Super Bowl 2010 Ads: Rankings and Rants

Overall, an uninspiring collection of Super Bowl commercials last night.    Few disasters, few fabulous, a lot of just okay.    In most cases, each :30 ad was a $3 million investment ($2.5 million for air time, $500,000 ish for production) – so mediocre won’t exactly drive a return-on-investment.     Today’s Super Bowl ad chatter is mostly about entertainment, humor, and likability – and lots of fun.   Entertainment is swell, but advertising effectiveness – persuasion (making consumers feel differently about your brand) and incremental sales –  is what really matters.

Here are the winners from four marketing mavens – USAToday‘s AdMeter (popularity), Ad Age’s Bob Garfield (ad quality), Squawq (brands’ Twitter buzz), and me (effectiveness).

USA Today

1.   Snickers
2.   Doritos (dog collar)
3.   Bud Light (beer can house)
4.   Anheuser-Busch (Clydesdale friend)
5.   Coca-Cola (sleepwalker)

Worst:  Skechers

Ad Age

1-3.  3 1/2 stars: Audi,  Chrysler, and Qualcomm
4- 18.  3 stars:  Budweiser Select, Denny’s,  E-Trade (milkoholic), Careerbuilder,  Electronic Arts, HomeAway, Honda, Hyundai,  Monster, Motorola, NFL, Teleflora, Vizio, VW

Worst:    Go Daddy


1.      Doritos
2.      Anheuser-Busch
3.      Coca-Cola
4.     Dove (Unilever)
5.     Audi

Worst:   KGB

Katz Marketing Solutions

1.      Doritos (House Rules)
2.      Bud Light
3.      E*Trade
4.      Google
5.      Hyundai (Favre/warranty)

Worst:  U.S. Census

Doritos (“House Rules”) earns my #1 – strategic (crave Doritos) and engaging, relevant to its audience, and seamlessly inclusive (diversity appeal – race and gender).    Similarly, Bud Light is strategic (covet the beer), has aspirational imagery (cool guy attracting friends), and memorable.     E-Trade, while highly entertaining, cleverly tells you about their superiority vs. higher priced brokerages, and also has diverse appeal.    Google was highly engaging and reinforced its brand’s leadership and scale (thwarting encroaching competition).   And Hyundai continues to increase its brand awareness and improve its product quality perception.

Lesson Learned:   Don’t judge your advertising by how entertaining or likable it is.    Judge it by its ability to persuade (convince your target audience to be aware of/purchase your brand) and drive a strong return-on-investment (incremental sales/costs).

2 thoughts on “Super Bowl 2010 Ads: Rankings and Rants

  1. I agree, Doritos won my number one as well. I was shocked to see how many commercials did such a poor job of captivating the audience. I was very unimpressed this year.

    Great article though, thanks for sharing!

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