My Picks for Best Super Bowl 2014 Ads

Okay, so the Super Bowl sucked. Unless you were a Seahawks fan. Seakhawks fans love their game highlights and that whole game was nothing but a highlight reel for them. Know what else sucked? A lot of the commercials. Maybe I was young and easily influenced, but I remember when most of the commercials were utterly amazing. Even the weakest used to give me a chuckle.

So here are the few commercials I thought were the best. Surprisingly, the brands that usually knock them out the park were bland. This year, it was the least expecting brands that won out.

On the top is Radio Shack. Yes, Radio Shack.

Next up, Kia. Yes, Kia.

While not the greatest, it was the strongest of the weak. Since you can easily tell it’s M&M’s, it ruins the fun of being surprised at the end.

Every year, there’s one that doesn’t make you laugh but still is one of the best–because it made you feel.

Damn you, Budweiser. I wish you made beer as good as that commercial.

Advertising, Storytelling

Eleven Inc and Sun Valley Invite You To Skip Town

One of San Francisco’s finest advertising establishments, Eleven Inc,  released the much anticipated interactive piece for Sun Valley today. The interactive piece lets city dwellers skip stones remotely at a lake in Idaho via an internet-connected robot.

It’s a great idea all around. It allows you to experience heading out to the great outdoors from your cubical. The best part, if you skip the farthest between July 9th and July 14th – you’ll win yourself a trip to the resort.

Kudos to the creative team at Eleven for coming up with this and a major kudos to the production team for pulling it off. I can picture future job posting from ad shops calling for electrical engineers to build more cool shit like this.

Try it out for yourself:


Shoplifting – SF Egotist OpEd

A great op-ed on the SF Egotist today about pop culture, advertising, and ad bombing by Paul Sincoff. “Shop Lifting” is a great piece that looks into how advertisers steal from pop culture to make brands relevant. But the correlation between stealing from pop culture and ad bombing was missing an important piece. The reason the ad bombs are so damn funny is because the ads are so damn bad. Great advertising reveals the truth and it took Jimmy Ballistic’s graffiti to tell the truth in those ads.

No discredit to Mr. Sincoff, though. You should check out his blog at The Ad Agency In Mind – his humor rivals that of George Parker’s Ad Scam.

Advertising, Storytelling

James Joyce or Kool Keith

What? I can’t write about rappers two days in a row? Fine. How about we say I’m writing about a master novelist.

Hudson Hongo created this fun game to test your abilities to decipher between 20th century avant-garde lit and pioneering hip-hop lyrics. I only got 6 out of 10. Not only is the game fun, but it shows that a super simple idea can be implemented and spread. One of the main reasons I’ve decided to jump into web design and programming was to do just this – produce the simplest interactive concepts that pop into my brain.

Hopefully this isn’t too far away.

Advertising, Education, Thoughts

Media Literacy: In Search of a USP

Media literacy is a problem. This problem is never more prevalent than during presidential election years. Facts are skewed for political gain and the media illiterate are left to feed of their droppings. They won’t give up their scraps for anything either. A recent poll asked people in Mississippi and Alabama their believe on President Obama’s religion. 52% of Mississippi Republicans and 45% of Alabama Republicans believe that he practices Islam.

I’m not against anyone disliking President Obama’s policies or having their misgivings about his tenure in office. But I am against the reality that folks are believing the propaganda that is thrown their way – hooking into their God-given right to dislikes and misgivings. How do you fix this? Well, being a professional in the advertising industry, I believe that our talents can help alleviate this problem.

I’ve tried to politely help point folks, from all sides of the political spectrum, to the truth. The result is being called a “liberal tree hugger” or an “evil republican nazi”, to which I’m neither. If there were a “just the facts, ma’am” party – I’d be checking that box off. What I’m saying is that the problem isn’t that simple. So, how do I propose we fix this country?

I need your help, to define the unique selling proposition for this country to become 100% media literate. Once we’ve got that USP, we can then move further and come up with creative ways to help folks who are targeted for their beliefs and fed lies and untruths.

Are you game? Put your thoughts in the comments.

Advertising, Thoughts

Super Ads 2012

Imagine if the Patriots brought Joe Montana in the game to secure their win in Super Bowl XLVI. That didn’t happen on the field but as for a majority of the brands who spent millions on their commercials – it seemed to be the only play in the playbook. Here are my thoughts on last nights gaffes and winners.

  • VW Dog: Once they start airing it without the Star Wars part, people will forget this pointless nod to last years Darth Vader Kid. When they stood on the shoulders of the epic movie franchise last year it was original – this year it felt forced (no pun intended).

  • Camry Effect: I am a firm believer that not all super-ads have to be sophomoric humor and this one was one that did it for me. People relate to advertising that has a human side, advantage Toyota. They also didn’t borrow from other works.

  • Chrystler + Eastwood: This was done well for the media buy. It felt like it was part of the Super Bowl and then you realize it’s a commercial. Because it’s Eastwood, you hang on to the words and images. Other than that though, it didn’t make me want to buy a car and could possibly have borrowed from Hal Riney’s “It’s Morning In America” spot.

  • Brodrick’s Day Off: Meh. Despite being a Gen-X’er, I felt this spot was only trying to ride on the shoulders of the film and give us nothing fresh. I said a prayer to John Hughes to forgive them for borrowing from his masterpiece.

  • Acura: Funny-ish. Like the Rav4 spot, they’re trying to borrow from another piece of entertainment. At least there is some originality in this one – if only a little.

  • Best Buy: This one is really awesome. It captures interest by showing you the folks you should be thanking for the crap you use every day. It set up a promise and felt credible.

  • GoDaddy: Seriously? This day in age it is so easy to access real pornography, why the hell would anyone go to for the promise of soft core? Not to mention they’re borrowing from the last 5+ years of their own gimmick.

  • Budweiser: The “Grab Some Buds” campaign is leaps and bounds better than the “Here We Go” campaign with Bud Light. They might borrow from history on this one, but it was directly related to their product and brand.

  • Kia/Sandman: Without any doubt in my mind, I can say  – this is a definitive Super Bowl spot. Constantly beating expectations with every passing second.

  • Chevy: My favorite of the bunch. Not because it was locally conceived in San Francisco, but unlike like the other car spots that borrowed they used all the borrowed elements really originally. The song made the spot for me.

These brands weren’t the only ones who felt they needed to associate themselves with other material to make themselves relevant. Although Madonna is a household name, and has been for decades, she thought she needed the help of Cee Lo Green, MIA, Nicki Minaj and LMFAO to make herself relevant, apparently.