I am going to make this short and sweet (or snarky) because I know we have all just endured the longest power outage in NFL history. Which is a good place to start. I would love to be a fly on the wall in the Super Dome back office. As I noted on Twitter, I think that the Director of PR for New Orleans can pitch a new book tomorrow: PR When the Lights Go Out. I tweeted that chapter one would be about checking the power bill, but honestly, we all know that they never ran expected that scenario. We can assume they had a thorough inspection prior to the largest sporting event of the year and unfortunately someone may have simply under-estimated the heat that goes into making Beyonce look hot.
Let this serve as a reminder to event planners everywhere: Plan for the worst. If you have pyrotechnics launching ever three seconds, you better have a back up fuse or two (or back-up generator) in your bag.
Besides the jokes, I doubt very many spectators will harbor ill feelings, but it is unfortunate for New Orleans and the Superdome from a business standpoint, as the city hopes to capture the hosting privileges for 2018 to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the city. Luckily, no one panicked and all was well after the 34 minute delay, but for the management and the ground crew, I am sure the event felt like a disaster.
I just wish someone had pulled the plug on the bad commercials! Dudes choking on hot dogs; sheep eating Doritos; teenage mutant senior citizens running amok; Dafoe as the devil; Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen channeling Beavis and Butthead; and some hot chick kissing a toad. GoDaddy would have had better luck having her kiss Danica Patrick!
By the end of the first half, I was in double jeopardy – my team was behind and there was not one commercial that I had enjoyed. And then, as it often happens, Oprah saved everything. The Jeep commercial saluting our troops was sugary sentimental, but in the best way. Very few things make us cry these days and two minutes of Mama Earth telling us that “We are a nation that is home again” is just what we all needed. It re-framed the game after an hour of juvenile jokes and reminded us, for two minutes, why this great American event is even important.
Ads that seemed to get respect were the ones that pulled on our heart strings a little. Frankly, I think that is because consumers are tired of crap. We’re a smarter viewer and we don’t have time to waste on banal ad campaigns dreamed up by desperate creative teams in an effort to garner agency awards for unsuspecting, over-spending clients.
The ads that I (and many) favored certainly gave a little tug or touched a tender spot, but at least they didn’t leave us shaking our heads (Assy white guys faking Jamaican accents in a German car? What does that even mean!?!) Budweiser had an odd, but moving hit with their story of Clydesdale love. Deion Sanders was sweet in his humorous attempt to be drafted again as Leon Sandcastle. Ram’s pictorial feast featuring Paul Harvey was a pleasure, and so visually and emotionally stimulating, that I didn’t even mind the conservative tone. The parents who wished to avoid “the talk” with their young son created a sweet fantasy baby making world that was fun to watch. But of the dozens of ads, only a handful really hit a home run with viewers.
It’s as if the entire process of creating, managing and delivering the advertisements were dreamed up to purposely exclude actual target customers. The ads rarely had a marketing message and few offered any social media interaction. Only Coke and Pepsi attempted to move from television to internet and even the corporations with huge social media resources failed to offer up a URL, Hashtag or Twitter handle.
Samsung, which has vast social media experience, did not even have the presence of mind to create and manage the Mr. Sam Sung Twitter account. It appears some random person threw up the handle as the commercial aired. And why they were not encouraging customers to tweet with Mr. Sam Sung is beyond explanation. It’s as if they had no inkling that a zillion people would want to find Mr. Sam Sung after seeing the commercial. It’s like they purposely developed this ad when their PR team was gone all day at a social media conference.
My first response on Facebook was that “I think it says something [in general] about advertising and specifically that this venue brings out the ridiculous and ineffective…in hopes that the client will be an internet sensation the next day.” There was literally zero attempt to practically connect consumers with a product or brand. I know we have come a long way baby, but we are not so sophisticated that we can actually stop selling our products.
I had lots of comments, post and retweets confirming my opinions, but I want to hear from you. What do you think? Was it a successful Brand Bowl or did relevant branding go down in defeat?