Blog

Best Commercials & Why – Super Bowl LIII / 53 / 2019

By February 4, 2019 February 8th, 2019 No Comments
pillsbury snackadium - a huge feast of sandwiches, chips, and snacks shaped into a huge football stadium

Super Bowl commentary on the quality and impact of commercials, especially right before and right after the big game are A-L-L  O-P-I-N-I-O-N-S.

Additionally, in the world of advertising, rarely does one advertisement inspire massive change in customer’s buying behavior. It takes time, a lot of time.

Years ago, when advertising was by magazine, newspaper, radio, and television, the typical number of “touches,” the times needed to influence some type of change in consumer buying, was around 6. Today, I have read a variety of opinions, from 20 touches to 40 touches. “Wow!” is my first thought. Can you imagine reading, watching, and listening to the same basic commercial 20 to 40 times? I can’t.

And yet, the world is so noisy when it comes to messaging — emails, phone calls, texts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, friends, television and cable, radio and internet radio, banners and billboards, and the list goes on and on. When you think about, and start to pay attention, we can see similar commercials over and over.

As for the big game, there were over 50 commercials shown during Super Bowl LIII/2019. Here are my opinions. Opinions on the ads with the best consumer appeal for the type of commercials expected during the Super Bowl. These are the big, over the top, either kitschy or very serious, spots we look forward to.

Included with each ad are commentary, links, notes, and rankings from the Ad Meter from USA Today. And how about that food spread in the picture? Pillsbury calls it their “Snackadium.” I can’t wait to be invited to a party with that.

What are your favorites? And I think, more importantly, “Why?” Was it the message, the actors/actresses, the comedy, brand (loyalty), or ??

Photography Source: Header Image – Pillsbury Snackadium

Not Everything Makes the Cut

This funny and illustrative ad from Amazon for its Alexa grabs your attention right away with seemingly light dialogue from a charming, yuppy’ish woman:  “It’s cool right?” Her friend responds, “Yeah, I didn’t know you guys put Alexa in a microwave.” Then the woman adds with a confident head nod, “Yeah, we’re putting her in a lot of stuff now.”

Then the faux drama begins with her lowering her voice and looking sidelong to ensure no one can over hear her say, “Trust me, there are a lot of fails.” The commercial cuts to several very funny scenes with Alexa failing. The most notable is with Harrison Ford and his dog–my question, is it really a fail if the dog received everything he ordered?

Then the spot ends big with Queen’s class soundtrack, “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

Overall, it’s an opposite message position–demonstrating what Alexa didn’t do well makes us think it can do the right things well. The ad uses humor and celebrity power big time. Did the celebrity gag’s win the day or the message?

AD Meter USA Today
Rank: 2 out of 58  /  Rating: 7.34 out of 10

The 100-Year Game

The choreography, the directing, the ability to get everyone to be in the same place at the same time, the mood (nice and light), and so much more made this a fan favorite. Marshawn Lynch just can’t keep his hands off the cake. Slipping into the gigantic layer cake, the golden football topper falls to the ground and the mad, mad, mad dash for the ball ensues.

More than 50 current football stars and legends pass, run, and tackle with humorous one liners like Joe’s Montana, “No can do Cowboy.”

The ad was created by the 72andSunny Agency. The agency used the perfect song from Rob Base, It Takes Two. The song samples heavily from Lynn Collin’s song, “Think About It,” from 1972.

Overall, this commercial is on-message. NFL is a physical sport where players (and fans) should have fun. It is another lighthouse example of celebrity power.

AD Meter USA Today
Rank: 9 out of 58  /  Rating: 6.39 out of 10

The Coach Who Wouldn’t Be Here

Anthony Lynn, head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, shares a VERY touching story from 2005. What he doesn’t know is that in the audience, are the first responders who saved his life. As he tells his story, the first responders introduce themselves. Here’s the text:

– “Hi my name is Anthony Lynn. In 2005, I was in a horrible car accident. I was hit by a car going 50 miles an hour. And I promise you, I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the first responders.”
[Music plays, story pauses for dramatic effect]
– “They told me that I flew 45 to 50 feet in the air.”
[Music plays, story pauses for dramatic effect]
– “The doctor told me, ‘you were very very lucky. It was a miracle.'”
– “Hi Coach, my name is Jon Riddle. This is my partner Craig Kelly. We were the first two, first responders on scene.”
– “Coach, my name is Skyler Bosco. I was the paramedic on Medic Engine One that evening.
[Music plays, Coach Lynn turns away from camera as he becomes emotionally overjoyed in meeting the people who saved his life]
– “I’ve often thought about know who showed up at night. I never thought I see you. It’s unbelievable. They said, ‘I had to have some Angels with me that night to survive.’ I believe you guys are Angels.
[Cut to the Verizon commercial’s message, black text on white background]
First responders answer the call.
Our job is to make sure they can get it.
– “Thank you guys. Thank you.”

