This time of year, commercials take center stage. Last year, I wrote about Super Bowl “Monday” and how TV news programs would be buzzing about the Super Bowl commercials the day after the big game. Which ones hit the mark, which ones didn’t? Nielsen Wire research confirms what we need to remember every year at this time: Effective Ads Marry Message with Impact. I continue to think Super Bowl commercials are a great entertainment feature of the big game – especially if your favorite NFL team doesn’t happen to be vying for the national title. (My team was IN last year – so the commercials took a back seat to the game itself. Not so this year, sadly.)
Last December I took note of a regional jewelry store that produced a series of ads and scheduled them in a way I thought was very effective. They were short – maybe 15 seconds – and ran during my morning news programs. Right there the store gets points – I am most definitely their target market (“HONEY! Look! I want that necklace for Christmas…”) and they reached me at just the right time of day. And they reached me repeatedly during the weeks before December 25th. I noticed that all of the spots had the store’s “branding” and included the same voice over. The one thing that varied was the “special” – “Buy one charm, get the bracelet for free…” or “Buy our signature ring and save $20 off your next purchase…”
So the advertisers hit just who they wanted, when they wanted. I remembered the message because I was reminded of it over the course of the “holiday purchasing season.” Plus, the store’s sales specials also doubled as a call to action. If I were to buy the ring, I would save money. These were not complicated or costly productions. But the advertiser hit a home run.
Since my holidays this year were not filled with jewelry, over the last month or so I’ve noticed and appreciated a few commercials that use humor effectively. I can watch each of these commercials over and over – and smile or laugh out loud every time. So here is my 2013 current list of favorites, and why I find them so funny:
H&R Block, Taxes, 2013
This guy’s facial expressions are so priceless. He makes the ad. And it appeals to my ever-present insecurity that my taxes and finances will never be in order by April 15th…but H&R Block can fix anything.
State Farm, Aaron Rodgers
The cheesehead kid at the end cracks me up. He is the consummate Green Bay fan, obviously, but he still wants the State Farm insurance deal.
NFL Fan Offers
Could this ad be any more timely? Talk about seeing into the future! The 49rs are in the Super Bowl! The only thing that doesn’t quite ring true about this ad is that Coach Harbaugh’s temperament appears much more mild than we have seen on the field.
These are both so funny – but I have to say, I love the “solitary confinement” the best. In any event, the E*Trade baby has become part of the firm’s brand, and the audience will tune in to watch any commercial that features the baby.
Love this because my dog actually ate our TV remote one morning, and we absolutely would have positioned her in multiple positions if we needed to just to change the channels. (Thankfully, the cable company replaced it, so it didn’t come to that.)
As I noted last year, TV advertising during the Super Bowl is a whole different story – often we see domination by international brands (because they are the companies who can best afford to advertise at a cost of $3.8million for a 30-second spot during the sports spectacular…) or up-and-coming brands who take a big risk in order to hit a huge audience. And usually these commercials have to resonate with the target market by using a different approach than my local jewelry store – they don’t have the luxury of using repetition or geo-targeting in a small media market.
These large brands have to capture our attention through an emotional connection, humor, or unexpected entertainment. But can they stay in our memory? That’s the key. Of course the Super Bowl Monday critiques by broadcast and Internet pundits will certainly help.
Happy viewing all!