The Best and the Worst Super Bowl Commercials

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We'd like to be able to say there was a standout winner amongst the ads in this year's Super Bowl but we really can't There were several we liked, though, and several we hated. We, like many others, enjoyed Volkswagen's The Force commercial in which a small boy dressed like Darth Vadar attempts to use the force on objects around the home including his father's Passat. Of course, the boy can't make His Force do anything. That is until Dad, unbeknownest to the boy, flips the remote leading to boy to think The Force has finally worked.

We liked the Motorola Xoom commercial which riffed of Apple's 1984. The ad did a nice job poking fun at Apple's minions and their cult-like following. In a way, the little love spark between the man and the women in the ad was more like Motorola's attempt at saying "can't we all just get along" rather than their intentioned notion the Xoom will separate you from the pack. Either way, the commercial was engaging and was a nice attempt to set the Xoom apart from the iPad.

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by Steve Hall    Feb- 7-11    
Topic: Opinion, Super Bowl 2011



Is $3 Million for a Super Bowl Spot Worth it?

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This pre-Super Bowl guest post comes from John Follis, president of Follis Advertising LLC.

Last year, Pepsi did something it hadn't done in 23 years. It chose not to run a Super Bowl spot. Instead, it took the $20 million that it spent on the previous year's game and spent it on a social media driven contest. With a blend of philanthropy, guerrilla branding, and PR the Pepsi Refresh contest invited people to submit their ideas and compete for votes to win grants ranging from $5,000 to $250,000.

Was it successful? Did it help increase sales? "The Pepsi Refresh Project was not a sales driven program" said Shiv Singh, head of digital for PepsiCo beverages America, "It was designed to build brand awareness...cultivate a long term relationship with consumers...(and) build brand health. We look at brand equity, brand health and sales - and we have seen movement in all of them."

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by Steve Hall    Feb- 4-11    
Topic: Opinion, Super Bowl 2011



Parkour the Next Dead Advertising Trend

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Oh look. It's parkour in yet another ad campaign. Leave it to the ad industry to latch onto a trend and beat it to death. Beer babes? Done. Matrix-style camera swing? Done. The Verizon Dumb Dad? Done. Use of popular pop song? Done. Cavemen? Done. Chimpanzees? Done.

Now we can add parkour to the latest overused tactics in advertising. This time around it's Epson, courtesy of Albion, which is promoting its new EB-170 Series ultra-light portable projectors.

The commercial features "free-running" (the new buzzword affixed to parkour) talent Sam Parham and Chase Armitage, one carrying the Epson EB-1775W and the other carrying a competing product. Their mission is to deliver the projectors, stowed in backbacks, to a rooftop presentation several blocks away. Epson, of course, wins.

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by Steve Hall    Jan-27-11    
Topic: Campaigns, Creative Commentary, Opinion, Trends and Culture



Sephora Gives Girl Facial to Sell Cosmetics

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One really has to wonder what goes the mind of a creative when the result is a poster like this one for Sephora. And let's not forget the minds of the people who approve the work as well. Either they are oblivious to the "other" meaning of imagery such as this or they can't help but celebrate the dirty little thoughts which float about their mind and wallow in the sadistic pleasure of watching this work make its way through the approval process.

Six years ago, Vodafone ran an ad that, to some, carries the very same connotation as this Sephora poster. As we wrote back then, the the visual in the Vodafone ad was "an expression of joy following receipt of a certain climatically delivered thrust of Christmas excitement."

How would we describe this Sephora poster? We're not sure but it's clear to us this is definitely not a representation of how most women would apply lotion to their face. Especially a quart's worth of gooey white stuff while their mouth is wide open. That is unless they are in a certain line of work which lauds this sort of behavior with praise, fame and money.

by Steve Hall    Jan-25-11    
Topic: Creative Commentary, Opinion, Racy, Strange



Stolen Cleavage Ends up in Online Ad

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Now this is funny. Three years ago at ad:tech San Francisco while on our usual mission to properly capture the essence of the trade show floor, we captured this shot of a hot looking woman who, by all accounts, had to have had the highest number of eyeballs view her badge over the course of the conference. In addition, that strategic badge placement was enough to garner her, and the company she represented, GenieKnows, a repeat appearance on Adrants in a story entitled In Defense of Booth Babes and Why They're Here to Stay.

