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Showing posts with label She Said. Show all posts
Showing posts with label She Said. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Super Bowl 46 Automotive Ads: 3rd Annual ‘She Said, He Said’ analysis with Melanie Batenchuk


This is the Third Annual She Said, He Said with my good friend and fellow automotive blogger Melanie Batenchuck who writes at BeCarChic.

Overview This year’s Super Bowl was somewhat of a game changer for the auto industry. Much like the mood at the North American International Auto Show, the message last night was “We’re back! Now please buy our cars.” Twelve carmakers spread the ad love with 22 commercials aired before and during the big game. Hyundai and Chevrolet had the bulk of ads with four and three spots respectively, but that doesn’t mean they were the most memorable. Hyundai sponsored the kick-off pregame, where it aired two ads – one on the Elantra and the other on Hyundai’s 45,000 employees in the U.S. Toyota sponsored half time.

Needless to say, cars could be found in nearly every commercial break. And it seemed as if every car company was trying to out-do Volkswagen’s 2011 ‘Darth Vader’ ad, including Volkswagen, but none really achieved it. Honda’s Ferris Bueller homage was probably the closest to recreating the VW nostalgia among audiences.

#SuperBowl social media was everywhere The incorporation of social media was even more prevalent in this year’s Super Bowl. Last year, we saw the introduction of promoted tweets and hash tags, and SB46 included a plethora of such targeted advertising. While Audi and Acura added hash tags to the end of their commercials (#SoLongVampires and #JerrysNSX), others stirred buzz through promoted tweets and has tags.

There was even a legal spat between Ford and Chevrolet over the Chevy’s apocalyptic “2012” ad that specifically mentions a Ford truck driver ‘didn’t make it’ through the end of the world. A lawyer from Ford sent a cease and desist letter to General Motors on Saturday, February 4.


YouTube ruins ads for anyone paying attention If you’re like me, then you’re excited about the teaser ads companies release prior to the Super Bowl so you can get a taste of what is to come. All I wanted was a taste, but the week leading up to the big game left me drinking from a fire hose. Once an auto brand jumped off the YouTube bridge, the others tumbled like dominoes right behind. The pregame release of commercials can be fun if they aren’t the same ads aired during the game or simply share the beginning of the story and you have to catch the rest on TV.

The only car spot that we didn’t get a sneak peek at was Chrysler’s ‘Halftime for America’ ad starring the ever-gritty Clint Eastwood.

Now on to the good stuff… Below is the full ‘He Said, She Said’ analysis with Melanie for each automotive ad during the Super Bowl in the order that they aired. Enjoy our commentary and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Hyundai – Victory Lap Car featured: Elantra | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Another quick, simple idea with Jeff Bridges calmly delivering the punch line, must be another Hyundai ad? Not much to say here except I wonder if Hyundai could make a bigger splash by concentrating their Super Bowl ads into a single ad.

SHE SAID: Hyundai kicked off Super Bowl XLVI with a feel-good, patriotic ad aired during the pregame event. The familiar voice of actor Jeff Bridges told us it was a Hyundai commercial before ‘Stars and Stripes’ cued the adorable Elantra, this year’s winner of the North American Car of the Year.

Hyundai – All for One | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Hyundai went for short comedic spots, but for this one they shared how their corporate culture is one of supportive action complete with Rocky theme music. If I recall correctly, this ad ran between the coin toss and kickoff. The positive energy was fun but like many Super Bowl spots last night it didn’t generate much interest after its 60 seconds were up.

With only 70,000 views on YouTube, no one searched for and based on the comments a significant amount of Union Automotive workers didn’t feel inspired after non-union Hyundai factories were featured.

SHE SAID: The Korean-based automaker took this opportunity (and the ‘Rocky’ theme) to showcase its 45,000 employees in the U.S. and how the team at their Montgomery, Ala. Plant helps to make Hyundai the brand that it is today. Although the singing was a bit cheesy, I liked that this ad helped to dispel the myth that American cars are built only in Michigan.

Kia – Dream Car for Life Car featured: Optima | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Adriana Lima, Chuck Liddell, Motley Crue, and a stadium full of bikini clad fans… seriously what more do you want from a small automotive brand? It’s a fun ad with a lot of big production ingredients designed to hit all of the target demographic passions of its aspirational buyer.

SHE SAID: Kia plays up both men and women’s senses by giving us a look into their dreams with this outrageous ad featuring fairy dust, Motley Crue, a race track, a white stallion, and Adriana Lima (who made a second SB46 appearance for Teleflora). This one wins my award for ‘most fun’ out of the car ads. It pleased both male and female audiences and had a lot of great energy behind it.

Hyundai – Cheetah Car featured: Veloster Turbo | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Meh. They promoted this ad quite a bit using Facebook ads the entire week before the game. It too is highly forgettable and the concept while cute for a second lacks the fun of the other Hyundai spots like “Think Fast.”

SHE SAID: By now, I was ready to see an ad from someone other than Hyundai…and this wasn’t even their last installment. While the commercial was entertaining, I felt that stacking all of their ads so close together made it difficult for everyday consumers who were watching to differentiate between the company’s products.

Hyundai – Think Fast Car featured – Genesis Coupe | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Charming. When you can make a temporary heart failure charming, you know your ad has a great premise. This simple ad without a big name celebrity, Hollywood movie set, or show dog finds a fun way to message performance. It’s unexpected and gets a quick smile from the Super Bowl audience.

The ad is complimented by several online videos featuring the High-Powered Business Tips from the boss in the Genesis Coupe ad. Of course you’ll have to figure that out online and not from the TV spot.

SHE SAID: I had a small chuckle at this ad, mostly because it reminded me of a scene from my favorite movie “What about Bob?,” where Bob (played by Bill Murray) won’t wake up out of bed Other than that, it simply shows that the Genesis Coupe comes with good braking agility.

