SBD/February 3, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Celebrities Prominently Featured In SB Ads; Tebow Earns Kudos For T-Mobile Spots

Celebrities were "more prominent than ever" in this year's crop of Super Bowl ads, but the "way they were used varied from fun to flat to absolute splat," according to Jeanne Jakle of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. John Stamos and his “Full House” co-stars -- Dave Coulier and Bob Saget -- were "amusing in a sexy-gone-wrong spot for Dannon Oikos yogurt." Johnny Galecki also was "at his nerdy best as a driver of a Hyundai Elantra trying to impress an attractive female passenger only to have Richard Lewis pop up." However, Bruce Willis "touting safety and hugs in a Honda bit ending with him being embraced by Fred Armisen was just weird." The "stripped-down David Beckham always makes for great eye-candy, but did you even notice he was selling H&M underwear?" Meanwhile, the Bud Light “epic night” with Don Cheadle and his llama "also was too strange for comfort" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 2/3). In N.Y., David Hinckley writes the "oddest ad play of the night was sandwiching two 15-second Stephen Colbert spots for Wonderful Pistachios around an H&M ad in which David Beckham took off his shirt." One of the first ads of the game "looked like it was going to be celebrity James Franco trying to sell a tiger." He instead was "actually plugging the Ford Fusion." Hinckley writes the best ads were Chrysler's spot in which Bob Dylan "talks American pride," SodaStream's spot with Scarlett Johansson and Kia's spot, where Laurence Fishburne, playing his Morpheus character from "The Matrix" films, "breaks into an aria." Hinckley: "Shattering the street lights was such a smart touch" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/3).

TEBOW TIME: In N.Y., David Li writes Tim Tebow "scored big Sunday, as he appeared in one of the most highly praised ads of the game" for T-Mobile. Tebow talked about all the things he did without an NFL contract this past season, an attempt to highlight T-Mobile's no-contract plans. N.Y.-based marketing firm Tomorro cqLLC CEO Jon Bond said, "It was one of those few spots that had a point, entertained and was self-deprecating. I give him high grades. It’s good for his career" (N.Y. POST, 2/3). Albuquerque-based McKee Wallwork & Co. President Steve McKee said that this year’s Super Bowl ads “included some top-notch casting, especially Tebow in T-Mobile’s ads.” McKee: “The two even sound like they go together, and everyone knows Tebow doesn’t have a contract. So this was a great fit, strategically” (MEDIAPOST.com, 2/3). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes the T-Mobile ads "showed two things: Tebow has a sense of humor and he can sell whatever it is you want to sell" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/3). In Boston, Mark Daniels wrote Tebow had a "better performance than Peyton Manning" (BOSTON HERALD, 2/3). In Detroit, Susan Whitall writes, "Much as it pains us to admit, the T-Mobile Tim Tebow ads ... were among the best" (DETROIT NEWS, 2/3). However, in Dallas, Chase Wade places T-Mobile's Tebow spots on his "worst" list. Wade wrote Tebow is a "likeable guy, that's for sure, but something about his multi-commercial 'no contract' stint ... seemed sort of sad" (DALLASNEWS.com, 2/2). In California, Chuck Barney writes, "Hasn't his 15 minutes expired by now?" (CONTRA COSTA TIMES, 2/3).

HITS & MISSES: The N.Y. POST's Li gives his roundup of the best and worst Super Bowl commercials. Li writes Wonderful Pistachio "cracked their 30-second buy into hilarious halves" featuring Colbert. Georgetown Univ. marketing professor Neeru Paharia: "It was making fun of advertising and people will appreciate that." Meanwhile, Li writes Willis in his Honda spot "urged viewers to hug loved [ones] as a reminder of auto safety -- and all as the camera panned back to see he was in the loving, comical embrace" of Armisen (N.Y. POST, 2/3). The CONTRA COSTA TIMES' Barney writes Wonderful Pistachios had the "best use of a celebrity." The company "did a wonderful job" with Colbert, "who had us cracking up." The runner up would be Bob Dylan for Chrysler, as the singer is "still cool after all these years." Meanwhile, the "worst use of a celebrity" goes to H&M and a "naked David Beckham's tats." There was "no creativity." Barney: "Been there, done that." Willis' "hugfest for Honda ... just died. Hard." Also, Johansson's SodaStream spot "had no fizz" (CONTRA COSTA TIMES, 2/3). 3% Conference Founder Kat Gordon said that Johansson “saucily sucking on a straw in an attempt to make the spot viral” was “a major flop.” Gordon: “It’s embarrassing that an ad agency sold that, and thought it was the best way to get viewers’ attention” (MEDIAPOST.com, 2/3). CBS' Frank Luntz said the Johansson ad was an example of "been there, done that." Luntz: "If it looks like an ad that you've seen again and again and again, it will not be successful" ("CBS This Morning," CBS, 2/3).
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