Jump forward three years and the all but forgotten woman has reappeared in an online ad on the Coloradoan website promoting a medical bill and coding degree. Of course, it's clear the woman has no idea she's in this ad and permission was certainly never given by us to use this photo in an online ad but this sort of thing happens all the time.

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by Steve Hall    Jan-25-11    
Topic: Opinion, Policy, Racy, Strange



Doritos Gay-Themed Ads Not Offensive. Just Funny.

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Two commercials submitted to the Dorito's Super Bowl ad contest are gay-themed. One features a wife catching, we assume, his husband ogling two gays guys sitting by a pool. A second has two guys in a sauna with one gawking at the other's physique...which just turns out to be...well...we don't want to ruin it for you.

As per usual, questions arise over the portrayal of gays in advertising. There was that Snicker's gay kiss ad a few years back. There was the Mr. T ad, also for Snickers, which had the A-Team star eradicating the streets of speedwalkers which many, including Bob Garfield, concluded had to be gay therefore making the ad offensive. Which was just stupid. The ad was funny.

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by Steve Hall    Jan-25-11    
Topic: Opinion, Super Bowl 2011



Ted Williams, Bus Shelters, Kardashians Among Top Stories This Week

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This week's top stories on Adrants caused us to ponder whether or not Kraft's choice of Ted Williams was right for the brand, get excited about the lowly bus shelter, laugh at sharks, admire the T-Mobile babe mock AT&T and Verizon, engage in a bit of voyeurism, revisit childhood with Audi's use of "Goodnight Moon," look at lingerie once again, watch advertising get Cheezberger'd, revisit Kim Kardashian's cleavage and wonder how the hell that family got so famous and, finally, once again, listen to yet another researcher tell us using celebrities in advertising is a waste of money.

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by Steve Hall    Jan-16-11    
Topic: Brands, Celebrity, Commercials, Opinion, Racy



Was Hiring Ted Williams a Smart Choice For Kraft?

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Branding consultant Rob Frankel isn't a fan of Crispin Porter + Bogusky's use of Ted Williams for its client Kraft. If you recall, Ted Williams was the homeless man who found fame when, earlier this month, it was discovered he had the perfect announcer voice in a Columbia Dispatch video.

While the new Kraft Macaroni & Cheese commercial has received 933,000 views since it hit YouTube January 7, Frankel thinks the whole thing is just another opportunistic agency ploy, telling Mashable, "It's clearly another one of those opportunistic stunts by creatively bankrupt agencies who jump on any trend they think can take them to the top of a Twitter trend."

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by Steve Hall    Jan-14-11    
Topic: Brands, Celebrity, Commercials, Opinion



Homeless man With Golden Pipes Lands Gig With Kraft

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In an interesting confluence of events turned publicity goldmine, Ted Williams, the famed homeless man with golden pipes, has been hired by Crispin Porter + Bogusky to voice a new Kraft Macaroni & Cheese commercial set to air Sunday during the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on ESPN.

Of CPB's choice of Williams, Kraft Spokeswoman Lynne Galia told Advertising Age, "Like many others, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and our ad agency was moved by Ted Williams' story. His amazing voice is perfectly suited to our campaign. We were in the middle of making our TV spots and in a unique position to help Ted use his great voice to gain employment."

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by Steve Hall    Jan- 6-11    
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Commercials, Good, Opinion



Questionably Safe MINI Connected Brings Social Networking to the Dashboard

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We predict over the next year the proportional number of MINI's involved in car accidents will far outweigh that of any other vehicle. Why? Because MINI has deemed it worthy to provide access to popular social networks directly from the dashboard. We all know people can't text and drive so why would anyone think doing a very similar thing interacting with the dashboard would be any different? Yes, interacting with the dashboard is probably easier than interacting with a phone but it's still a diversion.

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by Steve Hall    Dec-23-10    
Topic: Brands, Commercials, Creative Commentary, Opinion










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