Cars.com – Confident You Watch the Video

HE SAID: If weird is your thing, Cars.com has an ad for you. Complete with Siamese bobbing goiter head.

SHE SAID: I really didn’t enjoy the Cars.com ad. Confidence doesn’t have to be so creepy. And it doesn’t have to sing either.


Chevrolet – Happy Grad Car featured: Camaro convertible | Watch the Video

HE SAID: And now for some MoFilms user-generated semi-professional videographer ad goodness that’s not from Doritos. The Happy Grad ad is great. A new sports car is something any grad would go nuts for if mom and dad presented such a surprise while still in a cap-and-gown. The reality of the graduate’s non-present is one we can all relate too.

SHE SAID: I didn’t really get this ad either. The parents really didn’t try to show their son the fridge. And who gives their kid a mini fridge for graduation? Much less one out on the front lawn….

Toyota – Connections Car featured: Various Camry models | Watch the Video

HE SAID: This is a continuation of Toyota’s personal stories campaign that’s been asking owners on social media to share their stories. It’s not a bad ad; though, like the Lexus ad it blends into the crowd. What’s missing here is personalizing the stories even more by showcasing the exact language from their owners and sharing posts the brand has received on the web.

“Connections” is similar to a lot of past ads by just about any car company. We all have a story to share from our car. Every car I’ve ever owned has some story. So having a personal story really isn’t that interesting so I’m doubtful this campaign creates any compelling positioning any against competitors. Sharing a story in and of itself is dull even if you do add a cute dog hanging its head out a window.

SHE SAID: Toyota tried to tug at your heart strings here , but I think this commercial would have been more effective as a regularly run ad. The Super Bowl is so cluttered with attention grabbing spots that trying to get people sentimental about their Camry’s a few adult beverages in, may not be the best approach (unless, of course, you’re Chrysler).

Fiat – Seduction Car featured: 500 Abarth | Watch the Video

HE SAID: I refuse to review this ad as a Super Bowl ad, it was launched last year and is not original to the Super Bowl. Granted it was the first time many people paid attention to the ad, even if they passively saw it before…

SHE SAID: This video was saucy to say the least. What can I say, sexiness sells. Any commercial that can get my husband to tweet that he wants to look at a Fiat 500 is a success in my book. Sorry dear, it doesn’t come with the model.

Audi – Vampire Party Car featured: S6 headlights | Watch the Video

HE SAID: A few people have asked me what do I think of the Twilight Audi ad. I felt it was more True Blood with the older vampires and cooler Echo and the Bunnymen soundtrack. Plus as one 20 year old reminded me they think Volvo when thinking Twilight vampires, since Volvo dominated in movie placements.

The whole Twilight, True Blood, vampire trendy thing aside the ad is a great example of taking a rather mundane product feature like headlights and making it compelling in an interesting way. Is it Super Bowl entertaining? Sure. Not every ad on game day has to have a dog or model (or soccer star) in underwear.

SHE SAID: This one actually made me laugh out loud, mostly because I’m not into all that Vampire stuff. Lots of people liked the funny ad and the hash tag they assigned to it (#SoLongVampires). This commercial was for those of us who aren’t in love with blood-sucking teen wolves. Unfortunately, the ad fell short of promoting a car. Who spends $3.5 million to advertise headlights?

Suzuki – Sled Car featured: Kisashi | Watch the Video

HE SAID: My choice for cutest dog ad goes to Suzuki for the Kizashi “Sled” commercial. It’s adorable heck even the human driver is adorable and isn’t that what great pet advertising is all about? Plus what else are you going to say about an All-Wheel Drive system that hasn’t been said or done twenty thousand times already.

SHE SAID: My first reaction was, “Suzuki has enough money to buy a Super Bowl ad?” After the initial shock, I then found this to be a witty ad. Glad to see the Kisashi get some love. Hopefully it’ll translate into some U.S. sales for the company.

Chevrolet – Stunt Anthem Car featured: Sonic | Watch the Video

HE SAID: One creative idea that always gets tiring is the “let’s break a world record or be the first at X.” You know the brainstorming has hit a wall when your creative team starts Googling to see if anyone has skydived a car before.

That said, it’s a well done version of a rather boring concept. Of course the well chosen music track "We Are Young" by Fun, ft. Janelle Monae helps dramatically.

SHE SAID: Many of my friends really liked the adventurous spirit of the Sonic ‘stunt’ ad. I thought it was pretty rad and catered to the X-games demographic. I’m not running out to get a Sonic anytime soon (because I still think it’s a glorified Aveo), but others have recommended the sporty compact.

Bridgestone – Performance Football Watch the Video

HE SAID: More tire tread balls. I'll give them an A for consistency and a C for maintaining anyone's interest.

SHE SAID: Much like the Patriots’ final play, this ad from Bridgestone was a great idea but was poorly executed. (Sorry, Pats fans.)



Lexus – Beast Car featured: GS | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Nice grille. Now is a good time to go get another beer before the game comes back on.

Honestly, it’s a good update to a rather bland design and in person I love the new GS I saw at the Panasonic booth while at CES last month, but this ad is entirely forgettable and nothing is worse than a forgettable Super Bowl commercial you just paid $3.5 million for.

SHE SAID: I actually liked the teaser ad better because it created some suspense and excitement. I would have like to have seen an extended version that showed the some of the performance aspects of this Lexus classic.

Cadillac – Green Hell Car featured: ATS | Watch the Video 

HE SAID: Another 3-Series challenger. Welcome Cadillac, join the crowd and thanks for the cliche track porn driving around Nuremberg. Can we all agree as an industry that Nuremberg shall never be used in another ad campaign or PR stunt? It's as overplayed as Tim Tebow Internet memes.

