SBD/February 5, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Two-Minute Warning: Chrysler's Super Bowl Ads Continue To Draw Reactions

The pair of two-minute Chrysler spots that aired during Super Bowl XLVII “were a topic of water cooler conversations from coast to coast, if online discussions are any indication,” according to Bryce Hoffman of the DETROIT NEWS. The first, a Jeep ad with an Oprah Winfrey-voiced tribute, "launched" a partnership with the USO called "Operation Safe Return." Chrysler over the next year “will donate $1 million to this cause in the form of cash and vehicles, and Chrysler employees will be asked to pitch in and support its efforts in their communities.” Chrysler CMO Olivier Francois said that getting Oprah -- who, as “a rule, does not do ads for products that are not her own -- was not difficult” because she has “worked with the company in the past to promote charitable causes.” The second spot for Ram Truck “resurrected a Paul Harvey paean to the American farmer.” The automaker “will donate $100,000 to hunger relief charities across America for every million downloads or shares of the video from its website, up to $1 million.” The tally as of 6:00pm ET yesterday had “already reached more than 1.5 million downloads” (DETROIT NEWS, 2/5). In N.Y., Rich Lowry writes there were “only two minutes that made you stop and truly listen” during the game, and those were “courtesy of Paul Harvey.” The spot “stuck out for how thoroughly un-Super Bowl it was.” Lowry: “It was simple. It was quiet. It was thoughtful. It was eloquent. It was everything that our celebrity-soaked pop culture, which dominates Super Bowl Sunday almost as much as football does, is not.” Harvey's speech is “a little gem of literary craftsmanship” (N.Y. POST, 2/5). In Detroit, David Shepardson notes Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a “critic of the auto bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, praised the Chrysler ad -- though he didn't mention the automaker.” Grassley on Twitter wrote, "I appreciate exposure given Paul Harvey's Tribute to Farmers -- he knew food grows on farms not in supermarkets and farmers are number one stewards of land” (DETROIT NEWS, 2/5).

REVISIONIST HISTORY? In N.Y., David Hinckley explains why in his top five Super Bowl ads he “didn't include the best of them all, the ‘So God Made a Farmer’ spot.” Hinckley: “It was a great ad. Moving. Visually beautiful.” But the “problem was that for almost a century America has been driving the person Harvey and this ad are celebrating, the family farmer, out of business” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/5). ESPN’s J.A. Adande said of the Ram Truck ad, “The tone of the Dodge ad just struck me as funky, in particular it didn’t mention any immigrant workers. They make up three-quarters of the farm workers in this country. Shouldn’t they be acknowledged too?” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 2/4).

SETTING A TREND: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott writes the reactions to Sunday’s ads are “offering a fascinating look at the dominant types of commercials -- emotional and humorous -- that Madison Avenue prefers for its big event.” Most of the 46 commercials “can fit into one of those camps, and it was those spots that seem to have generated the most responses, positive and negative, in the many polls and surveys that were taken during and after the game.” Chrysler “stood out for a decision to run two commercials" that were "both emotional.” The Jeep commercial was “one of only six during the game to receive an ‘A’ in the Kellogg School’s annual Super Bowl Advertising Review survey, conducted among a panel of students.” The Ram spot received a “C.” That grade “seemed an outlier, however, compared with the outcomes of several other polls.” Some sponsors, like Anheuser-Busch, “pursued both approaches in separate commercials.” The company ran “an emotional commercial by the Anomaly agency for Budweiser beer that told a heartwarming tale about a Clydesdale’s reunion with its trainer.” On the “humorous side of the ledger for Anheuser-Busch, there were two spots by the Translation agency for Bud Light beer.” They featured “light-hearted looks at die-hard football fans in New Orleans who sought out the singer Stevie Wonder, playing a voodoo king, to cast Super Bowl spells for them” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/5).

COMPANY EXECS DEFEND ADS: In St. Louis, Lisa Brown notes three ads designed to “introduce new A-B beers, Budweiser Black Crown and Beck’s Sapphire, were among the bottom five in the rankings of the more than 50 Super Bowl ads,” according to USA Today's Ad Meter. The ads were “sleek in design but were viewed by some as too generic.” But A-B VP/Marketing Paul Chibe said that the ads “successfully provided separation from other beers.” Chibe: “They provided a clear view and image of the brands.” Brown notes two spots for A-B’s Bud Light Platinum, which “debuted at the 2012 Super Bowl, were among the lowest scoring ads last year.” Despite that, Bud Light Platinum “went on to become one of the brewery’s most successful beer launches” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/5). In Minneapolis, Thomas Lee cites ad execs as saying that comedian Amy Poehler in Best Buy’s spot “failed to show what Best Buy does best: Woo shoppers with its product expertise.” In addition, some observers said that the commercial “didn’t focus on the Blue Shirts, the employees who explain Best Buy’s technology to customers.” But Best Buy officials said that they were “pleased with Poehler’s performance, as well as the feedback they’ve received from the ad.” Market research firm Center for Emotional Marketing President Leslie Zane said that Poehler “was a good choice.” Facing "tough competition" from Wal-Mart and Amazon, Best Buy “needs to convince consumers it can offer good prices along with expert advice and superior customer service.” Zane said that Poehler is “an A-list celebrity who conveys strong likability” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/5).

