Since I already had ten "good" Superbowl commercials for this year, I felt that adding another three would be crazy talk. So instead, I’m bringing you those spots as honorable mentions – spots that I really liked, but maybe missed the mark for one reason or another (or just weren’t *as* good as the top ten).
The first is a spot that I just loved:
This spot is just brilliant – having nieces and friends with daughters, I can say that pretty much everything for little girls is some shade of pink. And although my nieces do actually love the color pink, it can be very limiting. I remember having a pink room as a young girl, and just hating it. When my mom let me redecorate it, I went green all the way!
So this commercial that shows girls getting rid of pink toys is great – the song is memorable and catchy, and it’s something that I think will resonate with young girls and moms of girls. The only downside is that we don’t see a website for them, or get a look at any of the toys that GoldieBlox actually *does* put out. But this is a small business commercial that was put together by Intuit, so perhaps they’re to blame. Either way, I love this spot and thought it was a lot of fun!
As soon as the villain in this ad starts talking about chopping up the figure in the trunk, I knew it was an M&Ms spot. I’m not sure what tipped me off, but the whole ad just said "candy coated chocolates" to me.
This was another spot I loved, and the main reason it didn’t make it to my top ten is that they note themselves as "America’s favorite nut." The setting for the commercial is clearly Russia, with Russian being used in the spot, so why wouldn’t they just go with "The World’s Favorite Nut"? It doesn’t make sense, and it bothered me enough to keep it out of my top ten.
Also, it always bothers me when they change voices for animated mascots – the voice used for this peanut M&M is different to those used in the past. I’m sure there are a multitude of reasons for this, but again, it was something that I noticed. When you’re trying to sell your product, it’s important that your audience only notices the things you want them to, and isn’t focused on anything else.
This ad makes it on to my list for being ridiculously gutsy.
I mean, who else aired a commercial DURING the Superbowl that basically tells you to stop bothering to watch the Superbowl if your team isn’t in it, so that you can do your taxes.
Wow. Just wow.
Aside from that, the ad is clever – watching another team play in the Superbowl instead of your team IS like watching someone else take the person you like to the prom. Even funnier when they take it to the next level and talk about getting stats for that person for four hours, and watching them in slow motion. Nice.
It might have been better had the guy gotten the girl at the end, especially since he was being fiscally responsible by doing his taxes in early February, but hey, that’s how they ended up on my honorable mention list.
Lessons for Lawyers
Are there still lessons for lawyers here, even on honorable mention day? Yes.
- Show how you’re different: Some ads and companies will use criticism of their competitors to show how they’re different and "better." This has never worked for me – I always just think it sounds arrogant and obnoxious (even if it’s true). Instead, you can show why you’re different and better using features of your service to illustrate it, a la Goldie Blox. They don’t come out and point the finger at other toy companies who produce toys for girls in pink, but they use their focus on other colors as a point of differentiation that gets your attention and makes you want to learn more about them.
- Have a call to action: A few ads fell short in this area, so I’ll make sure to mention it – you always need to have a call to action. Don’t forget to include your website address, to offer to connect on LinkedIn when you meet in person, or *something.* It would be really nice if you could meet someone (or even if they could see an ad), and they immediately want to purchase your services. But this isn’t how it works – there are many touchpoints you need to have before someone will offer you their business. So they need a reason to follow up with you. Give them one – don’t make it obnoxious, but also don’t make it so hard to find that they don’t bother to follow up.
- Keep focused: As we saw with the M&Ms ad, there were a couple of things that distracted me from the message that M&Ms ultimately wanted me to hear. Make sure that in your own marketing and business development, people aren’t getting distracted by the wrong things. It’s like walking into a networking event with a big piece of spinach in your teeth – you might say all of the right things, but whoever you’re speaking with will be so distracted by the green leaf that they won’t remember a word. This can happen in your marketing too – I recently saw a piece of advertising that was very slick, but it reminded me so much of the agency that put it together that I couldn’t look past that to pay any attention to the firm that it was supposed to be representing.
This is another one of those times where it would be helpful to have people who aren’t too close to the project weigh in – whatever that project is. Have your spouse look at your business cards with a critical eye, and make sure that everything about them, from the quality of the paper, to the style of printing, to the words on the card, all says what you want them to about you. Starting a new blog? Choose a client or two to check the subject matter with and the feel of the blog – offer to have them guest post as a thank you (it will have the secondary impact of giving them a reason to keep reading). Everything that you do tells a story about who you are, so make sure that the story you’re telling doesn’t have any extraneous messages that will distract your viewers.
- Show some guts: And finally, I had to throw this in here – be a little gutsy. Do something bold in your marketing. It doesn’t have to be crazy – it can be something as simple as trying a new business development technique this year or going with square business cards. Find some way to stand out among the crowd so that people will want to learn more about you and your story.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s review of Superbowl commercials! Feel free to add your thoughts on lessons learned and your favorite (or not so favorite) spots in the comments!