Super Bowl Ads 2011 Missed Opportunity

Good thing for DVR as I now need to go back and watch the Super Bowl. I was too busy watching the commercials and of course tweeting the night away with all of the other marketing and advertising addicted twitter geeks!

I know the social media audience is a tough audience to please. However, from what I could see there was definitely not a lot of excitement over this year's ads.

What was missing? In my opinion the #1 most important aspect that was missing in the majority of ads was an emotional brand connection. It seemed that many of the ads were developed by their special effects internal team or agency without a real strategy.

Yes, I know it is a bonus and goal for most to take their commercial viral. I actually had a tweeter respond to one of my tweets lastnight telling me that Super Bowl advertising is not about brand but about going viral. Hello… since when is going viral not about connecting with an audience??

I disagree 100%. Yes, going viral is great, awesome for that matter. However, if you aren't doing such by increasing brand equity, brand awareness or sales then why the heck would you do such in the current economy. Going viral usually requires a connection of sort be it humor, sadness, anger etc.

Bottom line, connection is the key to successful marketing. Inspire your audiences to connect with you. Spending exorbious amounts of money on an over rated, over complicated commercial is going to do nothing more to inspire connection than the right message said in the right way.  Often times the best ads are those that are the most simple, most easy to understand and remember.

We all have our opinions and favorites regarding the ads. The ones I remember are of course Chrysler, CarMax, NFL, Tiny Dancer and even Kia. I entered the second half with lots of cars to drive but little cravings for Doritos, soda or beer. Hmmm..maybe that is a good thing.  Although I really liked the Chrysler ad, I still struggle with Eminem combined with a church choir. Something about that just rubbed me “awkward” as my 10 yr old would say.

Why was there such a focus on war, border patrol and old cowboys? What happened to the good ol' boys sitting and watching the football game? What happened with making us forget for a few hours the wars, the drowning 401ks? What happened to making me glad I live in this country and have the freedom to buy the products I want, live where I want to live and enjoy my life regardless of if I do it in an Audi, Kia or BMW?

GoDaddy, I guess I am no longer in your target market? Hmmm… maybe that is why I own 150+ domains with your competitors? Definitely didn't inspire me to come back with the ads you ran lastnight!?

Why base a campaign on purchasing a new home, landscaping a yard when half of America just finished foreclosure, is in foreclosure or hoping they can make it thru 2011 without such. I don't think purchasing a new home is what most Super Bowl viewers had on their mind Super Bowl Sunday afternoon. Instead they wanted to enjoy time with family and friends, eat too much food and enjoy a few brewskis made in America.

What would I have liked to see? More of what Chrysler did. Make me feel good about my country, the brands, my life and myself. Give me hope. Help me connect to you as the advertiser. Help me connect to my neighbors, my friends, my colleagues, my family via your brand. Help me connect via the common platform we have by drinking a cold Bud Light or PepsiMax together with a fresh open bag of Doritos. Don't show some guy licking his colleagues finger. I'd have more to say than “stop that” if one of my colleagues did that to me!?

My understanding is there was more than $200 million spent on Super Bowl advertisements this year to reach an audience of approximately $110 million plus. How many of our own homeless people could we take off the streets or how many people could we put in a car to get to work if we took even 50% of that money out and put it to good use.

Next time let's save the 50%. We can then spend the other 50% on actually getting in a room and being creative like the old days. Spend time working on a campaign that sparks a tear, makes someone laugh out loud. An ad that brings out emotion and helps us connect with the brands we love!?  Then I might be inspired to go visit their YouTube channel, comment and tell them thank you for making me feel good!

I saw very few inspirational invitations to join social networks. What a missed opportunity and social proof some of the big brands are yet to successfully leverage social media. It's also proof they are even further away from integrating social media into the DNA of how they also leverage traditional media.  The ads of this Super Bowl almost make me believe they are caught somewhere in limbo as they forgot how to do traditional advertising too?

Next time invite me into your social network. Invite me to help you with your cause. Don't slap a cause on to your commercial and then tweet about it like you were authentic. We're smarter than that and can see you hadn't tweeted about the mentioned charity the past week. Funny how it happened right after the commercial went live and the negative tweets started blasting.

As a marketer I get most frustrated when I see missed opportunity. In my opinion the ads of the Super Bowl were filled with missed opportunity. From social networking, accurate representation of the charities they support, to emotionally connecting with an audience. These in my humble opinion are big misses. Intentional or not, they were missed.

Your Turn?
What was your favorite? Did you feel let down by the quality of ads? What do you feel could have made them better?

p.s. Hey, at least the Packers won.  Sorry, couldn't resist! ;)

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