08 Feb 2016

The Good, the Bad, and the WTF?

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Yesterday was second Christmas for marketers all over the country. The NFL celebrated their 50th Super Bowl last night, a sporting event that has become something of a national holiday for many Americans. Millions of viewers, dozens of celebrities, and the most shocking, outside-the-box ads from the nation's top brands.

It’s always a toss up for which piece of the Super Bowl is more important: the ads or the football. This year the football itself was lackluster (at least to us Patriot fans here in the Rinck Maine office). A penalty laden game full of miscues by the usually stellar Carolina offense and a boorishly unstoppable Denver defense, it was a little underwhelming. However, during any disappointing Super Bowl, the ads quickly become the main focus. From Puppymonkeybabies to Ryan Reynolds, here is Rinck’s rundown of the best (and weirdest) plays from last night.

The Good:

#1 - Honda’s ‘Somebody to Love’ spot seems to have taken the office by storm. A top favorite, the spot does an awesome job of highlighting an unusual but attractive product feature: truck bed speakers. The spot was weird and outside-the-box, but remained on brand and was highly entertaining.

#2 – Doritos’ ‘Ultrasound’ spot was another of the top favorites. Returning to the fan created ads that have given Doritos some memorable spots over the last couple of years, the spot was funny and outlandish, though some thought the ad went too far. As for the Rinck team? – It was on point, especially for a Super Bowl spot.

#3 - Weiner Stampede’ won cutest of the night. With a stampede of dachshunds (colloquially named ‘weiner dogs’) running towards a group of people dressed up as Heinz products, it was an adorable spot highlighting a beloved brand.

#4 – Jeep had two spots that stood out last night. ‘Portraits’ and ‘4x4ever’ were definite favorites, both focusing on Jeep’s 75th anniversary. The first was a brilliantly shot black and white spot featuring people, pop culture references, and of course the evolution of Jeep. It was artfully cut and solidified Jeep as a heritage brand. As for ‘4x4ever’, the spot was catchy and fun, quick moving and in color. It spoke more towards the future of Jeep, and the potential of the brand. Overall a great job by Jeep, celebrating 75 years.

#5 – Audi’s ‘Starman’ came on early in the first quarter. An inspirational piece about traveling to the moon, the spot featured a retired astronaut dreaming of space, who was then brought back to that moment of liftoff when he drives his son’s Audi. The spot finishes with David Bowie’s 1972 hit, ‘Starman’. Especially poignant a month after the iconic singer’s death in January, Audi’s ‘Starman’ spot pushed us all to dream of space and our idol once again.

#6 – Hyundai, like Jeep, had two spots that were popular this year. ‘First Date’ and ‘Ryanville’ both featured celebrities in funny and unexpected ways. Kevin Hart’s overprotective father in ‘First Date’ was cute and hilarious, capitalizing on Hart’s stunts in recent action/comedy films like ‘Ride Along’ and ‘Ride Along 2’. ‘Ryanville’ featured a town full of Ryan Reynolds, each as attractive as the last. This spot was also fairly topical, as Reynold’s film ‘Deadpool’ is set to release this Friday. Both spots had fun highlighting unusual but practical Hyundai features like GPS locators (‘First Date’) and emergency braking systems (‘Ryanville’).

#7 – Death Wish Coffee’s ‘Storm’s a-Brewin was also an office favorite, as it’s the favored coffee brand of Digital Art Director Jake Macgillivary. The spot was clever and illustrated the strength of the coffee, which lets all admit, we could use a cup of this morning.

#8 – Toyota’s ‘The Longest Chase’ was an unexpected favorite for many. Following a group of middle aged men after a bank robbery, the group escapes in a Toyota Prius, leading police on a multi-day car chase. The team outlasts the cops and becomes a national phenomenon. It’s a cute spot, funny and surprising down to the last second where the group sneaks through a group of sleeping officers in police cruisers.

The Bad:

#1 - Xifaxan’s ‘IBS’ spot. This ad, along with many other pharmaceutical backed spots struck a cord last night. People were outraged over social media that commercials for ‘gross’ products were even part of the Super Bowl celebration. No one wants to see intestines in any context on Super Bowl Sunday. No one.

#2 – Marmot’s ‘Love the Outside' was an interesting spot in theory, but in execution the spot came off as strange and out of place. The thought behind it, “love the outside” is a nice sentiment, and good for a sporting and clothing goods outfitter. Going in for the kiss at the end? Not so much.

The WTF?:

As with any Super Bowl, we also had our fair share of outlandish and polarizing spots. Mountain Dew's 'Puppymonkeybaby' took the top spot in this category. Rincksters either loved it or hated it, but either way, none of us can get it out of our heads this morning. Also in this category: ‘Avos in Space’, Amazon Echo’s ‘#BaldwinBowl’, Skittles’ ‘The Portrait’, and Apartments.com’s ‘Moving Day’.

Dark Horses:

Finally, we had a few that came out of nowhere. Axe’s ‘Find Your Magic’ spot was an unexpected twist on their usual theme. Encouraging guys to find their unique magic, whether it’s an outfit, a car, a physical feature, or a talent, the spot was as uplifting as it was fun. Also in this category? PayPal’s ‘New Money’. The spot changes the stereotype of new money, making the concept into something fluid and constantly changing, like PayPal itself. Mini Cooper’s ‘Defy Labels’ rounds out this list, featuring celebrities of all kinds breaking down stereotypes around the Mini Cooper. It was a sharp and succinct spot, perfect for highlighting the much maligned car.

For now, that’s the recap from our favorite day of the year. See you after Super Bowl LI!