Sunday, February 6, 2011

4 Super Bowl Ads We'd Like to See

In 2005 aired this uber realistic portrayal
of corporate life in America...Pass the bananas, please.
Today Super Bowl viewers around the world will be entertained by the commercials that debut during interludes in the game.

The best talent at top advertising agencies pull out all stops to startle, amaze, or just get a huge laugh. They have to.

The "spots" in the recent past have cost as much as $3 million for 30 seconds. Think about it. That's $100,000 for every tick of the clock.

Read this sentence.

That was $100,000 that just flew past your eyes.

Best Fantasy Ad Nominees
Because of the strictures and injunctions of the Van Winkle Project, I am not allowed to watch Super Bowl XLV. I won't have any idea what drama unfolds on the field, nor will I know which commercials people will be talking about around the mythical "water cooler" on Monday morning.

To compensate for this, I've made up some 30- and 60-second spots of my own. I figure if you can have "fantasy football," why not "fantasy football commercials"?

1 - APPLE COMPUTER - "Humility"
There's hardly an organization that's more successful than the dream team pairing of Steve Jobs and Apple. Before they even release a product and price it, the world is lining up and clamoring to buy it.

Apple also has the distinction of its 1984 Super Bowl "Big Brother" commercial.

"Big Brother" had cinema-quality production values, a then innovative use of veritable black and white, and an audacious, storyline that refused to directly tell viewers what the product was and that they needed to buy it.

For these reasons "Big Brother" is regarded by many ad pros as the greatest TV spot of all time. Apple swung the hammer at the IBM PC and they scored.

Apple knew all along. Apparel is a major consideration
when buying a computer.
Apple also gets high marks for a passive aggressive approach in its more recent Mac vs. PC ads. Call them arch, call them snarky, but to stand on the sidelines and just grin sadly in your hoody and jeans as you portray your competition as a lumpy, dumpy boob in khakis, this was brilliant.

And effective. Apple was so cool, that they could make arrogance and mockery look like socially acceptable behavior.

Surely Apple realizes that success brings with it a danger. The consumer could start to root for the underdog.

Apple with its dominant electronic-device triumvirate of iPod, iPhone, and iPad could start to resemble the Big Brother of its ad of 37 years ago. If so, it's hammer time...

I suggest that Apple run the following 30-second "Humility" ad during Super Bowl:

Meet the new Jobs...Not the same as the old Jobs...

Steve Jobs in trademark blue jeans and black turtleneck sitting on a stool on an empty stage with a blue curtain background. He speaks to an unseen audience.

SJ: No one ever apologizes for success. Nobody. Least of all me. But Apple is a company that's all about surprises. We go where no one has ever before. Therefore, today, at a cost of $100,000 per second, I apologize to the World. With the seductive allure of a cocktail waitress we've sold way too many of our good looking toys.We've helped you waste time. We've made possible the family meal where Dad reads The New Republic on his iPad, Mom is listening to a Sarah Palin podcast on her iPod, and the kids are texting Justin Beiber on their iPhones.

[Pause as Jobs points to a Keynote slide with graphic that is projected on curtain behind him...]

SJ: Today I am announcing Apple's Special Buy-Back program. If you bought an Apple product of any kind in the past year, we'll buy it back at a 10% premium, no questions asked. Please help us at Apple to wallow in some humility. Tell us you don't love us unconditionally. Let us give you money to disown us. That way we'll both make history since no company has ever bought back its own products for no reason whatsoever.

[Pause as new graphic goes up and Jobs gestures toward it...]

SJ: And should you change your mind after the buy-back, we'll be announcing at some vague point in time, can't even hint at it, a new convergence product that is a game-changer and...

[Screen goes black.]

"Let's Bring Back the Reign of Terror"
The Budweiser Clydesdales are an iconic representation of this global brewer of beer that harken back to the days when their product was not made in gigantic factories.

These beautiful horses pulling the beer to market or being allowed to frolic in the field, help beer drinkers feel warm and fuzzy about their latest frosted one. Wrapped in metaphorical sweaty horsehide, a Bud truly becomes a "bud."

The challenge with the Clydesdale spots is to keep thinking of things for the horses to do short of entering the Kentucky Derby. We've seen the horses play football with each other and go on sundry outings. What's left? Crank up the Way Back Machine, Sherman. It's time to travel to those "heady" days of the French Revolution...

The poor Clydesdales have been forced to pull a wagon load of prisoners to the guillotine. But wait! The lead horses look at each other, nod, and go for it! They defy their driver and veer down a side street in Paris.

 The driver whips the Clydes to no avail and then tumbles off the wagon as the horses knock over a large barrel of beer. The prisoners jump off the wagon and are untied by peasants. Everyone is standing knee-deep in beer and praising the horses and toasting la liberte with Buds.

 We end with a close-up Marie Antoinette who has come into the street and has her own mug of foamy delight.

 "Let them trink Budweiser," she says in a charming Austro-Hungarian accent tangled up with French. "And ray-mem-bair. Drink responsibly. Don't drink and drive or... you might looze ze head!"

3 - PEPSI - "Sugar, Sugar..."
In 2010 Pepsi received a logo makeover because its war against Coke never ends and it needs every edge it can get. Pepsi is capable of stumbling massively (e.g., setting Michael Jackson's hair on fire during a commercial shoot) as is Coke (New Coke), so there's a lot at stake in any new ad.

Taking a cue from our fantasy Apple ad, it might be good if Pepsi did something counterintuitive and, at the same time, trendy. They can run an ad positioning themselves as the leader in the world's effort to move toward sugar water cessation. And we're not talking about Diet Pepsi here.

No, what Pepsi should introduce is a new product that is the beverage equivalent of the Nicotine Patch. A way to wean people off their unnatural desire to have the water they drink always taste sweet.

It's not enough to offer bottled water, Pepsi needs to pioneer a way to help sugar addicts find their way back to the natural stuff.

Introducing Pip-si.

Yes, you buy this Pepsi variant drink in a different six-pack each week at the store. Each Pip-si set is designed to give you a gradually, slightly less sweet taste. In a year's time (after drinking vat-loads of this stuff, which equals mega $$$ for Pepsi), you'll finally discover that H20 tastes great...because that's what you're actually drinking by now. Cans of water that you paid $1.99 for.

4 -  GEICO INSURANCE - "The Resurrection"
A lizard is the mascot of a company that sells car insurance? Pure genius! Does it make sense? Only a little. Gecko sounds like Geico. Is it original? Not if you've seen the Budweiser lizard ads from the 1990s.

But does it work? You bet! Overnight, a boring insurance company had an identity. Reptiles are hip!

But after a while they're also a bit cold-blooded. How can we warm up the Geico gecko? The answer is to refresh the image and get people talking about the little guy again.

So here's what we do...

We turn him into roadkill.

But that's not all. After a Mustang convertible rips past and the reptile is made to resemble a  green piece of Wrigley's gum in the first 10 seconds of the spot, we pay homage to a classic film.


The Geico lizard is resurrected by a cute, kindly little girl who reaches down and...touches him. Presto! He reaquires three dimensions and comes back to life!

She carries him home lovingly cupped in the palm of her hand.

And as for the jerk in the Mustang who ran him over? He has a lapsed policy with another insurance company. He's sued and the last we see he's being led away manacled to a home behind razor wire while our lizard hero puts his hands on his slim hips and flicks his tongue. Which, of course, is how lizards laugh their little behinds off...

- V.W.



  1. If only someone would take you up on those ideas and creat the commercials! I think youtube would have a field day with viewing them! Thanks for commenting on my blog; I love your insightful feedback.

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