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Volume 24 No. 159
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Critics Find Super Bowl Ads Flop, Many Lacking In Appeal

The commercials that aired during Super Bowl XLVII last night “were, by and large, disappointing,” as they represented a “missed opportunity for marketers and agencies to demonstrate that they had at least some understanding of how contemporary consumers think and behave," according to Stuart Elliott of the N.Y. TIMES. Ad execs “chose once again to fall back on familiar strategies and themes that would have appealed more to viewers during the Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan or Clinton administrations.” There was a “mother-in-law joke in a commercial for Century 21; a commercial for Audi that was set at a prom; a gag based on a young man’s nervous uttering of the word ‘panties’ in a commercial” for Mennen Speed Stick. The “vintage vibe was underlined by a preoccupation with space,” as at least four commercials “included images of astronauts.” There also was the “usual overreliance on tried and true -- read: ‘tired’ -- Super Bowl ad tactics.” Elliott: “Anthropomorphic animals abounded in spots for brands like, Doritos and Skechers, and slapstick violence, with men always the victims, in spots for brands like the Kia Forte” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/4). In Detroit, Julie Hinds writes, “Maybe Madison Avenue has run out of great ideas. Haven’t we seen all of these a) extremely dumb guys, b) wacky old people, c) blockbuster movie trailers before?” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/4). In Miami, Glenn Garvin writes most of yesterday’s commercials “continued a recent trend toward terminal weirdness” (MIAMI HERALD, 2/4). In Charlotte, Scott Fowler wrote the ads were “down a notch overall from some of the past years” (, 2/3). CBS' Frank Luntz said, “There was some disappointment that the ads were not seemingly as good this year as last year. ... I just wish the ads were as good as the game” (“CBS This Morning,” CBS, 2/4).

KISS ME DEADLY: USA TODAY's Melanie Eversley notes a “big chunk of the social media buzz during ... Super Bowl XLVII was over a kiss -- a long, slurpy, noisy one” featured in a Go Daddy ad. The spot featuring model Bar Refaeli “engaged in a wet lip lock with a bespectacled tech nerd” in a first-quarter commercial saw Twitter “exploded with disgust.” #GoDaddy and #thekiss were “trending on the social media site for a while” (USA TODAY, 2/4). In DC, Maura Judkis writes the Go Daddy spot “objectifies women and makes fun of unattractive people.” Judkis: “Just another day at the Go Daddy marketing headquarters!” (, 2/4). In Tampa, Eric Deggans writes the “title for most reviled ad" likely went to Go Daddy. The question “left for ad experts: Is it a triumph to create an ad everyone talks about because it repulses them?” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/4). CNBC’s Julia Boorstin wrote, “Seeing a lot of tweets abt how @godaddy ad was inappropriate for family audiences- that attention a win or lose for #GoDaddy?” Ad Age’s Jeanine Poggi wrote, “All of us flinched during GoDaddy commercial. Hard to watch that kiss” (, 2/3). Comedian D.L. Hughley said, “It actually made me want to take antibiotics” (“GMA,” ABC, 2/4). Meanwhile, in Chicago, Lori Rackl wrote of Mercedes-Benz’ spot featuring model Kate Upton, “I'm fed up with ads where men are led to drag their knuckles through their own drool pools because of some titillating woman” (, 2/3).

A-B'S BAD POUR: AD AGE’s Ken Wheaton writes the ad for Beck's Sapphire, "Serenade," makes "no sense in any universe” because there is a “CGI goldfish singing to a beer bottle.” Wheaton: “Someone was consuming something other than beer when this was created. And when it was approved” (, 2/4). The goldfish in the ad sings the song "No Diggity," and the SUN-TIMES’ Rackl wrote the “singing fish aren't funny, interesting or moving, and neither is this commercial.” Rackl: “I certainly didn't dig it” (, 2/3). Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, Rob Owen writes it “seems likely Americans will come together to declare the Bud Black Crown ads the worst.” The ads, set in a “club with supposedly hip people -- ‘the loud, the savvy, the famous’ -- made it look like anyone who consumes this beer will instantly be transformed into one of these pompous, poser jerks” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 2/4). BevNET Founder John Craven wrote, “Black Crown...for people who dress in black and like swill.” Daily Variety’s Brian Lowry wrote, “No offense, Budweiser, but if I want a really classy beer, you're not my first option” (, 2/3). Lowry added Budweiser “cast the biggest shadow, and laid one of the bigger eggs.” Lowry: “Sure, those Black Crown bottles are kind of cool-looking, but I'm still not sure Budweiser is the name anyone thinks of when looking for an upscale brew.” An extension of the Bud Light "Superstition" campaign with Stevie Wonder “fared considerably better, but it was a Budweiser ad featuring a horse breeder reunited with a Clydesdale that put a sizable lump in your throat” (, 2/3).

CRUISE CONTROL: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER noted the Church of Scientology “followed through on its promise to air an ad during Sunday's Super Bowl game,” and it aired “not long after the game went into halftime.” The ad featured “several shots of books and close-ups of various people.” It also featured “other people perusing library shelves and books and sitting in a classroom, among other images” (, 2/3).