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Who Won the Big Game?

It’s time for us all to work through our football induced food comas, bask in the glory of our team’s win/sulk about our team’s loss, and discuss the ever important question: which brand really won the day? While reviews of commercials can be found everywhere from big advertising websites, around your office, and all over social media, I’ll throw in my two cents.

Two Thumbs Up:

  • McDonald’s – Pay with Lovin’: McDonald’s has been having a rough time. People are trying to think healthy, natural foods and McNuggets do not fit the bill.   While they’ve made strides in terms of their core offering by posting calorie counts, including yogurt/fruit options, and changing portions there is still a large stigma surrounding fast food. What do you? Create a feel good buzz around your product. The Pay with Lovin’ campaign has select customers perform small acts (calling a parent, doing a happy dance, complimenting a friend) in exchange for their meal. It’s a smart, socially savvy move. McDonald’s took it up a notch on social by tweeting love for other commercials paired with giveaways for retweets. On a whole McDonald’s played the game right.
  • Coke – Make it Happy: Soft drink manufacturers, like fast food chains, are in a precarious position. People are starting to reduce soda intake in favor of more natural beverages. How do you get people back in the mood for a cold, bubbly can of Coke? Make them feel good about drinking it. The #ShareACoke campaign got a lot of love from the Internet this summer, but the Internet generally isn’t a loving place. The Internet’s negativity is, at times astounding, it’s easy and fast to let responses fly off the cuff and trolling/bullying are much easier when you’re behind a keyboard. Coke’s approach? #MakeItHappy allows a user to respond to a negative tweet with #MakeItHappy and Coke will churn out some positivity from it. The campaign works across multiple platforms and just makes me, well, happy. Well done, Coke.
  • Avocados From Mexico – First Draft Ever: Avocados are the first fresh produce company to advertise during the game. Avocados were smart about this for a few reasons. First, guacamole consumption during watch parties is a must. Second, the formula was reminiscent to one of the most popular skits Dave Chappelle did during his wildly popular albeit short-lived Comedy Central show. Third, there were cute, funny animals. A popular product, delightfully silly humor, and animals? Sounds like a winner.
  • Weight Watchers – Take Back Control: The Weight Watchers spot isn’t getting nearly the conversation I expected likely because of its placement in the lineup. The ad itself is done well, layering language you’d hear in an afterschool special about resisting drugs over vibrant scenes of food with a stark white plate at the end urging you to take back control. Playing it during America’s 2nd largest food consumption day? Brilliant.

You Could Have Done Better:

  • NBC: Can we say self-promotion? Out of the roughly 110 ads that played from 5:00 pm (central) to the end of the game 20+ were for NBC programming. I understand that you have a big stage to sell your product but I could have lived without a commercial for The Blacklist every commercial break. While every network promotes their own shows during their turn with the game, this year felt excessive. Even with James Spader.
  • Previews: This year several brands opted to debut their commercials or show teasers for them in the weeks leading up to the game. Call me a purist but I don’t need a teaser for a 30 second spot, and I like the surprise of seeing a commercial for the first time during the game. Always’ “Like A Girl” and the Dove “Real Strength” ads were two of my favorite commercials but they have been online for months. Couldn’t we get a refresh?
  • Toyota Camry – How Great Am I: This was another great commercial, if you’re promoting Amy Purdy. Don’t get me wrong, Purdy is incredibly inspirational but the inclusion of the brand is minimal and the tie to Purdy doesn’t seem to be there. While the brand team delivered a memorable spot the focus was on Purdy, not the car.
  • Nationwide – Make Safe Happen: While being talked about is the goal of any commercial I don’t think this is what the Nationwide group had in mind. The online backlash was so rough, I’m not sure even Coke could or would want to make it happy. Nationwide, you should have tried an Invisible Mindy sequel.

This year felt different in terms of ad format. There were less ad debuts than in years past with many companies opting to go online with their spend. Could this be a growing trend, will game time commercial slots drop in price as companies move to a digital campaign rather than traditional media? More feel good or social responsibility themes were evident rather than the funny, silly spots we saw in years past. Less focus on food/beverage companies, more on services or high dollar items. Popular opinion seems to be that this was an underwhelming commercial year. How will companies respond next year? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Missed a commercial? You can view them all HERE. Which commercials did you love?

Why do I work at AWG? “I chose to work at AWG because I want other people to love shopping local grocers as much as I do.” -Andrea