Super Bowl Commercial Highlights 2017
Well 2017 has already begun to have a record occurrences of firsts but politics aside the world of football dished out the first ever overtime in a Super Bowl game to win a record fifth title for their star quarterback on his return to victory from the largest halftime deficit a Super Bowl has ever seen. Intermingled throughout the game and packed into the already dense halftime break was a healthy serving of commercials at the pinnacle of advertising. This years ads cost five million to broadcast plus an additional million to advertise the potential commercial to be selected by the NFL and Fox Network. That gets your company one thirty second spot and does not include the millions in production costs that can far outweigh the airing budget. With a viewership of 170 million pairs of eyes and wallets these videos never fail to be professional, entertaining and extraordinary.
There was no shortages of celebrity casting this year as movie stars debuted their talents in the marketing world. There was an even an ensemble cast for the Honda ad featuring stars in their high school yearbook photos talking to the audience telling them to live their dreams. Despite the large cast of high profile names and an even higher budget remained unmemorable as there were much more entertaining ads sprinkled throughout the game.
Former NFL quarterback and Fox Sports announcer Terry Bradshaw starred in a Tide detergent commercial where the commercial breaks the sense of being a pre-taped commercial and borders on the realm of live television as Terry spills ketchup on his white dress shirt and leaves the game he announcing to visit good friend Jeffrey Tambor’s house to clean his shirt. A lot of hilarity ensues in these thirty seconds and Terry returns to announce the game thanks to a Tide product. The particularly noteworthy element of this spot was when we view Terry discussing the game live with the ketchup stained shirt. The audience is suspect to this being a real stain that went unnoticed by his wardrobe department or if this is part of something bigger. This is not exactly cross-promotional advertising for the Tide product as it is a cross-reference to the Tide commercial itself. This is further evidence that the commercial videos themselves are the actual product being sold on this day.
Keeping with the celebrity trend, Squarespace appropriated a recapitulated version of Being John Malkovich of course featuring movie star John Malkovich backed by gorgeous supporting actress Maggie Siff to sell website domain names. Instead of being inside Malkovich’s head, someone owns his domain name and he sends them threatening emails. This ad a bit confusing as it’s not clear how Squarespace acquires these domains for their customers but if you’ve ever had trouble getting the domain name you want and need some goons to show up someone’s door to get it done then that would be a valuable but illegal service.
Another interesting cross-reference to one of this year’s Super Bowl ads was how Apple News trended an article about Albert Einstein and his violin that popped up on iPhones around the world minutes after the airing of the Nat Geo Network’s commercial featuring Einstein playing a violin. Perhaps Apple News reporters were standing by waiting for the right article to report on or maybe they had a leak to the commercial and thought it would make an interesting article. The fact remains that these commercials are ripe with potential for cultural memes and there is a desire by many to expound on these thirty second spots more to the point of the entertainment and knowledge they profess than the selling of a product.
This year’s sponsor of the Halftime show was a company more known for it’s products in the 1960’s and 70’s. Recreating a relic for a new generation the return of Italian automotive company Alfa Romeo paid for Lady Gaga’s thigh struts and “ra-ra’s” to unleash it’s redeveloped new line of sport sedans.
Fox may be the only channel to air the football game but other networks know the halftime show time slot is valuable option for alternative styles of programming and The Hallmark Network clawed their way directly to the top with Kitten Bowl IV (CAUTION: this link may be too adorable to view in the office and will cause excessive distractions making http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/kitten-bowl/kitten-bowl-trading-cards/4#listheader ) With names like Coach Hairball and Catsanova even the manliest of defensive linemen will be brought to their knees. If you are focusing on how cute these furballs look then your subconscious is busy internalizing the sponsors with their product logos featured in the background. These ads are mostly geared towards pet products such as Pedigree cat and dog foods as well as Arm & Hammer’s new Clump & Seal cat box litter. Sponsoring the Kitten Bowl is a much cheaper option for these companies and targets the specific demographic they are trying to reach. It’s really a win-win in the marketing world.
Not all the ads were that wonderful as Yellowtail Wine featured a commercial starring an audio animatronic kangaroo personified at a party talking with guests, cooking and enjoying this Australian wine. The prosthetics of the kangaroo seemed awkward and unpleasant, not the best idea for a food related product. Some ads were just generally confusing to their audiences as with the new video game World of Tanks that begins it’s video with a commercial appearing to be for male erectile pills. The parody is somewhat humorous but didn’t translate well with most audiences unfamiliar with digital gaming. This year’s creepiest ad has to go to Turbo Tax for it’s Humpty Dumpty in a hospital. With a high budget for special effects they created something more apt for a horror movie but given the topic of filing and paying income taxes they may have it it right on the nail.
As mentioned in a previous blog about commercials leading up to the Super Bowl for Fox’s 24: Legacy the network relentlessly placed ads for this show during the Super Bowl and was able add another new show to the roster tiled ABP a futuristic cop show which has a similar theme and demographic of 24: Legacy.
The most entertaining commercials get votes in a USA Today poll and this year’s top winner went to Kia for their campaign for the new hybrid Niro model. This is the first time in 8 years that this particular poll chose a car commercial as their favorite ad; the previous five years were held by Budweiser beer commercials. This Kia ad was among the many to feature a movie star and current funniest woman in America Melissa McCarthy as she fights the wars of eco-activism on the front lines. Playing in the background is the Bonnie Tyler 1984 anthem I Need A Hero exciting sports fans and their adding a comic notion to much discussed environmental problems facing our society.
The biggest day in video advertising has come and gone but most of these commercials will continue to air on our favorite programs for several months. It is at that point that they need to hold their weight and bring in revenue. The opportunity they received to broadcast during the Super Bowl a pat on the back for a job well done last year with a few exceptions, one being the return of Alfa Romeo which will have to reevaluate their ability to afford such lavish spots after next quarter’s revenue. Maybe they’ll return next year to sponsor another Halftime show or find their products already featured in an Auto Trader ad on daytime television.