SHE SAID: Sorry, but just because you hired German engineers and flung it around the ‘Ring doesn’t mean it’s a BMW beater.


Bridgestone – Performance Basketball Watch the Video 

HE SAID: Sleeping baby for the win! Not sure how a bouncing tire tread basketball on a wood court is similar to a pothole filled Michigan road on 19” performance rims, but I’ll admit I’m over thinking this one. Maybe it’s just because I don’t really care to make the connection between basketball and a tire’s quietness.

SHE SAID: Yawn. Nobody wants to hear about tire treads, we want to see it in action. Give us performance!

Honda – Matthew’s Day Off Car featured: CR-V | Watch the Video

HE SAID: One of my favorites as long as you overlook the sad notion that every child of the 80s high school playing-hooky idol ends up in middle-age driving a Honda CR-V. Then again many do end up in a basic, but nice car like a CR-V. Nothing is wrong with that except most of us remember the car aspect of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as the beginning of collective our lust for a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California.

Of all the Ferris Bueller film moments in the ad, it’s not surprising we don’t see Broderick telling us, “if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up” about the CR-V.

Oh well, it was great seeing a character we all loved return; though, Honda’s teaser made several think a new Ferris movie was coming, not another Super Bowl car ad. Guess we’ll all have to continue waiting for the full feature film of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off from Work coming to theaters in...?

SHE SAID: Ferris Bueller lives!...and he drives a CR-V. I liked how Honda brought back pleasant memories from a movie almost everyone over the age of 25 can remember (did I just age myself?). They did a great job recreating scenes of the original flick in such a short amount of time. Not sure anyone will be running out to by a CR-V, but there is a Facebook group pining for a sequel!

Acura – Transactions Car featured – NSX | Watch the Video 

HE SAID: This is the ad that crashed Acura’s website after it aired. I’m not surprised. Not because of the Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno celebrity effect. Nope. The reason everyone was rushing to Acura’s website was to see if they could afford the return of the much anticipated NSX!

What a beautiful car and a fun way to build excitement for the limited production release. Make a game of being first and isn’t being the guy on the block with the coolest car in the garage satisfy one of our most primitive desires? Plus this is one of the more believable celebrity fights to be first to own a car. This is the game of wealthy car enthusiast comedians than your typical Super Bowl viewer.

SHE SAID: The NSX lives!! And it’s really coming to production this time! I heart Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno. This would have been my favorite ad if it didn’t get released before the Super Bowl.

Volkswagen – The Dog Strikes Back Car featured: Beetle | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Star Wars has gone to the dogs. I ended up playing a drinking game with fellow #BrandBowl tweeters. Simple concept. Dog in ad = Drink. Thank you Volkswagen for the help.

SHE SAID: Well, well, well. VW actually released a teaser video and THEN a full Super Bowl ad that was loosely tied in with it. What a concept! This was a fun-loving bit that anyone could enjoy. Wait, is that the dog driving the Forester in that Subaru commercial?

Toyota – Reinvented Car featured: Camry | Watch the Video 

HE SAID: Some of the concepts here were cute and others confusing. Unfortunately the Camry didn’t look reinvented. It takes a pretty keen eye to see what Toyota has changed on the car this year. And with a typical evolutionary, not revolutionary change the concept of this ad falls short. 

Also what's with the time traveling baby that doesn’t poop and when it rains you lose weight? Neither seems desirable, except the no pooping part.

SHE SAID: I would definitely want to reinvent the DMV experience. The only thing missing in this ad and the other spot by Toyota was how they reinvented the Camry.

Chrysler – It’s Halftime in America Car featured: Various models | Watch the Video

HE SAID: I call this the Anti-Mitt Romney NY Times Op Ed Article Commercial. Sure it lacks the ring or sentimentality of It’s Halftime in America.

For a second year, Chrysler goes for the emotional up by our bootstraps brand messaging, but this time uses Dirty Hairy and fosters the strength of all of America, not just Detroit. It’s gritty, dark and strong just like last year’s ad but with a broader appeal.

Like the VW Star Wars ads, the Chrysler spot basically borrowed from last year’s success without an original idea. Instead it was more about building on prior success using a similar concept.

It’s not that I don’t like the Chrysler spot. It’s good. It’s just that I sort of saw it last year with Eminem and no offense to Clint Eastwood, but last year’s version was better. Besides I felt it was also so negative. Almost a view of America that is about 3 years old especially after seeing the improvements in the Unemployment rate and reduced fear about a massive recession; though, I’m by no means suggesting this economy is all fixed.

SHE SAID: This ad left me chanting, “Clint Eastwood for President!” For the second year in a row, Chrysler has seriously tugged on the heartstrings of Detroiters and Americans. There’s no one better to send the message of America’s true grit than Clint Eastwood. Although many people found this to be too politicized, I think it’s well timed. I liked how the ad didn’t showcase one car but rather bits of various Chrysler brand vehicles. Oh, and my favorite part of the ad? I didn’t see it before it aired!

Chevrolet – 2012 Car featured: Silverado | Watch the Video 

HE SAID: My favorite ad by far. I’m mainly happy to see the end of the world is less depressing than Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Now there is a lot of controversy sounding this ad today after Ford raised several issues with Chevy’s claim of their product not surviving the fake-pocalypse, but that’s an issue for PR and legal.

As an ad, it is well done and a great touch with Twinkies surviving the apocalypse for a bonus comedic effect.

SHE SAID: Drama! The ad was great, don’t get me wrong. I just think that it would have had a stronger impact if Chevy didn’t single out Ford in such a negative way. After all, Ford isn’t the only other automaker competing in the truck market. Disclaimer: The author of this post provides strategic communications services for organizations that represent the auto industry, including many of the car manufacturers featured in this blog post. The views expressed in this post are solely the author’s and were not solicited by any third party.
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Automotive Ads: She Said, He Said Analysis with Melanie Batenchuk



Last year I had such a great time covering the Super Bowl ads with Melanie Batenchuk from the BeCarChic blog that I had to do it again.

