SBD/February 4, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Budweiser Tops USA Today Ad Meter With Sentimental Clydesdale Spot

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The USA Today Ad Meter shows that Anheuser-Busch “climbed back into the saddle with the Super Bowl’s top commercial,” according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. The ad is “a heart-tugging tale of the bond between a trainer and the Budweiser Clydesdale he raised.” The trainer "breeds and raises a Clydesdale horse, only to wistfully watch it leave for the big-time." Then three years later at a “big-city parade, man and horse re-unite in an emotional embrace.” The A-B spot marks “a return to marketing glory after slipping out” of the ad meter's top five last year. Procter & Gamble’s Tide “pulled off a close No. 2” with an ad featuring “an image of football legend Joe Montana miraculously appearing in a salsa stain on a rabid fan’s jersey.” The stain “causes a media uproar and becomes a relic of worship until the fan’s wife -- who happens to be a Baltimore Ravens fan -- washes the stain out with Tide.” Meanwhile, CBS in a statement said that “no advertiser lost air time due to the power outage and that ‘all commercial commitments during the broadcast are being honored.’” The top five most popular ads and the bottom five least popular ads according to the Ad Meter are listed below (USA TODAY, 2/4).

TOP FIVE MOST POPULAR
BRAND DESCRIPTION
SECONDS
QUARTER
SCORE
Budweiser Clydesdale, Man reunited
60
3
7.76
Tide Miracle Joe Montana stain
60
4
7.75
Ram Praise for farmers
120
4
7.43
Doritos Guys join princess party
30
2
7.27
Jeep Oprah, vets return home
120
HT
7.20
BOTTOM FIVE
BRAND DESCRIPTION
SECONDS
QUARTER
SCORE
Calvin Klein Man vs. machine
30
2
3.88
Budweiser Black Crown Partiers celebrate Black Crown
30
1
3.73
Beck's Sapphire Black goldfish sings to beer
30
3
3.66
Budweiser Black Crown Here's to Black Crown
30
1
3.64
Go Daddy Bar Refaeli kisses geek
30
1
3.30

TEARS OF JOY: AD AGE’s Ken Wheaton gave Budweiser’s Clydesdale ad a four-star rating out of four stars, as “this year the horses return to their rightful role as stars.” Wheaton: “Weepy, sentimental, nostalgic. I don't care. This is everything I want from a Budweiser Super Bowl spot.” Samsung also received four stars for its ad as it “takes a break from mocking Apple to mock all the other Super Bowl ads” in a spot featuring actors Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen (ADAGE.com, 2/3). YAHOO SPORTS’ Jay Busbee wrote Budweiser’s ad was among the “winners” of the night. Busbee: “Are you kidding me? Super Bowl commercials aren't supposed to make you cry! They're supposed to make you laugh or cringe or go reload your plate. This? This ad makes you want to call your parents, hug your kids, and maybe just buy a horse. Flat-out winner out of the gate” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/3). CBS’ Frank Luntz said the Bud spot was the best ad, “and it’s been the best ad for many years.” It is “pretty easy to make people laugh" at a Super Bowl commercial, but it is “very difficult to make them cry” ("CBS This Morning," CBS, 2/4). 

TOUGH TO BEAT
: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Suzanne Vranica writes Chrysler and Taco Bell won “the advertising battle at Super Bowl XLVII.” Oprah Winfrey did the "voiceover in a touching Jeep spot that paid tribute to the troops,” which was “one of the big game's most liked commercials.” The car maker's Ram spot “about farmers that featured the voice of Paul Harvey was also applauded.” Chrysler “kept its ad a secret, unlike many other Super Bowl advertisers that released their spots online -- in whole or in part -- days before the big game to generate early chatter” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/4). Association of Independent Commercial Producers President & CEO Matt Miller said of the Ram ad, “This is the best ad I’ve seen in a year.” USA Today’s Laura Petrecca said Chrysler execs wants “to get Americana now, so that’s what they’re aiming for as a company." Petrecca: "It’s no longer apple pie, baseball and Chevrolet. They want you to think Chrysler, so it’s a really great use of Americana.” Deutsch Inc. Chair Donny Deutsch: “A brilliant piece of advertising” ("Today," NBC, 2/4). In Chicago, Lori Rackl wrote Ram “delivered with its moving two-minute long love letter to those who till the land.” The ad was “powerful in its straightforwardness, stripped-down authenticity and subtle patriotism.” Rackl wrote of Taco Bell’s spot, “No Super Bowl ad so far has made me laugh as hard as this one chronicling a wild night on the town with a group of crafty retirement home residents” (SUNTIMES.com, 2/3). In DC, Maura Judkis writes the Taco Bell ad’s directors “found some great character actors -- especially that guy who presses his nipple against the restaurant window -- and a cool Spanish rendition of ‘We Are Young’” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/4). In N.Y., David Li writes Taco Bell “found the marketing end zone with senior citizens going crazy” (N.Y. POST, 2/4).

