Monday, February 4, 2008

The Super Bowl and New Media--One Last Time

It’s the Monday morning after and most of the pundits are working on Super Bowl ad reviews. My interest was UCG content, and I also watched for ads that were designed to drive traffic to websites.

Of the UCG contests I listed on Wednesday, the only winner actually played during the game was Doritos “Kina: Message from Your Heart.” Doritos introduced it by saying they were offering her a large stage, and as far as I’m concerned she represented the brand better than most of the celebrities that were ubiquitous (obnoxious?) in the agency-produced ads. The Upper Deck winner apparently made it to the game, but not to the advertising slapdown. Hope the KFC winner enjoyed his big party; the players followed league rules and didn’t engage in “hot wings dance”—thankfully. The NFL invited text messages to vote for MVP during the game, not an innovation, but engaging nonetheless.

I found myself watching for ads that were designed to drive viewers to web sites. It reminds me of the golden days of direct marketing in which a classic question was, “If it contains a 1-800 telephone number, does that make it a direct-response ad?” The answer to that is a resounding, “No;” the ad must have an explicit call to action in order for it to be direct response.

The same is true of listing your URL in an ad. It doesn’t qualify as direct-response but it’s still a reasonable thing to do as brand building. The usual suspects—GoDaddy with its teaser on the rejected ad and Sales Genie with its free sales lead offer—have drawn huge traffic in the past and surely did so last night.

The Tide ad in which the interview was disrupted by the talking stain was pretty bad. I took the bait and visited Another contest, but this one is fast paced with daily prizes. It’s an application of mashups—pun intended. Another that had a direct call to action, even though I thought the commercial was uninspiring, was Sunsilk shampoo. It turns out that the tie in with the commercial that opened with Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe (young women even know who they are?) is a chance to become a “new international icon” by posting your hair-care story on MySpace. Well, maybe. . .

Because I found so little that was inspired or inspiring, my favorite hands-down was "Clydesdale Team.” How can you loose with a goal-oriented horse, a dog, and one of the most inspirational movie themes of all time? The one I disliked most was the first eTrade spot, which ended with the baby throwing up. Appropriate, I thought. It was closely followed by the Coke commercial that parodied political season. Neither James Carville or Bill Frist are particularly appealing personalities and the idea they would bond over a Coke is ludicrous. Actually I agreed with Bob Garfield who didn’t like most of them—does that make me an old curmudgeon? Seriously, Garfield's video has some social commentary worth thinking about in the struggle to be heard over all the advertising noise.

If you missed anything, AdAge has all the spots posted. MSN has them all and a contest to boot. Nielsen will do a webcast on its ad reviews today at noon. And all the rest of us self-appointed pundits will continue to pontificate for some time to come.

But enough’s enough. It’s time to get back to the serious business of a new media age in which our audiences are looking to us for more than the same old thing. For my money, they didn’t find it on the Super Bowl!
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1 comment:

Miguel said...

We just posted our 4th annual study of how well super bowl advertisers integrated online and offline advertising - we'll be writing more about this on our blog, but the preliminary findings are already up on our site: Super Bowl XLII Scorecard.