Yesterday, we kicked off the start of my Superbowl commercials review with five of my favorites. Let’s keep the positivity going for another day with five more good commercials (before we head into the bad and the ugly!).
It’s interesting to see how subjective these choices are (and goes back to my favorite quote, which is from Anais Nin – "We see things not as they are, but as we are"). There are many lists I’ve seen and favorites quoted that I just hated, and so many of my preferred commercials didn’t make it to anyone’s top lists. So add your thoughts to the comments – which were your hits and misses?
This was one of the commercials released early online, and because I’m a purist, I only watch them when they air during the Superbowl (and during my reviews, of course). But because of the buzz generated around this ad, I had a feeling I would like it – I had a yellow lab puppy once upon a time, so how could I not?
We’ve come to expect that Budweiser will do something with their Clydesdales during the Superbowl, and they’ve often connected them with dogs. This was a particularly cute ad though – Budweiser tells a great story of friendship and love without saying a word. Who wasn’t rooting for the puppy to get to go back to the horse farm after he was adopted?
Again, it’s impressive when a brand is so well known by an animal (the Clydesdales), that they don’t need to include a single logo (until the end) or beer in the ad for you to know who they are. Budweiser also demonstrates here that they DO actually know how to use a hashtag correctly.
This commercial was absolutely one of my favorites. In an ode to the Matrix, Kia brings in Morpheus to offer the couple a choice between their car (the luxury they know) and another – the luxury they don’t know. If you haven’t seen the Matrix, this is similar to Morpheus’ offer to Neo between the red and blue pill, which…just rent the movie.
The beauty of this ad is that Kia is recognizing that they’re not known as one of the luxury brands, and they’re trying to change that impression. So they’re literally offering us a challenge to look at luxury in a new way.
But the commercial doesn’t end with that – it brings in some of Kia’s quirkiness by adding in Morpheus singing opera. It stays with the theme of luxury, because opera is considered to be something for the more refined palate (the subtext is that so is this car), and yet it’s also very funny – starting with Morpheus making sure he’s in tune, and seeing his lips vibrate as he sings. Nicely done – the commercial very smartly reinforces the Kia brand, introduces us to something new for them, and is memorable at the same time.
We Killed the Long Term Contract
This is another favorite – for it’s simple brilliance. Using only text and a catchy whistling tune (which I know from Disney’s Robin Hood cartoon), they deliver an effective message that gets at one of the things at the heart of what bugs their customer base – contracts. They offer to buy out your existing contract so that you sign with them, and even make a joke about not being on their fourth margarita (it only would have been funnier if they’d poked fun at JC Penney for their seemingly drunken tweets during the game).
They’re speaking right to their audience, directly and simply, with no thought required. It says everything it needs to and nothing more, and reinforces their brand simply by using the fuschia background. Nicely done T-Mobile.
Dad’s Sixth Sense
I liked this commercial for a lot of reasons – first, all of the near misses and saves by dad reinforce the feature of the car that is being sold – auto-emergency braking. It’s telling you that this is the car you want for your kid, especially since kids are likely to be distracted in some way while driving (c’mon, admit it, we were all more distracted as teenage drivers).
It’s also funny, which makes it more memorable – we’ve all either seen or saved a child from a near miss like these, and when the father takes a bat to the stomach for his son in the pinata clip, we both feel his pain and get a chuckle.
The only downside for me is that I wouldn’t have known this was a Hyundai without seeing the title of the ad – they’re not the only car out there with this feature, and to me, they’ve always been a middle-ground brand that doesn’t have a strong enough identity to be known without a heavy use of logos and names. But the commercial itself is well done.
Doritos Time Machine
The best part about this commercial? It came not from an ad agency, but from a Maryland resident who entered a commercial contest with his storyline. And it’s brilliant.
Once again, we see a cute kid, who is resourceful enough to build a "time machine." He’s bold enough to ask for a bag of Doritos to "run" the machine (reinforcing their "bold" brand message) and this poor sucker buys into it.
It would have been funny enough if the ad stopped here, with the kid shaking the box, using his megaphone to make Mr. Smith think that he was really in a time machine, but when he gets in trouble for having this on his neighbor’s lawn and runs off, leaving his elderly neighbor to greet Mr. Smith as he comes out of the time machine in the "future," I couldn’t stop laughing. Memorable, in line with their branding, and a great job by Doritos to sell their product without being too forceful.
Lessons for Lawyers
So what can lawyers and law firms learn from today’s five commercials?
- Tell a story: Stories are what resonate with people, and whether you’re selling drinks or legal services, you can tell your story. Think about the feeling you want to give your audience, and how you can best communicate that. What is your story?
- Be true to who you are: We talked a little bit about this yesterday, but it’s an important point. You have to know who you are as an attorney or marketer (or whomever!) and make sure that everything you do underscores that – from how your business cards look, to the way you dress and speak, to the articles you write, etc. I’m not suggesting that you create a false image, reinforced by each of those details; just be cognizant that everything you say and do tells people a story about who you are. Are you telling people the right story with your words and actions?
- Sometimes, simple is better: Look at T-Mobile’s ad – they likely didn’t spend a lot of money creating it, just on the ad space itself. But they still get across their main message in an easy to understand way. They know their audience. Are you still using a lot of legalese to write your articles and blog posts? When you present at a conference? Just because someone *can* understand you and what you mean doesn’t mean that they *want* to hear all the complicated jargon. Deliver your message in a way that’s clear and easy to understand – it tells people that you respect them and their time.
Tomorrow, we’ll get into looking at the "bad" of the Superbowl commercials for this year. But before we do, add in your own favorites and lessons learned in the comments – what do you think lawyers and legal marketers can learn from these ads?