FUNNY BUSINESS: In New Orleans, Dave Walker wrote Volkswagen’s “Jamaican dude” spot is “a winning ad entirely because of the delivery by the lead actor ... though there’s something to be said for its deftness in implanting the notion that a car and its payments and repair bills and dings and flat tires can make you more, not less, mellow and island-y” (NOLA.com, 2/3). In Cincinnati, John Kiesewetter listed Volkswagen’s spot as No. 1 in his top 10, asking, “Hey, Mon, who’da thunk it a German car maker would have a Minnesota guy in a Jamaican accent?” (CINCINNATI.com, 1/31). In N.Y., Stuart Elliott writes in a “hilarious commercial” by BBDO, N.Y. for M&M’s, the “character Red warbled ‘I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)’ to express his desire for a human woman.” She “reciprocated his ardor with a disturbing hunger for more than hugs.” Meanwhile, for an Oreo ad by Wieden & Kennedy, the “most delicious moment came when a police officer trying to break up an Oreo fight in a library whispered through his bullhorn.” The ad “ended with a 21st-century twist by asking viewers to ‘choose your side on Instagram’” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/4). On Long Island, Verne Gay writes the best ad of the Super Bowl was for Samsung Galaxy, an ad that “has it all,” including “very big stars, along with humor, sharp writing and an effective send-up of other Super Bowl advertisers, while managing to twist it all around into a self-parody” (NEWSDAY, 2/4). Boston-based FUSEideas CEO Dennis Franczak said, “The Hyundai spot with the kids was hilarious, and you could really get the message, that Hyundai is a lifestyle vehicle” (BOSTON HERALD, 2/4). Hill Holiday/Boston Creative Dir Tim Cawley: “Hyundai is really winning points for its broad, populist humor. That kind of humor used to belong to Pepsi and Bud Light” (BOSTONHERALD.com, 2/3).

CELEBRITY SKIN: In L.A., Mary McNamara writes the list of celebrities in this year’s ads was “pretty lame.” They were “better than your average night on network television, certainly, but by Super Bowl standards, decidedly low-wattage.” Where other years “boasted Jerry Seinfeld, Cindy Crawford, Matthew Broderick, or ... Dave [Letterman] and Oprah cuddling on the couch, this year we got Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson and a strangely unfunny Seth Rogen-Paul Rudd spot.” Amy Poehler “rocked her Best Buy spot as a ditzy shopper testing the merchandise.” But there was “possibly the grossest kiss in television history, between Bar Refaeli and an overweight splotchy faced-nerd, courtesy of godaddy.com” (L.A. TIMES, 2/4). In San Jose, Chuck Barney writes, “Bravo to Best Buy” for “Best Use Of A Celebrity.” Barney: “You just can’t go wrong with Amy Poehler as a pitch person.” Poehler is “money, even if she can’t find the ‘cloud’” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/4). FOXSPORTS.com’s Todd Behrendt writes of Poehler’s ad, “We’d have thought this one was amusing even if it was just Amy Poehler repeatedly saying the word ‘dongle.’” But that was “only one of several good lines the 'Parks and Recreation' funny woman got off as she peppered the most attentive Best Buy employee ever with a series of questions” (FOXSPORTS.com, 2/4). In Tampa, Eric Deggans writes actress Kaley Cuoco “lit up an ad for Toyota’s Rav 4, playing a genie who made the car’s emergency wheel vanish when an overweight driver wished for her to get rid of his ‘old spare tire’” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/4). In Detroit, Tom Long wrote comedian Tracy Morgan was “funny preaching change you can believe in for Mio Fit, but less successful -- or at least a whole lot less appetizing -- was Danica Patrick inducing a supermodel and a nerdy fat kid to slow kiss for a Go Daddy ad.” The “Gangnam style Pistachios ad” starring rapper Psy was “not exactly cutting edge” (DETROITNEWS.com, 2/3). FOXSPORTS.com’s Todd Behrendt writes, “Not only did we have to endure a completely inane commercial in which Psy sings about pistachios, but Gangnam Style’s 15 minutes have been officially extended. Thanks a lot, Wonderful Pistachios” (FOXSPORTS.com, 2/4).

NO. 1 IN PRIMETIME: In Boston, Mark Daniels writes the “best commercial” of the Super Bowl was an ad for the upcoming NFL Draft, in which Deion Sanders “expressed his desire to get back into the game, so he wore a wig and changed his name to Leon Sandcastle.” He was “ironically drafted No. 1 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs, whose fans often referred to quarterback Matt Cassel as ‘SandCassel’” (BOSTON HERALD, 2/4).

RIGHT BACK AT YA: ADWEEK’s Tim Nudd noted Pepsi “posted a video purporting to show behind-the-scenes footage from Coke's Super Bowl set -- with the actors working tirelessly to get a Pepsi Next out of a vending machine.” Pepsi was “blunt with its tweet linking to the video, too.” Pepsi NEXT on Twitter wrote, “Forget what happens at the end of #CokeChase, check out what happened behind the scenes.” Coke later “responded to the Pepsi video.” Nudd: “It's not quite a worthy counterpunch, but hey, nice quick turnaround” (ADWEEK.com, 2/4).
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