This Year’s Lasting Super Bowl Advertising Lesson

Now that the game is over and all the teasers and tie-ins have played out, that great arbiter of Super Bowl commercial rankings — USA Today’s Admeter — has declared a winner: Jeep’s charming and hysterical “Groundhog Day.”

Bill Murray killed it. So Jeep killed it. But Highdive? The agency that created this spot? They totally killed it.

Just not for the obvious reason.

Sure, their new spot is a note-perfect comedy gem, a meticulous recreation that adds wonderful new gags. It’s a spot we all wish we had done.

But just one year ago, Highdive was a relatively young startup agency with a handful of employees that somehow produced a :60 for the Super Bowl.

And their spot got savaged on social media.

Their ad featured a Dr. Martin Luther King sermon, artfully edited to highlight Ram Truck’s tagline “Built to Serve.” Critics cried foul, pointing out that MLK’s full remarks specifically argued against aggrandizing yourself by buying fancy cars. With Black Lives Matter very much in the headlines, their debut spot was roundly panned for being tone deaf.

So Highdive had their moment in the sun. And failed. Very publicly.

Many have written about the lessons of failure, about how much adversity can teach you for the next time. And all too many creative people lose heart when critics pounce, believing their chance is over, they missed, there will be no next time.

Happily, Highdive didn’t. And now here they are, just one year later, occupying the highest perch in the advertising landscape. They took the hit, learned from it, and bounced back with a vengeance.

And a groundhog.

Kudos to them. May many more good things lie ahead.

PS: One other lesson from this year’s ads? If you want a quick primer on how music shapes viewer emotion, pay attention to how the score and SFX of this one and this one generate inspiration and the start and stop of this one drives the comedy. Wonderful craftsmanship.

Something to Depress You, Then Something To Lift You Back Up

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonWe are heading into the weekend after all, so a downer note seems irresponsible. Yet there’s no good way to spin this news, aside from the ever entertainable possibility that GoDaddy is lying. Given their marketing stance these past few years, they can’t be considered above that.

The horrible news is, their shock value spot from the Super Bowl with the nauseating sound actually worked. According to their flacks, GoDaddy posted more new customers and new sales on post-Super Bowl Monday than they have in history.  Hosting sales jumped 45 percent, domains 40 percent, and new mobile customers rose by 35 percent.

Dammit, that’s depressing. If there were justice in the way Super Bowl ads performed, that little Clydesdale foal would send Bud sales surging alongside Ram Trucks and that new thirty thousand dollar Mercedes, while Bud’s new Black Crown would disappear faster than it inevitably will on its own. It’s horrible to see society reward stupidity, vapidity and worse. But it happens. Advertising works. Even badvertising does.

On a far, far happier note, click on this link. And be reminded of humanity’s ever-renewing reason for optimism. A baby laughing at her popcorn-eating dog with this much husky throated joy is transformative. I expect somebody to rip it off by next year’s broadcast.

Happy Baby, Happy Friday, Happy Weekend.

 

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson