February 4, 2020

Pick Two – This Year’s Super Bowl Commercials

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This is part one of our bi-coastal creative take on the best Super Bowl ads.

Throughout my career in advertising, watching the Super Bowl has always been a must – for the commercials. In the early days, a production company here in Charlotte used to hold a big Super Bowl party with the big game projected on a big screen for agency and film people. It was crowded, loud and drinks flowed. But when the commercials came on, everyone was silent and watched with interest. When the game came back on, everyone talked about what they just saw.

This year was different. I was out of town for my son’s weekend-long soccer tourney and got home after kickoff. Then, I had to make a quick grocery store run to get food for his school lunches for the upcoming week. But now, I can binge watch the commercials all online, like I do with Watchmen, Ozark and The Walking Dead, so I didn’t really miss anything.

Two of the commercials that stood out to me couldn’t be more different – Pringles’ “Rick and Morty” and Michelob’s “Pure Gold 6 for 6.” To me, the best advertising is either entertaining, informative or pulls the heart strings. Pringles surprised me due to its sheer pop culture entertainment factor featuring characters from the series, Rick and Morty, which airs on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. The animated character, Morty, realizes he’s trapped inside a Pringles commercial. This was quite an unexpected direction from the potato chip brand. Even my ninth-grade son laughed at it, saying, “now that’s a commercial I don’t mind watching.” Unfortunately, I saw this after I got back from the grocery story. No Pringles will be in his lunch.

Michelob had quite the opposite approach – a mix of informative with a touch of heart strings. In the spot, Michelob lets the audience know that less than one percent of the country’s farmland is organic. Shocking, right? When you think about what pesticides make it into your kids’ lunch, that’s pretty damn scary. But fear not, for every six pack you buy, Michelob will “help transition six square feet of farmland to organic.” Now you might think, ‘wow, will Michelob stop at nothing to sell beer?’ But hey, if they can pull this off, it could be great for farming, and for all of us. I personally feel big brands have a responsibility to help make a positive impact on society, so I may have to pick up a six pack of Pure Gold and do my part.

It’ll be interesting to see what the next Super Bowl brings (hopefully it will include the Panthers). Times change. How we watch commercials changes. Even school lunches change. But good ideas will always remain.

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Shawn Kelley

Shawn, like all HMH'ers, has a passion for following these trends in and out of the industry in order to better determine the best solutions for our clients. Nice.