Ads to watch for during Super Bowl XLVIII

The Super Bowl usually proves to be a pretty entertaining game, but even more entertaining are some of the ads that companies spend millions to create for the occasion. With spots going for a record $4.5 million each this year, there are often some memorable creations that stay with you long after the final field goal. 2011 enjoyed the game’s highest audience count, with 111 million tuning in to watch the match up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, the Packers winning 31-25.

This year I’ll be rooting for my neighbors, the Seattle Seahawks as they battle the Denver Broncos. But I’ll keep a keen eye open for the commercials, though many of them won’t be shown in Canada.

My favorite ad last year was the unforgettable Dodge Ram “Farmers” spot, which ultimately generated some controversy because people didn’t realize the relationship between Dodge and the farming magazine that had created a similar ad years earlier.

Not everyone can afford to take part in Super Bowl advertising. I love how Newcastle Honey Brown Ale dealt with this issue, in their highly creative promotion on what they would have run if they could have. It’s powerful and memorable, perhaps doing more for the brand than if they had actually been able to run advertising during the game.

Here are some ads showing great promise for the 2014 game:

Volkswagen: Wings

I love this ad. Fun and completely unexpected, it relates beautifully to the brand message without letting visuals or other elements get in the way of the message. Instead, they enhance the message and make it more memorable. It’s already gaining some controversy because, for some, it doesn’t show enough diversity. Go figure.

Budweiser: Puppy Love

On the heels of last year’s popular “Clydesdales” ad comes this great new commercial about the special relationship between a Budweiser Clydesdale horse and a 10-week-old puppy. Deeply touching and superbly positioned for the “Best Buds” tagline, it’s likely to be the favorite ad of this year’s game.

Bud Light: Donnie Llama

Not sure what to expect just yet, but starring Don Cheadle and a llama, this teaser prepares us for “whatever is coming.”

Jaguar: Villains

Entertaining production out of Britain that celebrates British culture in an interesting way: various top actors asking whether you noticed that all the bad guys in movies are invariably British. Then it goes on to highlight the new F-Type coupe by showing why Brits make better bad guys.

M&M’s: Yellow

M&M’s has something going on with their yellow candies. We don’t know exactly what happens, but it should be interesting.

Wonderful Pistachios: Stephen Colbert

Wonderful Pistachios has tapped the recognition power of Stephen Colbert, who says that “on February second, apparently two professional football teams will be playing a game in honor of my first Wonderful Pistachios commercial.” Might be entertaining, but not sure if it will do a lot to build desire for pistachios. We’ll see.

H&M: David Beckham

H&M is giving viewers a chance to vote on which version of David Beckham they want to see during Sunday’s game: covered or uncovered. Nice way to build awareness prior to the game, though it’s not hard to figure which one will win the vote.

Car Max: Humans vs. Puppies

Car Max surprised me with the impact of their “human” version Super Bowl ad. It’s funny and touching at the same time, and relates well to the brand. But I’m mystified by the “puppy” version they created. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense and undoes the impact of the main ad. Not sure if they’ll run both versions during the game.

Toyota: Stranded

Rowlf the dog, of Muppets fame, makes an appearance in this preview starring former NFL player and Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor Terry Crews. Will be looking forward to seeing what happens.

George Pytlik

George Pytlik has been involved in the advertising industry for over 30 years and designed his first website when the Internet was one year old. He was an internationally recognized speaker on advertising and branding and served on a number of communication committees at various times throughout his career, as well as writing a regular column for Marketing magazine.

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