Deepashree Banerjee

Who tracks Super Bowl ads?

We asked a few young creative execs. about their favourite Super Bowl ads - and lessons therein.

The Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, (professional American football teams for the uninitiated) are to face off at Super Bowl LIII on February 3, less than two weeks away.

To most of us here in India, it makes no difference as it's an American pastime rarely, if ever, discussed on our shores. That being said, the Super Bowl is probably the most fascinating time for adlanders. And that's solely because this is the time of the year when we get to see some truly 'super' (pun intended) TVCs.

The stakes are high as a 30-second spots cost more than $5 million for airtime alone. And, all they're aiming for is to capture the attention of more than 110 million viewers who are expected to be glued to the big game next Sunday.

The annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL) has come a long way since its inception in 1967 (when the first Super Bowl commercials cost $40,000 for a 30-second spot), to being the most-watched American television program in history and, of course, something to look forward for a non-football fans as well.

Some remember the championship for the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" when Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Janet Jackson's shirt during the halftime performance. In January 2017, right after President Donald Trump took office, ads tried to grab themes of inclusion. Airbnb showed faces of different ethnicities with the copy "We all belong" and Coke re-ran an ad featuring "America the Beautiful" sung in different languages.

While the advertisements usually play during halftime, many brands have been showcasing teasers or pre-release PR around their ads.

We caught up with a few experts to find out if they follow the ads, to pick their favourites, to understand how watching Super Bowl commercials changed over the years, and on fundas to make IPL India’s Super Bowl hub.

Pravin Sutar, executive creative director. Dentsu Webchutney, a digital agency from the Dentsu Aegis Network

Who tracks Super Bowl ads?

Pravin Sutar

The people who are diagnosed with the ‘creativity’ in our profession need to take the doses of these crazy Super Bowl commercials, for sure. They really are an eye-opener when it comes to the storytelling and the entertainment factor. Sometimes with simple insights, craft and madness,

these commercials become the benchmark and they create a tectonic shift in the entire ad world. To name a few of my favourite ads - Snickers (2010) ‘You Are Not You When You Are Hungry’ What a great insight, simple execution and what madness. Followed by Tide (2018) ‘Tide Ad’, Reebok (2003) ‘Terry Tate: Office Linebacker’, Volkswagen (2011) ‘The Force’. These are those masterpieces which always keep pushing the boundaries of creativity and possibilities.

This year there are some good numbers lined up for sure. The show stealer for me is Skittles--Broadway The Rainbow. It’s super interesting.

The “Killer Skin” commercial, where Sarah Gellar, from Scream 2 and I Know What You Did Last Summer, she is being pursued by, a masked maniac. Looks really engaging and scary. Brilliantly executed.

Coca-Cola, Together Is Beautiful looks promising as well. With the animation approach it surely stands out from the other ads. The animation style looks stunning and keeps viewers engaged till the end.

Well, IPL can be surely India’s Super Bowl but to my knowledge, we haven’t cracked it yet. There are many reasons for that. The entire point of keeping the viewer entertained while they are getting entertained with the exciting match, is challenging. Mostly brands are taking too much of a functional and a safe route. Even when they are using big-big celebrities, there is nothing entertaining as such. Every ad looks the same. For viewers those ads are like an irritation point. They are forced to see commercials where there is no entertainment. Though, there are some FMCG brands who do try, but still. For IPL to become the super bowl of India, we need more commercials/campaigns like ‘Mauka-Mauka’ which became the big talking point even during the breaks. In short, we need more madness, disruption, crafting and yes, the brands will have to be little bolder and brave as well. This year’s brilliant example is Olay #Killer skin. It’s P&G but look what they have created. The brand which talks about the beauty and elegance, they have taken the horror-inspired approach. That’s brave, disruptive and entertaining.

Nishant Jethi, ECD - Publicis Ambience

Who tracks Super Bowl ads?

Nishant Jethi

Who tracks Super Bowl ads?

Old Spice - The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Out of all the campaigns I have watched, the ones that have left an impression in my mind are by Old Spice. Old Spice ads have always been distinguished because of their irreverent style. They have always done clutter-breaking ads. It takes a lot of thoughtfulness to compete and stand out against ads which are all trying their best to be exceptional and hands down, Old Spice has always stood out!

There are a couple of ads featuring actor Terry Crews, where he's seen playing the drums and of him shaving that are so full of eccentricity that once you watch them, you can never forget them. The narrative and visualisation are impeccable and definitely something never seen before. The other ad that had left me awe-inspired was the Tide Super Bowl campaign; a genius idea. The very thought that any ad that has white in it can actually be a Tide ad, is a marvellous concept. It was packed with memorability, freshness, bigness, and cleverness. And, of course, its humour makes me chuckle every time I watch it.

Joshua Dave, assistant manager, brand solutions

Who tracks Super Bowl ads?

Joshua Dave

A lot of people will cringe today if someone shouts "Wasssssup" with his tongue outstretched. But it's the best pop-culture phrase that started through a single ad. Even their other versions of this were funny. So yes, the Budweiser ad would be my absolute favourite.

I'm not too sure if it's an ad, but Jeff Bridges tweeted a teaser recently featuring him dressed as his famous avatar 'The Dude' from the cult classic movie - The Big Lebowski. The teaser ends with the Super Bowl Date. So, I'm waiting to see what that's about. Chances are that it's an ad, quite like last year when a fake Crocodile Dundee sequel, starring Danny McBride, aired as an ad to get people to visit Australia.

Who tracks Super Bowl ads?

Budweiser....#1 Super Bowl Commercial of all time

The biggest takeaway is that if it's done correctly, keeping your TG in mind, it has a massive chance of becoming part of pop-culture. People wait every year for a new Budweiser ad and they have helped many causes along with becoming a part of conversations easily. The hype that it gets to fortify and evangelise the brand is amazing.

Amod Dani, executive creative director - Leo Burnett Orchard, Mumbai

Who tracks Super Bowl ads?

Amod Dani

Anyone who is even remotely into this field needs to catch the creative madness that kicks off during halftime. It's truly inspiring and fun to watch.

Apple '1984', Chrysler 'Imported from Detroit', Old spice 'The man your man could smell like', 'It's time for a new job', Skittles 'Taste the rainbow', 'It's a Tide ad' and a lot more stand out for me and I could consider in my lot of favourites, although, I could go on and on.

Who tracks Super Bowl ads?

Apple 1984 Super Bowl Commercial Introducing Macintosh Computer (HD)

Who tracks Super Bowl ads?

Chrysler Eminem Super Bowl Commercial - Imported From Detroit

I can't wait to watch the spooky Olay killer skin commercial with Sarah Michelle Gellar or the Pepsi ad with Steve Carell. He's actually reading out the script for the Super Bowl commercial. It's pretty cool. They've got my attention for sure.

Who tracks Super Bowl ads?

Steve Carell's Decision - #SBLIII | Pepsi

If I had to take anything away from all of this, it would be - throw the kitchen sink at it, play with the brand, go crazy. Use celebrities like they've never been used before. And forget about the rules; you've got one shot to stand out, make it count. Be Legendary!

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