Which Ads Appealed to Women? Which Ones Appealed to Nobody?
by Gerry Myers
February 8, 2010

The New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts provided a great Super Bowl game. This is good, because the commercials didn’t offer much. At the end of the first quarter with the Colts up by 10, bad commercials led 20 to one. The game got more interesting as time went on, but the commercials didn’t.

There were distinct trends in Super Bowl XLIV ads. http://adage.com/superbowl10/article?article_id=141954

Most were boring, offensive and didn’t sell the product. You had to wait 25 of the 30 seconds in several commercials to even know what was being promoted. Most didn’t appeal to women or feature them. They really didn’t interest a lot of men either, unless they were very young and slapstick oriented. This year’s ad agencies took an expensive step backwards spending upwards of $2.5 million per spot.

Violence seemed to be a key theme of many Super Bowl ads. When I was in advertising classes or agencies, we focused more on grabbing attention with interesting storylines, showcasing the product, delivering a reason to buy and moving the customer to action. Have those basics really changed that much?

One advertiser I always look forward to seeing, Anheuser Busch, really let me down. Their ads were sexist, unfunny and geared primarily at young, immature males. If that is Bud Lite’s market and they don’t want to expand beyond that, they hit the mark. The best were the Lighthouse the sentimental Fence and the Michelob Lite commercials However, none were particularly memorable.

Bridgestone’s Your Tires or Your Life was insulting. Throwing his wife out of the car to save his tires makes me think the company has their priorities and values in the wrong order. After watching CareerBuilder.com’s Job Fairy, Worst Seat and Casual Friday, what can I say? Were they trying to see how many ways they could offend, insult and ridicule with adolescent humor?

The Docker’s ad with men in their underwear was neither entertaining nor good. My advice to Teleflora would be to fire your in-house creative and get an agency. They used the same lame concept as last year; this time they were less offensive. The Vizio ad was one of the worse. It sold action, destruction and lots of noise, but not a TV.

Doritos chose an unusual strategy. All spots were consumer generated ideas…and it shows. I did think the House Rules was the best of the four, but struggled with the child slapping the grown man.

Coca Cola’s two one minute spots were both mediocre at best. Neither appealed to me or would entice me to buy their product.

As a newcomer to the Super Bowl lineup, Homeaway.com created an entertaining ad with a message. While I was one of the few who didn’t choose the E-Trade ads last year as great, I did find them more interesting this year. However, I recommend they consider a new direction in the future. The GoDaddy ads also followed last year’s theme, and were just as sexist and uninspired. Another new comer is FloTV. While I liked the Moments of History ad a lot, I was not as impressed by the ad showing Jason as a spineless man who catered too much to his girlfriend’s wants.

One of the best spots was Mark Sanchez for Women’s Heart Health. It had a simple, clear, concise and powerful message. If a nonprofit can create such a good ad, why can’t agencies who are paid millions?

The Snicker’s ad featuring icon celebrity actress Betty White was likeable, entertaining and clearly a favorite. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by Universal Orlando did provide a glimpse into a fun, family vacation. Another attention-getting, but simple ad was the promotion for the David Letterman Show with Jay Leno, Oprah and David on a couch watching the game and talking.

Hyundai proved you can create good commercials, showcase your product, provide a message and be entertaining. The Brett Favre spot was all the above. Likewise, the commercial on the car as a work of art appealed to many, including women.


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