At $100,000 Per Second, Super Bowl Ads Need to Deliver More Than Just a Laugh

What makes a good Superbowl ad?  Well, besides, the obvious selling points: Sex, humor and (what I like to call) heartstrings (you know, those ads that tug at them), what makes a good ad is tapping into the three M’s.  First, the ad must be memorable.  If you’re going to spend $100,000 per second (yes, per second), you’d better hope that everyone in the room remembers your ad. 

The ad must also move the audience, either emotionally or literally.  The audience should be moved to pick up the phone, visit the website or change brands.  If it’s a branding campaign, then you’d better hope the needle moves in your direction with regard to awareness.  If a company is spending that kind of dough, something better move…

The last ‘M’ is meaningful.  Make the message meaningful to the brand.  For example, last year’s CareerBuilder.com ad staring none other than a heart that leaps out of a woman’s chest, was well, disturbing at best. In fact, better yet, it was gross, uncomfortable and made me think twice about finishing the bowl of chili I had been enjoying up until that very moment.  An ad must speak to the brand promise and reinforce it in some way.  There needs to be some connection between the brand and its message. 

So, which commercials actually met the ‘M’ criteria?  Here are a few of my picks. 

1. Bridgestone: “Screaming Squirrel (hilarious and tied directly back to the product)

2. E*Trade: Kids and animals are always a safe bet for commercials.  E-Trade put such an unexpected spin on the ‘kid’ thing and did it brilliantly.  It tied into the brand in that E-Trade is easy and anyone can do it.  And, they gave us a good laugh along the way.  The creepy clown comment…. priceless (and oh so true).

3. Budweiser: Hank the Clydesdale and the Dalmatian lived up to the Bud promise.  Although we LOVE the funny Bud Light commercials, we need something that makes us feel good.  Oh yeah, they tugged the ‘heartstrings’ hard – and we all loved it!

To get you warmed up for Super Bowl XLIII, here is a link to last year’s creative Top 10 lineup: Super Bowl XLII: Top 10 Ads

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