The Super Bowl is over, and we’re crowning the winners. We mean the ads, of course! Brands brought out their best on the big day — some will go down in history, and some are already forgotten. Youth Advisory Board member Jordan Orris shares her thoughts on the best new ads revealed during the game. It’s clear that the right music, the right punch line, and the right cultural references make all the difference when reaching this group…
Super Bowl Ad Roundup: The Winners And Losers With Millennials
This year, Super Bowl ads reportedly cost companies an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot, but was it worth it? As a teenager that only watched “The Big Game” to see the commercials, only a dozen or so ads really appealed to me. Those select few, however, made me laugh out loud. Here are my top picks for Super Bowl commercials, and my thoughts on their ability to reach their target audience.
#7 Doritos “Slingshot” People were still talking about this ad in school on Monday. It appeals to everyone, from mischievous little boys (who love Doritos) that now have another way to use their slingshot to older people who think the smiling baby is adorable. Ypulse analysis: Doritos once again put its ads in the hands of its fans, and once again, they do not disappoint. Between the slingshot baby ad described above and the ad with the dog getting rid of the family cat and bribing the husband with Doritos, we’re not sure which was funnier. Humor still is the way to Millennials’ hearts (and stomachs?), and Doritos over the top, consumer-generated ads are something viewers look forward to every year.
#6 Sketchers “Go Run Mr. Quiggly!” The cute French bulldog, Mr. Quiggly, makes his debut in the Sketchers commercial racing against greyhounds and moonwalking across the finish line, getting bonus style points in his Sketchers! I think this commercial was most appealing to younger audiences that wear sneakers on a regular basis.Ypulse analysis: Sketchers are a popular street wear sneaker brand, but this ad reminds fans that they’re for running too, and pulls it off in a funny, clever way. Greyhounds might be known as the sleek speedsters, but Mr. Quiggly proves that he and other Sketchers wearers can be fast and stylish at the same time. It’s a good way to position the brand for performance shoes without losing its street cred.
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#5 Chevy “Sonic Stunts” Yes, the car actually bungee-jumps, does a kick-flip, and sky dives. Need I say more? Although everyone at our “Big Game” viewing was awe-inspired, it mainly caught guys’ attention with its over-sized skateboard and rally driving theme.Ypulse analysis: Chevy has revved up its marketing to Millennials. It is building cars with them in mind, and this commercial shows the company really does get what driving is all about for young people. Rolling down the windows, cranking up some tunes (the ad’s song, “We Are Young” by Fun climbed to #2 on iTunes following the ad), and just enjoying a bit of freedom. Right up to the commercial’s tagline, “From your first time, to the time of your life, Chevy runs deep,” we were thinking Chevy nailed it with this ad. (On a side note, watching the OK Go music video performed in — by? — the Sonic definitely makes us want to go for a drive.)
#4 Hyundai “Rocky” The “Rocky” theme song was definitely an attention grabber. Fans of the movie will have a special place in their hearts for this commercial. It kept me humming the theme for longer than the commercial actually aired.Ypulse analysis: Jordan’s commentary above actually points out a shortcoming of the commercial. While viewers enjoyed the music and workers coming together to inspire one of their own, the commercial could have been for any brand. What’s memorable about it isn’t the brand, but the song. Sometimes music’s effect, particularly on MIllennials, can overwhelm brand messaging.
#3 “The Voice” feat. Betty White The four judges of “The Voice” (Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, and Adam Levine) are in a fight over the voice of an amazing mystery voice, who turns out to be Betty White. My friend, who is a cinematography guru, absolutely loved the effects in the video, and I thought it was a great, comical advertisement.Ypulse analysis: With the number of reality singing competition shows out there, “The Voice” had to do something different to stand out. Showcasing its celebrity judges who fight for the right to train the best contestants is relevant to the show. Pulling it off in with blockbuster movie style and with a Betty White cameo will grab Millennials’ interest every time.
#2 M&Ms “Sexy and I Know It” This video used a current song and funny characters to propel its way to the top of the Super Bowl ads. It certainly grabbed my attention, as well as the Northwestern University Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review– it won the annual competition. Great ad for all ages.Ypulse analysis: This is an example of an ad that uses a hit song to great effect. Unlike the Hyundai ad mentioned above, this M&Ms ad uses only a snippet of LMFAO’s hit, so the music doesn’t bury the message. It also helps that its referencing established characters with whom MIllennials are well acquainted. Also, we love a hot girl (M&M) in hipster glasses!
#1 VW “The Dog Strikes Back” The “doggie workout” video is top dog in my list of Super Bowl ads! It was funny, adorable, had a plot line, and an ending that tied it back to VW’s amazing “Star Wars”-themed ad from last year, creating a cultural connection. It has been hailed as the top commercial on many lists, and in my opinion, was endearing to all ages. Now that’s what I call, “Das Auto”!Ypulse analysis: We knew that VW was going to have a dog theme with its new Super Bowl ad. We’re not sure which was better, the teaser of dogs from the “bark side” or the actual game time ad. One thing is certain, a nod to nostalgia and a throw back to simpler times resonates with Millennials.
Ypulse’s additional hits and misses:
Chevy’s “Mayan Apocalypse”: We actually laughed out loud when we saw this ad. Millennials are looking at the Mayan apocalypse like Gen Xers looked at Y2K — they’re looking forward to the date as an excuse to have a blow out party just in case the world ends. Referencing the event in an ad definitely earns Chevy some bonus points with Millennials. At first we wondered why all the survivors were older guys (hardly appealing to Millennials), but then we caught a glimpse of Chevy’s follow up that would have aired if the game had run longer, which put yet another smile on our faces as a confident young woman cruised by the guys in her yellow Camero.
Go Daddy’s “Body Paint”: It’s time for Go Daddy to try something new. Sure, sex sells, but the same gimmick over and over gets old after a few years. We doubt even teenage boys paid much attention to this ad.
Pepsi With Elton John & Melanie Amaro: What was going on here?! Elton John is his legendary self and “X Factor” winner Melanie Amaro does an amazing job reprising Aretha Franklin, but aside from the celebrity appeal, this commercial does nothing for us. It’s as if Pepsi took a bunch of things that it thinks Millennials enjoy, threw them in a blender, and poured out this ad, tossing in Flava Flav as the cherry on top. Nothing about the self-indulgent king forcing others to sing for their survival is entertaining, aspirational, or enjoyable.
Audi’s “Vampire Party”: Okay, so Team Edward may not be big fans of this ad, but we think it still wins over Millennials when their cultural touch points make it mainstream. This ad was probably intended for parents who are tired of their teens’ addiction to Twilight, but there are plenty of young people out there who are tired of the vampire vs. werewolf saga. Anyone want to put a side bet on seeing zombies in a Super Bowl ad next year?
To contact Jordan or other members of the youth advisory board, email them at youthadvisoryboard @ ypulse.com, or simply leave a note in the comments below.