Decoding 2016 Super Bowl commercials, 2nd quarter and half time


We dust off another 13 commercials
from Super Bowl 50.  Ads of the 2nd quarter and half time were mostly not inspirational, depressing, or bleak.  It’s a quarter for beer and automobiles.

Bud Light,  Bud Light Party
60 seconds for beer.
Themes: A-list stars, group think, incongruity, Freudian.
Messaging: Beer for the politically indifferent.
Commentary:  In an election year, Bud Light goes for a one-ad-suits-all strategy.  The ad is such a political-parody, it will only appeal to those who care more about choosing their next beer over their next presidential candidate.  At 60 seconds, it almost feels like the kingmakers at AB couldn’t agree what message to send and they chose all.  There may have been a kitchen sink in this one, but we missed it.
Did it work? No, weakest beer ad in memory.

Skittles, Portrait
30 seconds for junk food.
Themes: A-list stars, absurd special effects, nostalgia.
Messaging: Challenging you to try Skittles not jelly beans.
Commentary: Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler stars as a man who faced with his own image and mortality.  Though he cheats death, his victory is fleeting and will not forever be enjoyed.  We see both a challenge and a cartoon death.  Think, where else could you see a portrait made from candy “beans”.   The Jelly Belly Factory.
Did it work? Meh.

Paramount, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
30 seconds for movie promotion.
Themes: Absurd special effects.
Messaging: None.
Commentary: Straight up, nothing special commercial.
Did it work? No.

T-Mobile, Dropped the Balls
30 seconds for mobile phones.
Themes: A-list stars, incongruity.
Messaging: We welcome customers who make mistakes.
Commentary: Taking advantage of Steve Harvey’s infamous gaffe, T-Mobile reaches out to customers whoever felt down making an honest mistake.
Did it work? Yes, as it ranks #4 on

Hyundai, RyanVille
30 seconds for automobiles.
Themes: A-list stars.
Messaging: You will want to see Hyundai’s everywhere.
Commentary: After many years, Hyundai struggles to get into American’s psyche.  The automaker sure wants us expecting  to see a Hyundai everywhere.
Did it work? Slightly funny, its 20 seconds too long.  Still screams inferiority complex.

AstraZeneca, Unbranded Envy
60 seconds for medicine.
Themes: Incongruity.
Messaging: Reminding the many of you what you won’t be doing tomorrow.
Commentary: A rather unfunny ad that, though has a captured audience, is out-of-place in a room where guests are munching on salty snacks and bean dip.   But is it?  If we embrace the number of Americans on prescription pain medication, this is a blunt reminder the troubles you’ll be experiencing soon.
Did it work? No, a pretty unpopular ad.

Percil, Podium
17 seconds for laundry detergent.
Themes: Stupid simple.
Messaging: Detergent for those who rather be seeing the Academy Awards.
Commentary: The use of the podium is very interesting.  While some see James Bond in a tuxedo, I see the Academy Awards. Step up, grab your trophy.
Did it work? No.

Coke, Mini Marvel
60 seconds for junk food.
Themes: Absurd special effects.
Messaging: Any sized Coke for any sized consumer.
Commentary: Leveraging the trend of Marvel super-heroes, this very clever ad touts the mini, convenience-sized can for the big, the small, and especially those upset about their diet.  The big, ugly thing is our inner adult.  The clever, childish small thing is our kids.
Did it work? Yes.

WeatherTech, Resources
32 seconds for auto accessories.
Themes: Protectionism.
Messaging: It is a dangerous economy.
Commentary: Look past the simplicity of factory workers in their protective gear.  What we see are Americans in a dangerous environment.  In any moment or place is pending disaster.  Sort of like our economy.
Did it work? WeatherTech is becoming a traditional entry, but no.

Fox Films, Independence Day
30 seconds for movie promotion.
Themes: Destruction.
Messaging: You’re depressed after football.
Commentary: The trailer makes mention of a football game.  The movie will come out after this Super Bowl is over.  You’re going to feel down, depressed, nearly apocalyptic.  Go watch this.
Did it work? No.

Toyota, The Longest Chase
90 seconds for automobiles.
Themes: Incongruity.
Messaging: Driving a Prius forgives all other sins.
Commentary: Rather than re-defining the Prius driver as someone better-than-thou who believes they’re above everyone else on the streets, instead they double-down.  Here are bunch of sociopaths outwitting the dumb-witted law enforcement in their gasoline cars.  Rule of law takes a back seat to redistribution of wealth.   Their hypocrisy goes so far stealing from banks and choosing others they feel deserving of other people’s money by their social and environmental association.
Did it work? No, but one of the most well thought out ad.

Amazon, Party with Echo
62 seconds for online stores.
Themes: A-list stars, group think.
Messaging: We’re your invisible friend.
Commentary: Here’s a trick question.  How many guests were at the party?  The answer is four.  The others were not guests but Echo’s invisible spirits!  Echo follows your voice just like the “guests”.  It will take a diverse range of questions and tasks.
Did it work? A humorous yes, but I’m not buying an Echo just yet.

Chrysler, Jeep Portraits
60 seconds for automobiles.
Themes: Nostalgia.
Messaging: We’re dying.
Commentary: There is nothing in the ad about the consumer’s future.  It’s all about the Jeep retrofitted into history.  It sounded more like an eulogy than a car ad.
Did it work? No.

Jump to 1st quarter, 2nd quarter and half time, 3rd quarter, 4th quarter.

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