It’s the post I know you’ve all been waiting for – as ads have gotten milder the last few years, each season, I wonder whether there will be any commercials worthy of the “ugly” moniker. This year, we had three!

Before we dive into the ugly commercials, there is one interesting choice I want to discuss – Skittles’ decision this year to forego a Super Bowl commercial in favor of a one-time only, thirty minute live show in Times Square to 1,500 people, with proceeds going to the nonprofit organization, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Mars Wrigley also planned to donate up to $50,000.

In an industry where companies are spending obscene amounts of money on (for the most part) lackluster commercials, this is really a standout. I generally don’t like Skittles commercials, I’ll admit. They’re a bit on the weird side (and I’m a bit on the weird side, so that’s saying something). So to instead create buzz around an event starring a celebrity (C. Michael Hall), make it exclusive, donate the proceeds to charity, and in the end, spend less than you would on a Super Bowl commercial, while probably getting more views and interest for it, is really brilliant. Hats off to them. What can lawyers and law firms learn from that?

  • You don’t have to follow the crowd. I know the running joke in the legal industry is that lawyers love to be first to be second, but what if you DIDN’T do what everyone else was doing? A crowded playing field is just that – crowded. What if you found the way to stand out and did it?
  • Be true to your brand. This is definitely unusual for a brand, to have a Broadway-type show instead of a Super Bowl commercial. But Skittles is an unusual brand, so it fits with who they are. Unlike what Verizon did, trying to shore up their image with first responders, Skittles stuck with their brand message. Who are you as a firm? Don’t just say that with your marketing – DO it with your actions. The projects that you engage in, the charities that you supports, the innovations you embrace – let them all reflect who you are as a firm.

Continue Reading Super Bowl Commercials – The Ugly of 2019

What good would looking at commercials from Super Bowl 50 be without looking at the worst of the worst? That’s right, today’s post is all about the UGLY commercials of 2016. And boy, did we have some ugly ones.

While this ad still managed to get some good press and actually (if you can believe it) immediately started trending when it aired during the game, for me, this commercial was the WORST of this year’s crop:

Mountain Dew: Puppy Monkey Baby

I know, I’m sorry, I have to include it again for you to appreciate why I chose this ad for the ugly list.

So, why is this one so terrible? First of all, it’s creepy. The Huffington Post said:

#PuppyMonkeyBaby quickly became a trending Twitter topic, and most agreed on one thing: there’s a line between cute and horrifying.”

I particularly loved when they said “Mountain Dew? How about Mountain DON’T.”
Continue Reading Superbowl Commercials – The Ugly of 2016

On Monday, we discussed what I saw as the “best” of this year’s crop of Super Bowl commercials (which my sister tells me is two words – “Super Bowl”), and although the general consensus seemed to be that most of the commercials this year were mediocre, we did find some to love. A few people even privately asked me why other commercials weren’t included on that list (and they’re included on today’s), so there were more than those eight mentioned that hit as favorites.

Today, we’ll look at the ones that made my “good” list for 2016; surprisingly, there were more on here than I thought. I worked to narrow it down to five, with a few honorable mentions, and I had trouble knocking some off the list. So see what you ultimately think of this list, and whether there are some that you were fond of that I missed altogether.

Audi: Commander

Audi does several smart things here – they liken their car to a space ship, touching on many kids’ dreams to fly into space (Hey! You can do that just by driving our car! This former astronaut even thinks so!); and they tug at your heartstrings not once, but twice – first by having the son make his father feel like a young space commander again, at the helm of his space ship, and again by playing a David Bowie favorite, calling to mind the recently lost musician. I’m not even a fan of David Bowie, and this commercial choked me up.
Continue Reading Super Bowl Commercials – The Good of 2016

Picture, if you will, the Staples commercials that aired a few years ago, with the parents sailing through the aisles as they got ready for their kids to go back to school as “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” played jubilantly in the background. For me, that’s what Super Bowl commercials are like.

While football is all right (these days, I’d much prefer to watch the Six Nations, where it seems that the men are men), to me, the Super Bowl is really about the ads. If a company is going to spend up to $5 million for 30 seconds of ad time (yes, you read that right), then they should really be bringing their A game to the ad game.

