secret about a cat's disappearance. In another spot, a grandmother uses a slingshot to hoist a baby up to grab a bag of Doritos that belongs to a boy in a tree who had been taunting the baby with the chips.
Those two ads were crowd favorites, said Peter Dabol, who analyzes advertising effectiveness at research firm Ace Metrix. The firm polled 500 viewers about the ads to find the most popular.
Making a Difference