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First Thought: Asynchronous “Super Bowl Ads”

Living in London and being a fan of American football is a tad rough. Watching games aren’t necessarily easy given lack of access and the time difference. Also, there happens to be another kind of football which is a little more popular over here in Europe. Luckily, the Super Bowl is playing on BBC1 as my beloved Patriots look to have their sweet, yes I’ll say it, “revenge” against the same Giants team that ruined their perfect 19-0 season back in 2007. A big part of any Super Bowl is the ridiculously expensive, over-produced television commercials. Because I doubt I’ll see the US commercials here in London, I sought out the ads on the web. What I found: Super Bowl ads really aren’t for the “Super Bowl” anymore.

First off, there are multiple places you can watch Super Bowl commercials now before the Super Bowl. In fact, you’ve been able to watch quite a few of them for a week or more on FastCompany or SuperBowl-Commercials.org. The latter already has a ranking system built out for the best rated. We already have a pretty good idea of what spot will be deemed most successful.

Second, the most successful TV spot for 2011 is widely believed to be the The Force by Volkswagen. It’s an endearing and funny ad featuring a young “Darth” trying to use use “The Force” around the house with success coming only when dad’s Passat enters the driveway. I would be shocked if you haven’t seen it but not surprised at all if you didn’t see it on a television. You see, the ad really had its fullest life on YouTube where it, as of Sunday, February 5, has over 50,172,097 views. Volkswagen’s follow up this year, The Dog Strikes Back, was posted last Monday and already has over 3,800,953 views.

So, “Super Bowl commercials” really aren’t necessarily for the Super Bowl anymore. They, like many elements in our evolving multichannel experience, are asynchronous.

a·syn·chro·nous [ey-sing-kruh-nuhs] adjective
1. not occurring at the same time.

Whether a product, a service, or a piece of communication, it is now impossible to design or create touch points out of context of people’s larger experience. At a very minimum, we need to give people options for how they consume an offering. This is what most companies strive for: to enable customers to “use any channel” or “shop any where”. This is perhaps the second to lowest level of multichannel integration. I’m going to tackle levels of multichannel integration in a future post. Until then, here are my picks for the 2012 “Super Bowl” commercials.

Best Ad/Best Beer Ad: Flash Fans: 2012 Budweiser Official Big Game Commercial

Could the best spot be a beer ad which never airs in the USA?! To be aired in Canada, the commercial features two local hockey clubs playing a game which becomes “Super Bowl”-like in its intensity and emotion. Powerful stuff and a great idea by Budweiser.

Funniest Ad: "Transactions" Extended Version - 2012 Acura NSX Big Game Ad

I’m a sucker for Seinfeld–his sitcom still remains the funniest TV ever–so this extended version of him working hard to become the first owner of the new Acura NSX is a winner. We’re privileged to see the return of a few of Seinfeld’s best sitcom characters and the special, unexpected guest at the end pushes it over the top.

Best Car Ad: Chevy Sonic "Stunt Anthem" | Chevy Super Bowl XLVI Ads

Let’s face it. Super Bowl ads are all about beer, cola and cars. This car spot easily takes top billing. Chevy’s introduction of the Sonic couldn’t be any more “extreme”. The car is sent through a series of jumps, rolls, music making with the band OK Go, dives all with (insane) people in it. It also looks like the kind of really great, sporty, fuel efficient small 4-door or hatchback US auto manufacturers need to be releasing in 2012.


Best Customer Generated Ad: 2012 Chevrolet "Route 66" Super Bowl XLVI Commercial - Happy Grad

It doesn’t exactly feel “home brewed” so I’m assuming the team that made this has some serious education or experience with film. That said, it is as great or better than many of the ads featuring superstars and costing millions of dollars to make. My favorite part, the top post on YouTube: “PERFECT: For the Generation that Thinks They Deserve Every Thing For Nothing!!” by 3martijns. So true.

Most Busy Super Bowl Supermodel: Adriana Lima, the Brazilian-born Victoria’s Secret “Angel” who appears in at least two ads.
The first: Teleflora Super Bowl Ad - Adriana Lima 2012

Adriana isn’t exactly mincing words in this one: “Give and you shall receive.” I’ll leave it up to you to decide what she’s suggesting.

The second: Kia’s "A Dream Car. For Real Life.”

It’s an amusing ad documenting what goes wrong when too much pixie dream dust is dumped on an unwitting, sleeping man in his bed.

Both campaigns feature additional “added value” content on the web, including this (ridiculous) five hours worth of supermodel Adriana Lima waving a racing flag in slow motion:

Most Confusing Ad: GE (and Bud’s?) Power and beer.

I’m not sure if this spot for GE is an “official” partnership with Budweiser (I’m assuming it is) but has there ever been a more odd couple than GE and Bud? The commercial features one of the most awkward exchanges in recent Superbowl TV history: “So you guys make the beer? No, we make the power that makes the beer.” It’s a spot that makes you go, “Huh?”

I guess we always knew the Super Bowl was bigger than one day; these ads just prove it to be.

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