Beyond Nachos And Chicken Wings

The Super Bowl: A quintessentially American spectacle celebrating the manly sport of football. Diehard football fans will cringe, but my favorite moments of the Super Bowl (even when the Bears or Cowboys are playing) are the commercials.

For the creative teams behind the campaigns (writers, art directors, producers), it’s their big game. It’s a chance to heckle the competition and compare notes on who got it right and who went down in flames.

My scorecard is slightly different. I give points for emotional resonance (humor, heartstrings) and clarity (always under valued). But I save the highest scores for spots that cut through the clutter. Spots likely to spike sales or build awareness. Let’s call it the “unforgettable quotient”.

Here are my top 3:

Chrysler “Imported From Detroit”. Brilliant tagline, inspiring copy. While it’s long—too long?—it tells a story that draws you in to route for the home team.

Living Social “Bring Surprise To Your Life”. While short on production value, it’s great positioning to debut their brand identity. Fun, engaging, they deliver one consistent message creatively.

Mercedes “Welcome To The Family”. Richly shot, it tells a compelling story that keeps building an iconic, aspirational brand. Don’t you want to join the family? Volkswagon “The Force” gets honorable mention (especially since it cost a fraction of the Mercedes spot).

What is any competition without some special mentions? Best demonstration of their “big idea” (to refresh the world): Coke “Border Crossing”. Best low budget: Doritos “Pug Attack”.  Best animal: Bridgestone “Carma”.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite that should be in this line-up? Reward for your additions: my favorite chicken wing recipe.



  • Thanks Rochelle. I too liked the Dorito pug at the door but not much else. Oh sure there were a few smiles but there was something lacking for me this year (and the past few). Perhaps all the hype that leads up to the ‘this is the best of the best!’ . . . But it’s not. I see sooooooo much more in the snippets of funny or die or the myriad of other sites. I love the “movie as advert”. But.

    Creative catch is SO much harder than it use to be. Just like selling gas in the 80’s I guess. The challenge to me is how to make me think you get it. In the past the odd use to be able get by as something new but now we can’t do that anymore.

    So how do you sell me . . .


  • Larry wolf



  • Thanks for your thoughts Jim (and the applause Larry).
    The world is a whole lot more sophisticated these days and creative really has to break through the clutter. But network TV is the old model–we’re all getting much more of our influences off the web. Shorter attention spans, faster pace and we want customized experiences.

    No different for advisors–we have to be clear on our value proposition and present it as uniquely and creatively as we can. While still being deeply authentic….

  • I’m going to have to vote for the Coke ad because I’m a global girl at heart and it warms me to see the ‘we’re all alike if you look below the surface’ concept, but I have to give an honorable mention to Chrysler for their (too long) brilliant attempt to make the world smaller and focus on Detroit instead of the whole USA. Opposite strategies, both brilliantly effective.

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