LAST KISS? Adweek Exec Editor James Cooper said the Go Daddy ad with model Bar Refaeli kissing actor Jesse Heiman was “definitely the big loser” of the night. Cooper said of the talk and attention the Go Daddy ad has received, “You have to look at the effectiveness of these ads. Yes, they’re talking about it, but I think it’s in a negative way” ("Street Signs," CNBC, 2/4). But NBC Sports Network’s Dave Briggs said the blackout during the game was harder to watch than the Go Daddy ad, saying, "It was 34 minutes. I can handle seven awkward seconds of kissing (but) 34 minutes. I was at the game, I had nothing to do, nowhere to go” (“The Crossover,” NBC Sports Network, 2/4).

GETTING IRIE: In West Palm Beach, Carol Rose noted she is from Jamaica and “loved” the Volkswagen spot with a Minnesota native speaking in a Jamaican accent. The ad was “laugh-out funny.” Rose: “Everyone in my family loved it, including my American children, as do all other Jamaicans I know.” She added, “The fact that he’s able to cheer up his colleagues by using a bunch of catch phrases? No problem, man. After all, it’s simply meant to be funny and overthinking it is what leads to folks taking offense” (PBPULSE.com, 2/4).

A COKE & A SMILE: Coca-Cola officials said that almost 910,000 votes "were cast” to choose which group would win the race to a soft drink at the end of its ad. In Atlanta, Leon Stafford noted a Coke spokesperson “acknowledged intermittent connection problems at the voting site.” The 60-second commercial “asked viewers to vote on who they wanted to win at cokechase.com.” Fans also were “encouraged to throw obstacles in the way of their team’s opponents.” Coke said that the “showgirls got 466,007; the cowboys 313,799; and the badlanders 129,796.” Sabotage votes “outnumbered the combined team votes with almost 7.3 million obstacles thrown in the competitors’ way” (AJC.com, 2/4).

DRIVEN BY SOCIAL: BROADCASTING & CABLE’s George Winslow cited a Socialbakers social media analysis that noted spots from auto companies “outperformed most other advertising categories on social media.” The analysis showed that auto brands “as a whole, including Volkswagen, Jeep, Dodge, Audi and Kia had almost 1 million Facebook shares and 4,851 tweets, combined.” It also showed that the Budweiser Clydesdales spot, "The Brotherhood," had “more than four times more shares on Facebook and Twitter than the next most shared spot, which was the commercial” for the movie “Fast & Furious 6” (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 2/4).

ALL SUITED UP: USA TODAY’s Brady & Chase reported the NFL Evolution spots “promoting the NFL’s long-running commitment to safety highlighted three players involved in pending concussion lawsuits against the league.” The spots featured “dramatic portrayals of Mel Gray, Rick Upchurch and the late Ollie Matson.” NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello said, “We are aware of that, but it’s a separate issue from the message in the spot about the evolution of the game” (USA TODAY, 2/5).

LATE-NIGHT HOSTS CHIME IN: The Super Bowl ads were fodder for the late-night talk show hosts last night. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert said, “The ads killed it this year. They had it all. A Doritos-eating goat, a man outrunning a cheetah, a guy who lost weight 15 years ago, but the tearjerker of the night was a touching story of a man’s love for a horse and that’s not just love in the horse’s eyes. It’s also gratitude that he works for Budweiser and not Burger King.” A news report was aired showing how Burger King found horsemeat in its burger patties in the U.K. (“The Colbert Report,” Comedy Central, 2/4). Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart asked why the Go Daddy ad was “objectionable” but “everybody was perfectly fine” with the A-B Clydesdale ad “where the guy was clearly (EXPLETIVE) his horse.” Stewart said after seeing an ad from the Church of Scientology, “I realized after seeing that that I actually (EXPLETIVE) love the Super Bowl. Guys getting hit really hard, hot girls kissing ugly dudes, hot dudes kissing hot horses, beer, trucks, chips. I found my answer, Scientology, and it was inside my refrigerator the whole time” (“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Comedy Central, 2/4). ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel: “I did watch the Super Bowl and all I really remember is a blackout, Beyoncé, a fat kid making out with a model and a guy in a weird relationship with a Clydesdale. The big take away I got from last night is we’re paying way too much for pistachios” (“Jimmy Kimmel Live,” ABC, 2/4). CBS’ David Letterman: “They found the reason for the big power outage last night that delayed the game for over a half-an-hour. It was supermodel Bar Refaeli kissing that tool” (“Late Show,” CBS, 2/4). NBC’s Jay Leno: “Did you see the ad for Skechers shoes where the guy saves the gazelle by out running a cheetah? Can you believe that? Lance Armstrong got a commercial already?” (“The Tonight Show,” NBC, 2/4).
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