Super Bowl Commercial Legacies
Assuming that over 112,000,000 people will be watching the big game on Sunday, advertisers are held to a certain standard for the pricey Super Bowl ad spots. The likelihood of viewership only adds to the pressure of creating a commercial which is both entertaining and memorable for its content and their brand.
The well-known companies who have been running commercials during the game for centuries are doing something right. What do all of those commercials have in common?
- Apple – Alluding to George Orwell’s novel, “1984” streamed during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII. It was a representation of the Macintosh computer saving humanity from Big Brother, or the technology industry being saved from IBM. Witty, intelligent, and art-worthy.
- Pepsi – This brand has many notable Super Bowl commercials, but the most viewed one of all time was “Coke Driver Nabs Pepsi” in 1996. A supermarket camera catches a Coke delivery driver “cheating” on his place of employment by preferring the competition, Pepsi. There was no alluding of the brands in this one, they were very obvious.
- Budweiser – Or should I say Bud-Wei-Ser. The Bud frogs stuck around for several years and simply ribbeted a monotonic brand name to get it stuck in the audience’s heads. Not very exciting, but I think that was the point.
- McDonald’s – Michael Jordan and Larry Bird go toe to toe in a game of…HORSE? The prize, A Big Mac. It was the subtle use of stardom and entertainment coupled with the preference of the brand which made this commercial rank highly.
- E*Trade – The E*Trade Baby in 2009 lightened a slump of a bad several years of Super Bowl commercials. With the little guy speaking in an adult voice, he advertises the brand by discussing finance and investments. Although not yet a legacy, E*Trade was part of a new generation of commercials and notable enough to be considered a very good ad.
Taking a look at these, the common theme seems to be subtly undercutting the competition, using a well-known actor or person, or pure entertainment. Overall, creativity reigns in the light of a good advertisement, and I assume that will continue. I wonder what they will come up with this year!