This year there was a ton to cover and fortunately some standout ads. I checked out Mullen and Radian6's Brandbowl project that measures number of Twitter mentions and sentiment to find out my two top picks made #1 and #2. So it was a great year for car commercials.

Now for our thoughts...

Audi “Release the Hounds”



HE SAID: Was the hashtag #PrestigeIs? Or #PackersIs? Or #ProgressIs? Does it really matter? Audi’s claim to fame this year was being the first Super Bowl ad to use a Twitter hashtag. I followed the hashtag content for a couple minutes after the ad and people …. But did @Audi even show up? They did. Here is one of the tweets they sent.

So how about the commercial? Horrible. Boring and Kenny G. What was that? It was so incredibly boring and after so many great ads from Audi in prior Super Bowl years. The only good line in the ad was the “hit him with the Kenny G” where the wealthy escapee is sidetracked by some soprano saxophone. Overall though the ad didn’t have the wit of Audi’s recent campaigns.

In an interesting side-note, Audi bought the YouTube home page banner the night of the Super Bowl, hoping anyone there searching for Super Bowl ads would checkout Audi’s too.

SHE SAID: Super Bowl advertisers definitely discovered the promoted Tweet this year. When it comes to Internet technologies, auto industry folks can certainly be a little over-zealous. Audi, while trying to be different, overdid it. I was bombarded by the same 140 character promoted tweet from Audi (including their #ProgressIs hashtag) every 15 to 30 minutes. It would have been more impactful had Audi actually engaged with its community tonight.

I disagree with Chris that the ad was horrible; however, I agree that the best part was “hit them with the Kenny G!” Audi cleverly used the imagery of bourgeois people stuck in their “luxury” cells as a way to show how having a luxury sedan (ahem, a Mercedes-Benz) can be perceived as being stuffy. Audi’s marketing efforts in the past few years have certainly driven their brand far from that stuffy feel, attracting younger buyers who yearn for a ride that’s both sporty and well-appointed.

BMW X3 “Defying Logic”



HE SAID: This ad had a lot to love but the one thing that bothered me was why the focus on America? The ad leads up to the “Designed in America. Built in America” line. I get it’s true and it is a good thing for our country, but people who buy BMWs want German cars, not American cars. Part of me wonders if this messaging backfires for the brand. Honda ran similar made in America ads for their Accords a few years back, but that was in response to the US auto makers claiming they were the job builders of the car industry, not the Japanese. So Honda responded as did Toyota too that they made cars in America that created American jobs.

BMW is a luxury car maker selling an image. Just imagine the horror of some yuppie being told their German car is a South Carolina car. So much for prestige (not that South Carolina is a bad place, but let’s be honest it doesn’t have the cache of German engineering and attention to detail.) Overall, it was a brilliant ad for South Carolina and the great workers of BMW’s factory, but from a brand perspective I just didn’t think it worked in the company’s favor.

SHE SAID: I think it's great that we have GM touting German engineering and BMW telling everyone they build cars in America. This message isn't for car enthusiasts, or even BMW enthusiasts. This message is for rural America - those who have been so loyal to "domestic" brands in the past because they were built on U.S. soil. The Big Three have eased up on this messaging as it has become common knowledge that many of their vehicles are built in Canada and Mexico. Perhaps this will break down some of those nasty protectionism barriers that the automotive industry has faced.

Hyundai did a similar spot last year, sharing the news of their plant in Alabama. I wish that Volkswagen had done the same for their Chattanooga Passat.

BMW Advanced Diesel – “Changes”



HE SAID: Bowie, BMW and Diesels. Is there any more win in a commercial? I think not. The chugging Volvo station wagon up hill blowing out black smoke was classic as was the truck driver coughing up diesel smoke. It was funny and reset a lot of the opinions regarding what a diesel car is today. Times have changed for sure.

SHE SAID: BMW took me back to my youth with this one. I reminisced of my dad’s old powder blue Mercedes Benz 300 diesel (much like this one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mercedesmotoring/4082414816/in/photostream/) I hated the smell that it emitted and the way it rattled before it warmed up in the wintertime.

I think BMW was spot-on with connecting us to our old feelings about diesel, but I’m not sure they did enough to evoke new feelings. Those who reacted to the ad on Twitter did not seem to make a distinction between the diesel of the 70’s and 80’s and the diesel technologies of today.

Chevrolet “Bumblebee”



HE SAID: In full disclosure, I can’t stand the Transformer movies. They are so awful. That aside, I think the ad played well with its unexpected plot and poking fun at the absurdity of most dealership ads. Mascot, cheerleaders, and balloons all added to the mockery, but where was the giant inflatable gorilla or free hot dogs? Come on Chevy if you are going to make fun of your dealer ads, don’t forget the free food.

SHE SAID: I think this was the most action-packed ad of the evening. Poking fun at dealers’ local ads never gets old. The twist of the Transformers Camaro made me wonder if it was a Chevy ad or a movie trailer. I will say, however, that Chevrolet did the best job at showcasing its models – each of its ads included a different model and a different marketing spin. That was smart move on their behalf, especially considering where GM was as a company just two years ago.

But, more than anything, what I liked best about this commercial slash movie trailer was that Megan Fox was nowhere in it.

Chevy Cruze “Misunderstanding”




HE SAID: A brilliant and fun way to emphasize 42 mpg fuel economy on the all-new Cruze Eco model. With a lot of cars now doing 40 plus mpgs, I’m not sure how well it stands out these days, but it is a good message for Chevy and a creative way to drive a product benefit home.

