Super Bowl wins the night, overshadows ads
(AP, ABC7) - The pressure was on. The tension was thick. And then, there were yawns in between.
The Super Bowl may have been a nail biter, but the ads were a snooze.
Actor Clint Eastwood waxed for two minutes about Detroit and Chrysler. An M&M stripped "naked" at a party. And stars from the 90s were everywhere, as were dogs and babies, of course.
“The one with Clint Eastwood was pretty impressive,” says Shaun Gildea, a D.C. resident. “I noticed the whole room got quiet when that came on.”
Companies paid an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot for the right to duke it out Sunday in front of the expected 111 million-plus fans. But there were it was all so ordinary with fewer surprises.
“I was excited to see all the dogs,” says Arlington resident Shannon Hughes.
That's mostly because nearly half of the 70 Super Bowl advertisers put their spots out online in the days leading up to the game. And the companies that did wait until game day for the "big reveal" didn't take many risks. In fact, most settled on cliche plots with babies, celebrities, sex and humor.
"Advertisers this year are playing it very safe," said Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University. "They're running spots that are clearly designed to appeal to a broad audience and not to offend."
In summary, domain name-hosting site GoDaddy’s ads showed racecar driver Danica Patrick and fitness expert Jillian Michaels body painting a nude woman. A spot for clothing retailer H&M features soccer star David Beckham in black-and-white in his undies. And online florist Teleflora and automaker Kia both use Victoria Secret's model Adriana Lima in their Super Bowl ads.
And among the few standouts for the night was a Fiat ad that equated seeing a Fiat for the first time with making out with a sexy Italian super model. The tagline: "You'll never forget the first time you see one."
One Doritos spot shows a man being bribed by a dog with the chips to keep the animal's dirty secret about a cat's disappearance. In another spot, a grandmother uses a slingshot to hoist a baby up to grab a bag of Doritos that belongs to a boy in a tree who had been taunting the baby with the chips.
Those two ads were crowd favorites, said Peter Dabol, who analyzes advertising effectiveness at research firm Ace Metrix. The firm polled 500 viewers about the ads to find the most popular.
"It's a typical Super Bowl, funny carries the day," he said. "Advertisers are driving for attention and likeability."
Chrysler, one of nine automakers advertising during the game, aired a Super Bowl ad starring Clint Eastwood. The aging actor talks about the rebirth of Chrysler and Detroit. The two-minute "Imported from Detroit" ad, one of the few spots that weren't released before the game, follows the company's ad last year that starred rapper Eminem.
"How do we come from behind, how do we come together and how do we win?" he asks. "Detroit is showing us it can be done. What's true about them is true about all of us."
Chrysler's ad was among the few surprises - and standouts - on Sunday. "Those very few ads that weren't overexposed up front ended up with a real advantage," said Raymond Taylor, a professor of marketing at the Villanova School of Business in Villanova, Penn.
Meanwhile, real-estate company Century 21's ad shows that a real estate agent is able to outdo speed skater Apolo Ohno on the ice, business mogul Donald Trump in business and former football player Deion Sanders at an open house.
And in an ad for Pepsi, "The X Factor" winner Melanie Amaro belts out "Respect" for music icon Elton John, who plays a king in the spot. "Pepsi for all," she says. At the end of the ad, John finds himself in the dungeon with rapper and reality TV star Flavor Flav.
Nostalgia also was a theme. Honda's ad for its compact sports-utility vehicle CR-V shows actor Matthew Broderick living a grown-up version of his 1986 hit movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The ad includes two dozen references to the movie.
An Acura NSX ad features 1990s comedic titan Jerry Seinfeld battling with late-night talk show host Jay Leno over the sportscar. The ad includes Seinfeld references like a cameo by the "Soup Nazi" character.
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