on by in Advertising

Last night’s game was a nail biter, for both football fans and for the advertisers.

At the beginning of the second half, things were looking grim. At 28-6, the game was looking like a blowout (never great for second-half advertisers) when a bizarre blackout threw the Mercedes-Benz Superdome into darkness. If you’re an advertiser waging as much as $4 million for 30 seconds of air time in the second half, the last thing you want is a lopsided game, much less a delay that might cause people to give up, change the channel or go to bed.

So you could almost hear an audible sigh of relief among advertisers when the power came back on and it ignited an improbable 49ers comeback that tied fans to their seats until almost until the very last play. More people watching the game means more people watching the ads, and while the extended break wasn’t ideal, it did mean some Super Bowl advertisers like Audi, Oreos, Tide and Volkswagen could cleverly use the gap to their advantage. And in fact, early Nielsen estimates indicate this year’s game was the most-watched Super Bowl ever.

Advertising Age has been reviewing Super Bowl ads for decades, long before the ads themselves were considered as much a part of the entertainment experience as the game itself. This year, Ad in-house critic Ken Wheaton found a lot to like. Among our faves? Budweiser’s “Brotherhood” brought the Clydesdales and some emotion, back to the Super Bowl. Samsung’s “The Big Pitch,” with Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and a cameo from LeBron James solidified the company as the top marketer in tech. Ram Trucks’ homage to the farmer was epic in length for a Super Bowl ad and a worthy follow up to its “Imported From Detroit” ad last year.

 

 

 

Catch up on the ads you missed here at Hulu, or if you really want to nerd out on the advertising, and the strategy behind it, visit us at AdAge.com or follow us on Twitter at @adage.

Happy watching.

 

on by in Advertising, News

Tonight, as football fans gorged on pizza and beer, Superbowl commercial fans gorged on ads, and Hulu was there to serve a heaping helping of this year’s “big game” ads in the Hulu’s Toyota AdZone. As the confetti settles in New Orleans, and junk food settles in our stomachs, let’s take a look at this evening’s most liked ads.

Wild Card: Cars.com: Wolf

A car-buying couple misses the drama they used to have before discovering Cars.com. So their salesman puts them between a wolf cub and its snarling mother. Baby animal trend officially established for 2013.

Wild card: Hyundai: Stuck
A clever ad about how I feel very day on every single road there is.

What? I live in Los Angeles.

Wild Card: NFL: Sandcastle
Just hilarious.

15: Oreo: Whisper Fight
A cowboy-style bar fight breaks out in a library, and everybody whispers. What’s the fighting all about? Whether the cream or the cookie is the best part of the Oreo. We say the cookie. Or do we?

14: Dorito’s: Fashionista Daddy
There were two Dorito’s ads in AdZone, and this one got the most Likes. While not as entertaining, original, funny, or as inventive as the “Goat 4 Sale” ad, this one does have men in women’s clothing. So it’s got that going for it.

13: Grande Papi
This is exactly how I feel when I go out with my 4 month-old son strapped to my chest. We look so awesome. I stalk through the grocery aisles, feeling like a member of some kind of baby SWAT team, with my adorable kid and all my gear. Taco Bell captured the essence of proud daddyhood in this ad, and Hulu viewers rewarded that effort with Likes.

12: Kia: Space Babies
A fantastical super-bowl style ad that has nothing to do with the Kia Sorrento. Beautiful to look at, and babies.
Downside: voice-activated service requires driver to call out its unwieldy name: “Uvo”.
Upside: Baby animal trend perpetuated.

11: Audi: Prom
Dad’s Audi inspires courage in a lonely teenage boy. In this spot, Audi makes being a loner look cool and daring.
The awesome shot of the Audi’s illuminating headlamps as the engine growls to life is now a familiar staple of the Audi Super Bowl ad.

10: Milk: The Rock in Morning Run
An entirely awesome ad, and my personal favorite of 2013. To me, this is a pitch-perfect over-the-top Super Bowl ad. Tons of action and hyperbole, and the product is still front and center.

9: Jeep: America Will Be Whole Again
Continuing their “patriotic” theme from last year (minus the crumbly spokesman), Chrysler hit us with a heavy 2 minute spot about our heroes returning home. Viewers across America responded positively.

8: Skechers GORun 2: Cheetah
A running shoe commercial where a man outruns a cheetah. Nothing groundbreaking (we had a cheetah ad last year), but we all got a kick out of seeing the runner exchange a fist bump with the gazelle at the end.

7: GoDaddy: Perfect Match
A big hit with our software developers (all of whom are more attractive than “Walter”), this ad featured Israeli model Bar Refaeli smooching a nerdy guy… for a long time. Popular (I assume) for shock value, this ad lip-smacked its way into our top 10.

6: World War Z: Big Game Spot
A 30-second condensed version of the trailer, this ad opened World War Z to an audience who may not be familiar with the acclaimed zombie novel. Fans of the zombie genre have been hungry for this one, and this spot whet their appetites even further.

5: Fast & Furious 6 (Fast 6): Trailer
The ad that made me laugh the most this year was oddly enough, not supposed to. This short teaser for the sixth installment of the franchise following a group of street-racing thieves (who apparently become superhuman) grabbed a lot of attention in this year’s AdZone.

4: Budweiser: Brotherhood
So, I cried at a beer commercial tonight. That happened. Every year Anheuser-Busch airs an ad featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales, and quite frankly I’ve always found them to be on the boring side. These are just horses, where’s the beer? But this year, I was moved by the story of a young man raising a Clydesdale, only to send the horse far away to be a part of the famous Budweiser team. Their reunion at the end brought a tear to my eye, and I suspect, to many others. A sentimental ad from Bud comes in at number 4.

3: Volkswagen: Get In. Get Happy.
The always-upbeat tall white guy in the office, made more emphatic by his Jamaican accent, brought laughs to everyone at my Superbowl party. In advertising, happiness is a pretty good thing to sell, and Volkswagen nailed it. They didn’t try to play on the success of last year’s ad, they just went for it. Hulu viewers responded by giving it the 3rd most Likes in this year’s AdZone.

2: Taco Bell: Viva Young
Hauling out an old chestnut of a concept that worked well for Six Flags, Boost Mobile, the movie Cocoon, and the Jackass series, Taco Bell hit a home run with a group of senior citizens partying into the night.

1: Ram Trucks: Farmer
In a two-minute stunner, Dodge changed everything we’ve come to expect from a Super Bowl ad. No music, no explosions, no famous actors, just a somber monologue from radio legend Paul Harvey, accompanied by striking gritty visuals of farmers at work. Dodge extended a hand of respect to its customers with this ad, with its carefully metered pace and honest tone. Resonating with viewers across America, this unique spot grabbed our attention, and the number one slot in this year’s AdZone.