SHE SAID: With so much emphasis on the young and sexy, it was fun to see Chevy use the humor of these cantankerous senior citizens. The ad succeeded in calling out the Cruze Eco model.

Chevy Silverado “Tommy”



HE SAID: Chevy takes a break from their heritage branding and borrows from some other Americana – Lassie. The Silverado becomes its own rescue saving machine. It was a decent ad, but like the rest of the Chevy (and Hyundai) ads it just wasn’t very memorable and the Super Bowl is all about being Super. Maybe instead of trying to do four ads during the game, maybe one really impressive ad – like Chrysler’s – would’ve been a better route to go.

SHE SAID: Chevy deepened its American-at-heart branding with this classic spin on the TV show we all loved. I think Chevy should have played out fewer storylines within the time constraints in order to make a stronger impression. If there was only one rescue story for viewers to follow from beginning to end, then that would have made it more memorable.

Chevy Cruze “Status”



HE SAID: Oh great now I can listen to my aunt complain about her day at work in a Chevy Cruze. Is this progress? Well at least the ad shows a cute way it is helpful; though, a successful first date didn’t involve a Facebook status update when I was young. Times change I suppose, in this case for the worse. The ad was cute but not very memorable or entertaining; though, it did garner some discussion about Facebook more than Chevy where I was at.

SHE SAID: Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Chevy’s Facebook status ad was adorable. That being said, I’m not sure it makes sense for Chevy to try to compete with Ford’s Sync technology this late in the game. I felt as if the Detroit car maker was saying “Hey, we can do voice command, too. Oh, and don’t forget social networking sites updates!”

Watching the Twitter conversation was interesting. There were numerous tweets about how having a car read its driver Facebook status updates does not eliminate distracted driving. I believe that drivers are going to text and check their social networks regardless of rules and regulations, so why not give them the tools to do it more safely?

Chevy Camaro “Miss Evelyn”



HE SAID: Chevy goes with the let’s run through every cliché and then ends with another cliché. Any ad that begins with “I got a great idea for… commercial” is going to be lame. It wasn’t interesting. The better Camaro spot was their placement of the Camaro convertible during the MVP ceremony after the game.

SHE SAID: I had fun watching the brainstorming process that goes into advertising play out in an absurd way. The ad was definitely clever…and I’m sure the guys didn’t mind having three or four beautiful women (blonde, brunette, red-head) to feast their eyes on. Right Chris?

Chrysler “Imported from Detroit”



HE SAID: After Eminem was earlier featured in Lipton commercial saying he doesn’t do commercials while in a commercial as a cartoon, the Chrysler spot showed up taking over a full two minute commercial break. It definitely won a lot of hearts and minds from what I saw on Twitter after it aired. A few people where even asking for an “Imported from Detroit” t-shirt (hear that Chrysler?)

It was a great ad from the agency that won AdAge Agency of the Year Wieden+Kennedy. So no surprise they knocked the adorable VW Vader out from being my favorite from Super Bowl XLV.

On the negative side, too bad they couldn’t of used a better car than a refreshed Sebring, aka the 200. The 300 would’ve been a much better vehicle with its stance and new lines. I’m sure Chrysler would’ve loved to have used the new 300 instead. Unfortunately it’s made in Brampton, Ontario and “Imported from Ontario” kind of deflates the ad’s impact.

SHE SAID: The crowd – both online and offline – overwhelmingly identified with Chrysler’s two-minute commercial depicting Detroit as the come-back city. Using Eminem solidified the automaker’s fight to survive hard times. Chrysler was smart to latch on to his tough-guy brand.

“Imported from Detroit” was definitely the most powerful ad (at least emotionally) of the Super Bowl. Unlike Chevy and Audi, Chrysler didn’t need to spend money on promoted tweets because everyone was still talking about the ad hours after it aired.
The longer length of the ad left me questioning why others don’t do the same and whether this could become a trend in the next Super Bowl.

Ford Focus “Focus Rally”



HE SAID: In the pre-game show, Ford premiered their Focus Rally commercial asking TV viewers to “Join Our Team.” It wasn’t very clear to me what join our team meant since it didn’t really say what a team was or why I would want to join a team. Perhaps that more complex message can be answered at the Focus Rally website. I wasn’t alone as I immediately saw this tweet showing the same confusion, hopefully for Ford people will take the time to find out and apparently they did as the FocusRally.com website was unavailable when I tried to check it out after the ad.

SHE SAID: I give Ford props for its attempt to use traditional advertising to spark a social media movement. The automaker prompted viewers to visit its microsite to learn more about the Focus cross-country rally contest. People can participate in this interactive race and even win a new 2012 Focus. It will be interesting to see how successful it is.

Hyundai Elantra “Sheep”, “Childhood”, “Hypnotized”, “Deprogramming”







HE SAID: I barely remembered any of these ads and had to go back on YouTube to refresh my memory. And no I didn’t drink a lot, I had two beers during the game and one was a root beer. “Harness your Spirit Animal” lacked the punch of Chrysler’s end tagline “Imported from Detroit.” The hypnotized ad was the freakiest of the car ads this year and lost me.

“Sheep” was the best of this bunch. It really made me look again at the design of the vehicle and this is a good thing as Hyundai’s Elantra is great addition to their lineup.

SHE SAID: Hyundai is clearly good at coming up with themes for its advertising. I thought that these ads were decent, but not memorable. I remember Jeff Bridges’ voiceover more than the actual commercials. I think I would have liked to see Hyundai’s thriller “Car Wash” ad in the Super Bowl in place of a few of the others.

On the other hand, the “sheep” ad wasn’t all that “baaaaaad.” (Sorry, I just had to do it.)

Hyundai Sonata “Anachronistic City”



HE SAID: The Hyundai ad wasn’t a Super Bowl debut, but it was fairly new and showcased their move into the crowded Hybrid segment. It’s a good ad but like many others it just missed the mark of making any sort of impact when everyone is paying extra attention to the commercials; instead, of fast forwarding through on the DVR.

