It’s time for super commercials
I’ve been excited to see this Sunday’s Super Bowl ads, and not just because I’m a marketing dork.I live and breathe by the word of J.D. Power & Associates.Career-wise I’m investing quite a bit into the Volkswagen and Audi brands these days. And I’m proud to see them stepping up to the scrimmage line of cleverness with their Super Bowl ads. They aren’t going to be the complete surprise I usually experience when watching Super Bowl commercials, thanks to the Internet.Facebook practically needs a spoiler alert on everything. Both brands have already released their Super Bowl commercials, which are fun and funny. Audi USA even had a contest that invited the general public to vote on their favorite ending to the commercial titled “Prom.” In the one-minute spot, a kid gets the keys to his dad’s super-fast car that he takes to the prom as he goes stag. The prom queen gets kissed and the prom king gets pissed, leading to the commercial’s clever ending. There were three different possibilities, and the winner will be aired Sunday.I think I’m going to wait to see what happens.I like the Super Bowl commercials because this is the time of year when marketing gurus have their chance to really shine. I am always amazed how one idea can grow into such fantastic works of art. I have some experience working for an ad agency back in Columbus, Ohio, so I appreciate the long hours of hardcore brainstorming that go into the creative end of marketing.Long hours are key there.In an agency environment, ideas are born, coddled and formed into the final products we see before, during and even after the biggest football game of the year. Thousands of man, and woman, hours are put into the life of a 30-second spot. There are so many players in the creative birthing process – the copy writers, editors, artists, actors, videographers, grips, etc. – that I get excited just thinking about the art of it all.Told you I was a dork.Some may say they hate TV commercials. I look at them in a whole different light. That’s mostly because I’ve worked in marketing. So I know it’s not all an evil plan to promote commercialism. And it’s true, we have to spend money to make money. Marketing responds to what the public seeks. There are focus groups that prove it. Real people, as opposed to robots, are invited to participate in market studies and tell advertisers what best sells their product. And Super Bowl advertising is no small-time game. More than 100 million people are expected to watch this year’s match-up between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.That’s not just a couple of dudes watching the game in their man caves.The focus group and public input is vital to a Super Bowl commercial’s success. Someone – actually, many people at some point – had to agree that talking babies would sell online stock trading. People love the talking babies. They also drive home the idea that humor really sticks in the minds of football-watching fans during Super Bowl Sunday. People remember funny.Unfortunately, they remember not-so-funny, too.One of my favorite Super Bowl commercials is “The Force” spot by VW, where a little kid dressed as Darth Vader believes he has the power to start his parents’ car thanks to his dad’s remote start function. Marketing folks know that Star Wars fans are all grown up with cars and kids of their own. Well, most of us have grown up, or at least are coming pretty close. So by consumers’ standards, this is the kind of commercial that works. And it works well.Who doesn’t love a little kid dressed up as a Star Wars figure?I also love any commercial with Betty White, so Doritos knows what people in my demographic dig. The mantra that sex sells goes out the window with Betty and talking baby commercials. But funny is really king, in my humble opinion. So I think it’s silly when $10 million is thrown into a commercial that basically features cleavage and hot women. Those commercials exist, though, so I can’t snicker too much. As a marketer I know there are focus groups that continue to give the thumbs up to cleavage and hot women.I know very well that hot guys sell stuff, too.Maybe that’s why I’ll be just as interested in the football game as the commercials. Just as long as I have something to laugh and talk about come Monday morning.Hopefully that will involve Betty White and some talking babies. – “April in Glenwood” appears every Wednesday. April E. Clark is pulling for San Francisco. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@gmail. com.
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