Posts Tagged ‘trying too hard’

Another Super Bowl Ad review…Wide Right

February 11, 2014

I think most Super Bowl ads miss the point.

You’re on the largest ad stage there is, and most ads aim to get attention instead of driving emotion and message — you already have folks attention. The SuperBowl is probably the one event where people are as excited to watch the commercials as they are to watch the event.  Do you need to entertain, yes, but the right emotion can do that and leave a memorable impression about your brand.  Instead brands seem to settle for spitting on the table, they go after the attention they already have but forget about resonating or connecting.

In the order I saw the ads:

This ad had me hooked. Great copy, “The World is full of giants…,” interesting visuals, and a great read by a child narrator. It was a paean to the little guy, the underdog in all of us (and who doesn’t love the underdog). The ad had me hanging on the edge of my seat, waiting for the reveal, I thought it was the new Chrysler ad, a tribute to America and that uniquely American juxtaposition as the last super power and the world underdog. It had me… until it became and ad for Maserati.

WTF? How? Who? Is Maserati really out there fighting giants? The cars cost like $100,000, they aren’t underdogs at all. It was a jip, and I felt cheated. Seriously the ad left me angry, that they had manipulated me.

Got a laugh from the ad, but so what? Case and point, it entertained, but what’s the message? What’s emotion that Dorritos wants me to feel about their chips? Something worth stealing? Funny, but ultimately pointless, classic super bowl ad.

Huh? What? Who’s the ad for?

Ok, this might have been the best ad of the night. Maybe I was just the right demographic, but it was on-message, it was clever, and it was entertaining. The ad shows Radio Shack gets its out of touch in today’s world, that its been stuck in the 80’s (for lack of a better decade), it says they get they aren’t servicing your needs, and that’s going to change. Good use of the platform to announce a big shift in approach.

Was it a great ad, earth shakingly good? No, it was a little too irreverent to be great, but it was good and made its point.

I know I’m supposed to get all chocked up about this cancer survivor ad from Chevy, but I think it really missed the mark.  Too slow, and why is Chevy supporting Cancer survivors? I mean we all support cancer survivors, but what’s Chevy’s particular interest? How does this reinforce their brand image or message? Just seemed like a slow random spot that was trying too hard to make me feel something.

I liked this commercial too. It says something about the brand, and pertaining to my earlier point, it taps into a particular American contrast — feeling great, but being under estimated or appreciated. My problem with the ad is I have no what Weather Tech is or what they do. I love the positioning, but needed just a little more reinforcement of the information for this ad to be truly effective.

I thought the ad was funny, but unlike the Darth Vader ad,the irreverence in this ad didn’t really connect to a larger message. Somehow there was less a sense of truth in this ad that I could relate to. My kids thought it was funny though, though anytime they hear the word butt they laugh.

I liked this ad too. Unlike the Maserati ad, this ad fits into my  existing schema of what Coke stands for. Its interesting in so far, as its the type of ad a mature brand like coke can run, but a newer brand (Weather Tech) has more trouble pulling off.

I thought this was an interesting ad. I liked the use of Bruce Willis, and thought it was a good message for Honda. The end of the ad feels a little too silly for the message, it felt off tone. I think the ad would have been fine with just Bruce Willis or just someone hugging him (or him hugging his kids or something). The strange guy feels out of place.

Gosh, I would have liked to like this ad. Chrysler is tapping into those big themes, America, the Underdog, exceptionalism, and it had Bob frickin Dylan. I loved their “made in Detroit” campaigns from the last couple of Super Bowls. But this ad just never hooked me. Maybe it was the opening line, “Is there anything more American than America?” Is that supposed to be profound or ironic?

I mean great images, and it did have some great lines, like “you can’t import original, “you can’t import the heart and soul of every man and woman working on the line,” and  “So let Germany brew your beer, let Switzerland make your watch, let Asia assemble your phones, we will build your cars….”

But in the end, the pieces never add up. I wonder if ultimately that’s because of the choice of Dylan, who I see as so anti-establishment. The words seem ironic coming from a man who seems so anti-American exceptionalism in a way (not saying Dylan is anti-America, just that his brand runs counter to all those things associated with… well this ad). Eminem made sense for Chrysler, he’s associated with Detroit and has that edgy bravado they were portraying, Dylan, well, why Dylan? It just never clicked for me despite the various elements.

I thought this was a really nice ad for a sport that’s in decline due to worries about concussions.

It captures a truth, it captures all the things I love about the sport, it captures that unique sense of togetherness, of connection, that being a fan of a team can bring. It was kinda a beautiful spot, and I think potentially a powerful message.

Finally what would a Super Bowl be without a Scientology commercial…? Wait, what? Ok, this one was a bit of a surprise. Religion like politics are hard to judge because so much of your own identity comes into play. That being said, I think this is a pretty good commercial. While it didn’t appeal to me personally, I think it could be effective to connecting with folks who feel lost into’s world. The commercial felt modern and assured, it offered a solution — spirituality (not religion mind you) and technology. That’s a potentially a powerful mix.