SHE SAID: If Hyundai was attempting a comparison ad, I think they missed the mark. It would have been nice to see which hybrids they were lining up against the Sonata hybrid. I found the tagline humorous and memorable, but I didn’t remember that this ad was for a car. Oh, and how many people know the definition of “anachronistic?”.

Kia “One Epic Ride”



HE SAID: I’ve been in enough creative meetings to know this ad was one of those outrageous reach for the sky budget ads. That’s all glitz. Unfortunately, the Kia brand doesn’t get me thinking “epic” and this commercial only said to me that the creative budget was epic but that it did little to nothing to move the brand message. Too bad, because the Optima is a great car and over promising only hurts the positive accolades the car deserves. Instead no one saw why it is a major jump for the Kia brand since all we’ll remember, if we remember anythings, is the Poseidon-like water king.

SHE SAID: Kia debuted its 2012 Optima with this movie trailer-esque ad. The storyline was weak for me, and the dude in the helicopter reminded me of an older version of Speed Racer. I couldn’t quite grasp what Kia was selling here. Maybe it’s because I’m not sold on the fact that consumers are fighting over their vehicles. But I did like how it finished; incorporating the Mayans is never a bad thing.

Mercedes Benz “Welcome to the Family”



HE SAID: A very well done, though mostly unmemorable spot for Mercedes. Honestly any commercial with a 300 SL Gullwing is great in my book and with so many excellent classic cars it definitely peaked my auto geek interest. The only part that bugged me was the inclusion of a celebrity, in this case P-Diddy or whatever his name is this year, that seemed completely unnecessary and took away from the romance of the classic cars. Perhaps someone in marketing felt no one would pay attention if it only showed cars. They were wrong.

SHE SAID: Having visited the Mercedes-Benz museum in Germany last fall, I enjoyed this commercial because it displayed the automaker’s long-standing history. MB recently celebrated its 125th anniversary, and I think this ad paid homage to that accomplishment.

MINI “Cram It in the Boot”



HE SAID: Seriously? “Cram it in the Boot”? Plenty of room to cram? Nothing like some good old fashion butt sex humor to get the football watching Americans laughing. This was such a sad attempt at being sexually suggestive for cheap laughs, perhaps MINI figured if they ran this spot late in the game we’d all be drunk enough to laugh away.

SHE SAID: In MINI’s debut Super Bowl appearance, it put the game show spotlight on its new Countryman crossover. This was my least favorite auto ad. Any Brits out there care to enlighten me on the humor?
MINI does give us a good look at the vehicle. Although, I have to say, the styling of the vehicle is so similar to the MINI Cooper, that it’s difficult to tell the proportions and size difference of the Countryman on TV. I saw the vehicle in person at the Washington Auto Show. It’s quaint yet extremely sporty. Though I’m not sure how many “moms-on-the-go” will be driving it. I liked MINI’s pre-Super Bowl ad “Emergency” better.

Volkswagen “The Force”



HE SAID: Brilliant. The ad, not the car. The new Passat is a major disappointment but at least marketing is doing its best to salvage what is basically a slightly larger Jetta. As VW tries to cut costs in their cars to be more price competitive, they decide to do some rights licensing from George Lucas.

SHE SAID: Volkswagen won the hearts of Star Wars geeks everywhere with this one. The 2012 Passat ad was cute and appealed to pretty much everyone. As a dad to two young boys, I'm sure Chris can relate to this more than I can. The ad couldn't have been better; however, I would like to have seen an ad featuring VW's new plant in Tennessee, where they now build the Passat for the U.S.

Volkswagen “Black Beetle”



HE SAID: This year’s best commercial soundtrack goes to VW (best one in 2010 was Kia using “Do You Like Me Know” by The Heavy.) Jon Spencer Blues Explosion recorded the “Black Beauty” cover for the ad. It has great energy and the turbo boosted beetle with racing stripes was a nice touch, but to get the best experience for this spot go to YouTube. Volkswagen created a full YouTube home page takeover last week that is the better experience. Check it out now.

SHE SAID: Another hit by Volkswagen. It was unexpected, energetic, and personified a crunchy, black bug. What more could you ask for?


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Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Automotive Ads: She Said, He Said Analysis with Melanie Batenchuk



Social media is all about extending one's network and I am fortunate enough to have met Melanie Batenchuk (@BeCarChic) who has her own blog and also writes for AskPatty.com. The two of us decided a couple weeks ago to work together on a Super Bowl article covering the automotive ads. Here is the result.

Volkswagen “PunchDub”



SHE SAID: Having a brother six years my senior, my upper arm could never forget the pain it endured from the “Punch Bug” game of my childhood. There was a “Punch Bug” graveyard on the way to our Aunt and Uncle’s lake house that housed hundreds of broken down and beat up VW Bugs. My brother and I played the game every time we went to their place, both of us anxiously awaiting that lot. Whoever spotted it first not only won the game but also had the pleasure of endlessly punching his opponent in the arm.

The VW “Punch Dub” ad appealed to anyone old enough to remember the original VW Bug. It successfully spanned demographics both through the characters in the commercial and in its appeal. While memorable, I don’t think this commercial ignited a new game of “Punch Dub” in America. I doubt kids riding in their mom’s Routan today are looking for other VW’s so they can punch each other and shout a color.

HE SAID: This ad was an early favorite at the party I attended. People really enjoyed the end with Stevie Wonder and Tracy Morgan. In the beginning, it was a bit confusing to those who may not be familiar with the ‘punch bug’ game the concept is developed from, but it is effectively communicated in the 60 seconds.