Unfortunately, I’d have to say that this year overall was a bit of a letdown. While I did have some standouts and so will be able to do a “best of” as well as my “good, bad and ugly,” in general, the commercials were at best, mediocre. And that’s just not okay.

Companies (and firms, this goes for you, too): if you’re going to be investing in a marketing project, invest in it. Don’t spend the money on the advertising dollars, only to go cheap on the ad itself. Some of the ads were misses for me, but at least I could tell that the agencies tried. Most of them felt like an afterthought. And I see more and more of that in legal marketing these days too – we have some brilliant and talented people in our industry, who are, unfortunately, being asked to do more and more and are spread very thin. As a result, there’s less and less creativity being seen because there’s only so much time in the day.

But I’d love to see more from all of us. Bring back the days of thoughtful, smart marketing that gets people excited about what they’re going to see. We don’t need the budgets of these big companies to learn and apply the lessons that their commercials can teach us!

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at my five favorites from this year’s crop of Super Bowl ads – along with a couple of Honorable Mentions:

Prius: The Longest Chase Reading Super Bowl Commercials – The Best of 2016

And here we are, at the last of my Superbowl Commercials posts. We’re talking about the worst of the worst of this year’s Superbowl Commercials and while there are only a couple for a change, they are really doozies. 

I’ll start with the least terrible of the two, to ease you into the cringing. 

T-Mobile: #KimsDataStash Reading Superbowl Commercials: The Ugly of 2015

I’m finally back with another Superbowl commercials post! In today’s post, we’ll cover my second tier commercials, those I’m calling the "good" of 2015. I’m going to look at three of them, as well as the lessons that lawyers and law firms can learn from them, and then I’ll list the other commercials that I liked and would consider worth a watch. 

Always #LikeAGirl Reading Superbowl Commercials – The Good of 2015

It’s one of my favorite posts of the year – my recap of the Superbowl commercials! Recall, if you will, those Staples commercials with "It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" playing as parents ride shopping carts gleefully through the store followed by glum kids, and you’ll have some idea of how excited I am over the superbowl of advertising. 

Before I jump into my absolute favorites (instead of just "The Good" this year, I’m splitting it into "The Great" and "The Good"), I wanted to make an observation – social media is a big part of any viewing experience for me, and the Superbowl was no different. While watching the game, I was also checking in on Twitter and Facebook, and it was interesting to gauge the reactions of the people I follow and engage with to the same commercials I was watching. 

Often, I would have one reaction to something, and then others would have a completely different reaction, and I’d find myself getting sucked into "groupthink" a little bit, and changing my mind. So I’ve worked hard to bring you the commercials that I like best, and offer my lessons for legal marketing. I heard several times last night that people were generally unhappy with last night’s crop of commercials, but I thought that while there were a few major duds – we’ll get to those in later posts – they were mostly very, very well done for a change. Now, on with the great! Continue Reading Superbowl Commercials – The Best of 2015

The truth is, I’m a BIG fan of Starbucks, so I’m predisposed to love this commercial.  But I think there’s a very important message that we at law firms can learn from this ad, and communicate through our own marketing (without even needing a commercial of our own). 

Watch the spot, and see if you can guess what I mean: 

// Reading “Meet Me at Starbucks” – What We Can Learn

WestJet has done it again. 

You may remember this airline from their video campaign that went viral during the holiday season – they asked passengers awaiting a flight what was on their Christmas list, and while they flew across the country, employees on either end worked feverishly to make every wish come true. It was sweet and inspiring, even if some thought it was entirely contrived. 

This Father’s Day, they’re at it again. Make sure you have some tissues handy, because even grown men are tearing up at this: 

// Reading WestJet’s Father’s Day Surprise: What Law Firms and Legal Marketers Can Learn

And here we are, folks, time to discuss my list of "ugly" Superbowl commercials for 2014. Once again, these commercials were not as awful as in years past – I wasn’t terribly offended by any of them, or sitting in disgust.  These were just my least favorite of the bunch, for various reasons (but generally because I was left thinking "what?!"). I’m bringing you a list of seven commercials today, because there were two extra that I disliked a little bit more than would be deserving of the "bad" list.


Not surprisingly, if you’ve seen my lists before, GoDaddy’s commercial makes it onto my ugly list. Amazingly, it’s not because I was majorly offended by it (which is normally the case). Continue Reading Superbowl Commercials – The Ugly 2014