This ad with its message, story, music, and real people, is an outstanding example of a story-driven message. This ad tugged at our heart strings in a good way and in the end, Verizon subtlely reminded us they were the company behind it. And this is just one of the many stories in Verizon’s “All Our Thanks” campaign, where it chronicles the 12 NFL stars that owe their lives to first responders.

See Coach Anthony Lynn’s full rescue story and the incredible stories of 11 other NFL players at http://AllOurThanks.com

AD Meter USA Today
Rank: 5 out of 65  /  Rating: 6.95 out of 10

100 Billion Words

Taking into account this is an excellent commercial.. from a pure messaging perspective, in my humble opinion, Google wins hands-down. And for this reason, I am putting my overall impression first instead of at the end of the commentary.

Overall, The commercial has the three necessary ingredients for a successful ad:  music, imagery, and words/narrative that combined together, tell a compelling story.

From the YouTube description:  “Every day, more than 100 billion words are translated with Google Translate. And every day, the ones that are translated most are the ones that bring us together.” And from the commercial as it just passes its half-way mark at 0:34 seconds the get-you-thinking ideas start: “Everyday… the most translated words in the world are ‘How are you?’, ‘Thank you,’ and ‘I love you.'”

These words and phrases are stretched across 26 perfectly timed seconds. Timing is the real star from a messaging perspective. Rewatch the commercial paying close attention to the spacing of the words and the pacing of the imagery.

  • 00:34 – Everyday
  • 00:36 – the most translated words in the world
  • 00:40 – are “How are you?”,
  • 00:44 – “Thank you,”
  • 00:47 – and “I love you.”
  • 00:55 – Shows just the Google logo

Google India released a heavily story-driven commercial in 2013, called “Google Search: Reunion.” It is BRILLIANT. It touches on all of the strengths of using Google in your every day life:  purchasing airline tickets, checking weather, getting flight status, and so much more. All wrapped in a touching story of friendship.

AD Meter USA Today
Rank: 9 out of 58  /  Rating: 6.39 out of 10

Top Dog

The Super Bowl ad “lets us play on a much bigger stage than what we usually do throughout the year,” says Alvaro Luque, president of Avocados From Mexico. “For delivering a brand message in a massive way, the Super Bowl works great.” While the commercial has a look and feel like the movie, Best in Show, it did not directly influence the development of this spot.

Kristin Chenoweth is the celebrity star as the commentator along with the “human dogs.” The ad is playful and on-message for how a dog would drool over an especially tasty snack treat. “I never thought it was going to be so easy,” says Andrés Ordóñez, chief creative officer, Energy BBDO, to get the human actors to take on canine characteristics.

This is the fifth Super Bowl commercial for Avocados from Mexico. From the YouTube description, “It all started in 1966 when the legendary Sir Reginald Von Ruff discovered his human would roll over for avocados. Now, the Human Canine competition has grown into one of the world’s premier events, even appearing in a Big Game commercial starring Kristin Chenoweth, where dogs train their humans to compete for the ultimate prize: Avocados From Mexico.”

AD Meter USA Today
Rank:  34 out of 58  /  Rating: 5.2 out of 10

Bad Passengers

Christina Applegate is perfect as the Mom dealing with unruly, bickering siblings in the back seat of her car. You hear different voices complaining, slapping and punching noises, “Owww’s.” Appelgate, with typical parent dialogue, and the natural transition from easy-going to annoyed Mom, looks back and says in angry tone to the children, “Do I have to break you guys apart?”

For the first time viewers, here’s a spoiler alert. The children are M&Ms baked into in a chocolate bar, which is a new product from Mars. Hence the phrase, “break you guys apart.”

Watch a short video for behind the scenes footage.

Overall, Mars has AGAIN delivered on its message with the lovable M&M’s characters. The script is snappy and a touch mischievous. And Applegate brings the star power.

AD Meter USA Today
Rank: 6 out of 58  /  Rating: 6.51 out of 10

Ira Koretsky

About Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after global speaker, trainer, consultant, and executive communication coach.