Most surprising about the campaign is how VW extended the idea online with a video called “How did he play PunchDub?” where Stevie Wonder educates the viewer about a device that helps the blind “see” colors. It is a nice extension of the Super Bowl ad.

It was also nice to see VW not bring in the online personality of “Sluggy Patterson” who is currently leading the campaign through social media (see my blog post for more information.) VW realized the difference between online and TV and showcased PunchDub in a way that was more accessible to the large audience of the Super Bowl while maintaining the integrity of the campaign. This was by far my favorite ad from the industry Sunday night. It was simple, memorable and effective in communicating a passion for the brand. Plus I believe VW will build on the success of the ad as it continues to evolve the campaign.

Audi “Green Police”



SHE SAID: Audi’s commercial was much better than the PSA previews the company aired ahead of Super Bowl XLIV. I liked the rock n’ roll tune and the way Audi brought all of it together to highlight the product. Personally, I love the Audi A3 TDI – and it won Green Car Journal’s 2010 Green Car of the Year Award – so it wasn’t a tough sell from that perspective.

The German automaker was targeted greenies and car enthusiasts alike by wittily excusing the A3 TDI from a “Green Police” Eco Check Point. Car enthusiasts like me also enjoyed hearing the TDI’s exhaust and power as it navigated its way out of the checkpoint, dodging green traffic cones and speeding off into an enviro-conscious sunset.

HE SAID: In a world of Eco-Guilt, Audi decides to mock the ridiculousness of it all with a crew of police patrolmen busting yuppies and teens for all kinds of environmental mistakes. Eco-Guilt is a developing trend where people feel they are not doing enough for the environment. Even Oprah Winfrey’s “O” magazine covered the topic demonstrating there is a cultural awareness about the behavior.

Audi received some early criticism around using “Green Police” which was a phrase used to describe Nazi Germany’s police force. Very few know about the history and it became a minor issue for the brand online, but soon dissipated after most acknowledged the “Green Police” name was about environmental “policing” for those not in environmental compliance and was simply a poor naming choice by the marketing team.

Cheap Trick did the soundtrack for the ad and the situations busting people for wrong light bulbs, using plastic bottles, and choosing plastic bags at the supermarket. The ad ends on a couple high notes with the “Eco Check” police checkpoint that lets the Audi A3 TDI go ahead and with cops stopping cops for using Styrofoam coffee cups. The ad received predominantly positive buzz online, which tells me it did get its message across effectively. Overall it’s another win for the Volkswagen Group.

Dodge “Man’s Last Stand”



SHE SAID: My first thought was, “Is this the man version of ‘I am woman, hear me roar?’” From a woman’s perspective, there wasn’t much positive to say about Dodge’s commercial. Sure the music was cool and they had some great camera shots at the end, but Dodge seemed to go a little overboard with its man-centric, “women force us to suppress our true feelings and deny us the ability to have our own thoughts” theme. Unlike the man-bashing FloTV ads, the humor injected was not funny to both male and female viewers.

In fact, I was surprised that so many Super Bowl ads were focused only on the male buyer when women continue to be the bigger spenders. This is what I want to know from Dodge. I’m a woman; I like fast cars with horsepower and a sleek design. Why does he deserve to drive a Dodge Charger R/T with the 5.7L V8 and I don’t?

HE SAID: I feel like almost disqualifying myself for providing any commentary on a Dodge ad. I just feel so subjective whenever I review the latest from Auburn Hills, Michigan, but I’ll give it a try.

Of all the automotive ads on this list, this was by far the most polarizing from what I can gather across YouTube comments and Twitter conversations. People either loved some of the swipes at the elimination of manliness like the “I will carry your lip balm. I will watch your vampire TV shows with you.” Or they hated it for the ad’s attempt to insult all requests from a wife or girlfriend as if it was being anti-female.

Personally, I felt the ad followed a common theme of Super Bowl marketing: It’s okay to make fun of boring middle-aged men. It’s the last segment of the population that is fair game to mock. Can you imagine the uproar if this concept were reversed?

Women staring blankly at the camera with voiceover by Weed’s star Mary-Louise Parker saying, “I will get the kids ready for school, kiss you goodbye and rush to get ready for my job. I will pretend to understand why you care if a team wins a game. I will fake an orgasm this weekend.” Oh wait, maybe this concept does work. Now what car would go roaring down the highway in the female gender version? BMW Z4 sDrive 35i with a manual transmission to beat the pants off that automatic only offered Dodge Charger.

Honda “Crosstour Squirrel”



SHE SAID: I had to watch this ad a second time to get the gist. Sadly, the featured squirrel was a hoarder. Thankfully the Honda Crosstour’s space helped him store and organize items like an acorn, a pineapple, and a bowling trophy. I think kids and their parents probably enjoyed the commercial, but the general population may not have found this ad memorable.

The most clever aspect of this commercial was how the camera panned through the interior of the car before they showed you the exterior. So many automakers focus on the exterior design elements and expect customers to visit the dealership to see what’s inside. Honda was smart to take this approach because the Crosstour’s exterior is specific to certain tastes, but the interior’s style likely will make up for it.

HE SAID: For what it had to market, the RPA Agency did an excellent job with this ad concept. I can just imagine the creative brief: It’s an inside story. Communicate the versatility and beauty of the vehicle using its interior amenities.

The squirrel filling what appears to be a tree and ends up being the inside of a Honda Crosstour with all kinds of items is an interesting way to showcase the CUV’s space. I also really like the art direction with the sharp edges and strong use of shadows throughout the commercial.

My only negative is that it didn’t really standout for a Super Bowl ad and was forgettable when people tried to recall what they watched. I probably would’ve saved the media buy dollars and went more niche targeted since the vehicle is desirable to a very distinct customer segment.