As far as branding or re-branding the church, I think if you’ve never heard of or though about scientology its a really effective ad, if you had some idea of what Scientology is before hand, I not so sure it would help to overcome whatever doubts you (or I) hold.

So that’s it. Like the game, I thought the ads were mostly a bust. There were a few good ones, but in general I thought the ads missed the mark.

2+2=3?

April 16, 2013

Let’s take a trip to LA, where they’re having a big Mayor’s race.

This ad is really pretty, well executed ad, but it leaves me feeling flat. Maybe’s it’s Wendy Gruel’s delivery, maybe it’s just that it feels like it’s trying too hard, but in any case it doesn’t grab me they it should given the elements. Like somehow the ad doesn’t add up to the sum of its parts.

Dueling ads, West Virginia Style

April 12, 2011

Guess we got a race for Governor going on in West Virginia. We have a singing candidate, a candidate comparing his dog to being governor, and a guy who goes by “Big,” as in Big John Perdue.

When I write these dueling ad posts, I usually try to take them on one at a time and juxtapose the ads against each other. In this case, that approach didn’t feel right, these ads were crying to be lumped together. For whatever reason, I feel like all three of these ads are just trying way to hard.  It’s like they’re all crying out to be noticed. Look, I get it there’s tremendous pressure these days to stand out from the crowd, but standing out and standing out in the right way are two different things.

In my last post I reviewed an ad that stood out in the right way, in a way that drove a message, and was interesting to watch. Watching the Maloney spot, it starts with this line:

“Reliable… For 13 years…,” yes I’m with you, this is interesting…,”Holly’s trip with the morning newspaper has been as reliable as the morning dawn.” Stunned silence…,cue foghorn,  am I supposed to vote for the dog?  The flat delivery doesn’t help the flat gimmick gain any traction. I guess you may take away the guy is boring and reliable, but at least embrace the boring part, and the reliable part, well they deliver the message, but is it credible? After watching the spot, it’s more credible to say Holly is reliable than her master.

Rick Thompson appears to be singing in his spot. I like the story telling, but not sure the staged scenes are helping.  Again, they feel a little too desperate, like the story wasn’t enough so they had to tell you, instead of showing. The shots at the end transitioning from the actors of him and his grandfather to him and his son that works, but the other shots are a little too on the nose, a little too literal. It would have been better to use snippets of those shots, a closeup of the hand on an old phone, a kid stacking wood. The problem with the shots here is that they don’t convey experience (the emotional experience of what Rick was feeling or the mood they want), they’re like exposition — which always sucks.

Then there’s Big John Perdue.  It’s like if they say the word “Big” enough, we’ll like the spot (with the over done voice over). I assume he’s been called “Big John Perdue” before this spot? (Gosh I certainly hope so.) Again they are trying really hard, but it just doesn’t work. They should have gone all the way with the big John Perdue theme, imagine if they had done something similar to the Jake Zimmerman style here? Slightly tongue in cheek, yes (as it should if you’re gonna call your candidate Big John Perdue in an ad), but I think the hyper reality would have brought out the truth they were trying to convey. Instead, I feel the effort, but I have the same issues as with the other ads, is this credible? Who is this guy? Why should I care.

Sigh.  Who else is running for West Virginia Governor? Because after watching these ads, my vote goes to the dog.

 

Betting on Suffering

July 27, 2010

You knew it was coming, when a guy makes his fortune because he invented trading derivatives, he’s gonna get attacked.  I think this ad suffers from the same issue as the Kirk ads, they’re throwing way too much stuff in there, and it is all coming too fast.

Compare this with the jobs ad against Foley.  This ad feels like an attack ad, and while it throws a lot of punches, I’m not sure they land because there’s no focus on anyone of them.

I do like the end line though. If they had built the case more carefully to lead up to that line, then this would be a much better ad.

This is Different

June 16, 2010

I’m not sure how I feel about this one.

Here’s what I like about it: it’s different, it’s impressionistic rather than linear or literal, and it only tries to make one or two impressions despite all the images.  I also like that they don’t spend time trying to explain what we’re seeing though a couple of the shots at the end had me perplexed as to their meaning.

Maybe more importantly the spot seems to capture the little I know about Alan Grayson — he’s bold and out spoken, and this spot is certainly bold.  It feels true to him.

Why am I conflicted? I don’t know. I almost didn’t write this post because I don’t like writing I don’t know, it’s not satisfying for me, and I’m sure it’s pretty boring to read. Just something rubs me the wrong way.

It’s just a feeling, that the spot is trying to hard or something.  Maybe that’s it, I can feel creators presence, but not in a guiding Errol Morris kind of way, but in an overdone Michael Bay way.    Maybe that’s something voters won’t notice, maybe it only bothers me.  Maybe it’s what works for the spot because it fits Grayson, but it makes me not want to like the spot.


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