Forget the sexy women, the body paint, the ripped guy, the violence, the exploding people around the campfire. Only two ads in the first half of today’s Super Bowl were worth the time of day. You know, the ones with the dogs. And if the second half offered more variety, a dog once again led the field.
The first dog ad was my favorite. It features what seems to be a sausage-like retriever mix who can’t make it through the flap cut into his home’s front door to chase a red car (his owner’s?) that zips by. He whimpers, but undefeated, goes on a workout diet — treadmill, weights, swimming in the family pool. He even ignores table scraps dropped by his nose. And finally, after admiring himself in the mirror, he leaps through the door flap to chase what turns out to be a red VW Beetle.
Great ad (though I could do without the insider Darth Vader joke at the end). But will people remember which carmaker made it?
Second goes to the bulldog (at least I think it was anyway) who has on four sneakers and beats a pack of sleek greyhounds at a dog racing track by so much that he can moonwalk backwards across the finish line. Yup, it’s a sneaker ad. But I confess. I can’t remember which brand. Oh-oh.
Maybe that means the branding prize should go to Coke’s insufferable polar bear ad because the soft-drink maker’s brand appears endlessly. Yes, it’s dumb, but it sort of insinuates itself into your brain.
So much for the value of creativity in ads.
Still in my book, dogs ruled both halves. Ad three was Bud Light’s Wego the rescue dog. He’s a scrawny thing who fetches beer from the fridge, from a cooler and other hiding places whenever he hears is name called. It’s cute, light (like the beer, get it) and kicks the butt of those macho “man up” ads produce by competitor Miller Lite.
Overall, the second half ad competition was somewhat better (though the game was a disaster if you’re from Boston).
Seinfeld is Seinfeld. He wants to be the first on the block to get his new Acura NSX and goes to great lengths to succeed. Still, VW’s fat hound aside, the car ads didn’t do much for me. My runner-ups: JetBlue with the big guy stuffed in a work station in an impossibly tight space. He walks out in disgust. The airline’s message: “If you don’t take it on the ground, don’t take it in the air.” Funny and effective.
Samsung’s ad team, which must have had a blast with its over-the-top purple rocker and flash mob. And my sleeper: the girl who head-butts her obnoxiously flirtatious and controlling boyfriend to get the Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt. (Not your average product for sale at the Super Bowl.)
These, however, are honorable mentions. Let the dogs take a bark.