Hyundai “10 Years Strong Featuring Brett Favre”



SHE SAID: The Hyundai Brett Favre commercial was a fantastic play on his situation and with impeccable timing. It was clear that Hyundai was comparing the certainty of their 10 year/100,000 mile warranty to Favre’s NFL retirement uncertainty. I believe their audience, although it could be perceived as just for men and football fans, was actually larger. Anyone who’s watched mainstream news on a regular basis could have picked up on the joke. The commercial was funny in a relevant, rated G, way – unlike random men walking through a field in their undies.

HE SAID: You can rarely knock relevant, ‘rarely’ because you can screw it up. Here Hyundai delivers with a play on their 10-year warranty and the longevity of football’s aging quarterback Brett Favre. The message highlights the term of the warranty in an interesting, compelling way that is also appealing to the football faithful and who doesn’t know who Brett Favre is, especially after “There’s Something About Mary.”

Hyundai “Sonata Built-by-Hand”



SHE SAID: In its crowd-surfing ad, Hyundai stressed quality and American craftsmanship by highlighting the 3,300 employees who work at its Montgomery, Ala. manufacturing facility. The ad persuaded potential buyers to consider the care and attention to detail Hyundai’s employees give to each car that comes down the assembly line, and it showed that this Korean-based automaker employees Americans to build their cars right here on our home turf.

HE SAID: Hyundai used the Super Bowl to help launch its all-new Sonata. This is one of two ads promoting the new car. Unlike the Brett Favre ad, the two Sonata ads showcase the car as part of Hyundai sponsorship of the NFL Pre-Game Show. The ad is fine as far as a vehicle launch commercial is concerned, but it is forgettable. Though that’s fine since the Sonata ads played heavily during the Pre-Game spots and were really about getting people familiar with the new sedan.

Hyundai “Painted Hyundai Sonata”



SHE SAID: This advertisement was elegant, classy, and it struck a chord with my pianist and violinist background. It was a refined way to appeal to upper class buyers by comparing the paint job process to that of the Mercedes-Benz CLS550, while indicating a much lower price tag. The audience in the room did mention that it may have been more effective had the Mercedes comparison line run on the screen for longer.

HE SAID: Of the two Sonata spots this one has a bit more appeal than the one with office workers carrying an empty body frame of the all-new car. The ad communicates a technical process in a way that is more interesting and elegant than what might have been expected when talking about paint. So it’s a well-executed product feature commercial to compliment the launch of the Sonata.

Kia “Sorento”



SHE SAID: Kia’s ad also struck a childhood note with me. The commercial reminded me of when I was a kid and believed that my stuffed animals came to life at night. Kia used the reverse logic – the stuffed creatures daydreaming of a more exciting nightlife – to appeal to its audience of busy parents and their kids.

The music was catchy and fresh; I watched the commercial again just to hear it. While Kia alluded to these children’s characters coming alive and having a good time in its teaser ads, they left you totally clueless as to how the company would incorporate them into a worthwhile Super Bowl commercial. This ad was a definite win because Kia connected its teasers with its Super Bowl debut as seamlessly as a sock monkey.

HE SAID: As a father of twin 3-year-old boys, I actually know all the characters in the whimsical, odd Kia Sorento ad. The ad played late in the game after many football fans were probably a few beers into the festivities which I’m sure made the more inebriated wonder out loud, “is that a sock monkey riding an electric bull and a robot toying doing the robot dance? Or is it time for me to put the beer down?”

The ad’s campaign line of “A Departure from the Unexpected” works well with the commercial’s concept while the music “How You Like Me Now” by The Heavy added an extra oomph in energy. It was definitely my second favorite ad from the automotive industry and the best music score for the night. It also marked the first time in over a year that I didn’t think about the Kia Hamster, which further added to the success of the ad. The Kia Soul hamsters are cute, but the brand needed to not be defined by them and this Super Bowl spot helped with that issue.

Cars.com “Timothy Richman”



SHE SAID: The “Timothy Richman” ad aired by Cars.com incorporated a more sublte vibe into the mix. The storyline was slightly far-fetched, and the ad didn’t believably link the character’s Doogie Howser intelligence to his inability to make a decision on a car. Cars.com wanted to assure everyone that, regardless of their IQ, they could feel comfortable buying a car simply by visiting their website and consulting a professional. In that sense, the commercial was a hit. I personally missed the “Timothy Richman is a life-long genius but can’t figure out how to buy a car” theme. Perhaps that is merely a reflection of my own aptitude.

HE SAID: A calming, storytelling advertisement that isn’t about being outrageous or insulting male behaviors should be a refreshing departure from most of what was shown Sunday evening. For the most part, it was a nicely executed exception to the silliness.

The ad follows all of the intelligent decisions and deep knowledge of a growing young man who finally is baffled by the process of buying a car for the first time. Fortunately, he is bright enough to turn to Cars.com for expert advice. It is a well-written commercial. The issue is that it just falls flat in the circus that is Super Bowl advertising; though, I do have to give kudos to the buy because the ad would probably be ignored on any other given day so at least it does drum up some buzz for a rather sedate brand.

I like it for its charm, but also fault it for its charm. Charm is simply lost when everyone else is going with absurd.

CarMax “Dramatic Chipmunk”



SHE SAID: The first “Dramatically Smart” ad run by CarMax was my favorite “funny” auto commercial. These ads made me want to watch the furry creatures, all with the same action line, perform again and again. My guests and I actually rewound the DVR so we could watch the prairie dog repeatedly nail his cue to glare intensely into the camera. Those beady eyes are ingrained in my memory. The commercial may not be the best representation of CarMax, but it was hilarious nonetheless.

HE SAID: When you have nothing smart to say attach your brand to a popular YouTube viral video that has over 18 million views. To me it is a dull ad that does nothing for the brand with its cheap desire to be interesting and funny of which it is neither. This was by far the worse ad from the automotive industry. Yawn.
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