Decoding 2016 Super Bowl commercials, 3rd quarter

Super Bowl 50 3rd quarter commercial analysis,
is finally published.  It’s a collection of very disappointing, low-risk ads  and doesn’t reach the bar set in prior years.  Most of these are unworthy of a second viewing.

Doritos, Dogs
30 seconds for junk food.
Themes: Animals.
Messaging: Ignore authority, shop alone, buy Doritos.
Commentary: Authority figure denies Doritos fans their snack food.  Wait, plot, go shop alone and buy it when no one notices.  Prudent strategy in today’s guilt-ridden, politically-correct diet.
Did it work? No.

BMW Mini, Defy Labels
32 seconds for automobiles.
Themes: A-list actor, social commentary (guilt).
Messaging: Resist buyer’s remorse.
Commentary: When the ad’s theme is “This car doesn’t care what you call it,” is a loud signal that the BMW corporate office does.  They’re either talking to owners of the mini with buyer’s remorse or they finished an expensive group study what’s holding back sales.  The top of the list made it into the commercial.
Did it work? No.

TurboTax, Never a Sell Out
32 seconds for tax prep.
Themes: A-list actor, incongruity.
Messaging: TurboTax is your only choice.
Commentary: Brand preservation is the strategy.  Think tax filing, think TurboTax.  The price is right too.
Did it work? While it’s not an entertaining commercial, its an effective one.

Pokemon, Train On Pokemon
32 seconds for a game franchise.
Themes: Children.
Messaging: Pokemon is a sport.
Commentary: While some ads are more subtle than others, most all of them entice you to buy specific goods or services to preserve and promote the brand.  Pokemon is unique as it does not.  Pokemon is a card game, video game, and video series.  Celebrating 20 years, they can claim a whole generation under their influence equating physical and mental sports with Pokemon.
Did it work? Too much hubris, no.

Valeant, Xifaxan
62 seconds for medicine.
Themes: Absurd special effects.
Messaging: IBS is a lonely condition.
Commentary: Not the first ad about bowel movements.  Our mascot Mr. Intestine, is in cartoon agony.  He struggles but otherwise lives unnoticed and ignored.  When he is “cured”, slowly he is re-integrated into society and finally recognized.  Having exited the stadium unseen, notice how no one returns his wave at first.  One hand offers a high five.  He is stopped at security checkpoint before sitting down and getting the Jumbotron on him.
Did it work? No, this is a not ad for Super Bowl parties.

LG, Man from the Future
60 seconds for televisions.
Themes: A-list actor.
Messaging: Finance our new technology, or the others win.
Commentary: With a sense of danger, the ad intrigues you with the magic of OLED technology.  But it is still very expensive.  The ad almost implies a warning.  If no one pays for the expensive technology today, it may not be around in the future.  Spoiler!  Liam Neeson speaks to his younger self. 
Did it work? Great technology comes with a great price.  No.

Fox Films, X-Men: Apocalypse
30 seconds for movie promotion.
Themes: Destruction.
Messaging: End of the saga, end of the football season.
Commentary: Not applying the trailer was made for the Super Bowl, yet it does share a theme.  It is the end of the season and the likely end of the X-Files saga before a reboot.
Did it work? I will see it.

Intuit, Death Wish Coffee
32 seconds for coffee and accounting software.
Themes: Incongruity.
Messaging: Start your company with Intuit.
Commentary: The ad asks you to swallow your fears and trust Intuit.  The Viking opening represents the rocky start of a start-up company.  You have a destination, some sort of plan, and fellow workers that will help get you there.  Drinking coffee is how you start your day.   Intuit is how you start your company.
Did it work? Meh.

Butter Finger, Bull Rider
32 seconds for junk food.
Themes: Absurd special effects, incongruity.
Messaging: Eating a Butter Finger isn’t crazy.
Commentary: Many Super Bowl ads employ reverse psychology and makes more sense when they’re communicating the opposite.  Another junk food ad mocking authority, in this case the mother, we have an insane man jumping out of a plane riding a bull.  Eating the snack is no experience like this.   That’s the point.
Did it work? Yes, strangely.

FitBit, Dualities
30 seconds for smart watches.
Themes: Incongruity.
Messaging: A FitBit for everyday life.
Commentary: One the one hand, FitBit is praising its use when you’re not running.  It’s suitable for other physical activity.  But that’s low hanging fruit.  What is touted, is how useful it is the other 90% of your waking life.
Did it work? I’m not a fan of it., Super Po
32 seconds for web site building.
Themes: A-list.
Messaging: Bowls!
Commentary: On the surface, its a clever tie in between an obscure web building site not-named-GoDaddy and Kung Fu Panda.  The ad has a thing for bowls.  Something seen in a kitchen, the ad works to make just as common.
Did it work? For Kung Fu Panda, yes.  For Wix, well this website is brought to you by GoDaddy.

Heinz, Wiener Stampede
32 seconds for condiments.
Themes: Animals, nostalgia.
Messaging: Humanity is defined by eating processed meat with mustard and ketchup.
Commentary: The last frame is everything you need to know about the ad.  There is a blurred line between humanity and condiments.  Each sentient being is holding a dog, another hybrid between animal and processed meat.  The ad’s purpose is brand preservation continuing the practice of adding your favorite mustard and ketchup to one of America’s favorite food.
Did it work? Ranking #3, it doesn’t do a thing for me.

Honda, A New Trust To Love
62 seconds for automobiles.
Themes: Animals, nostalgia.
Messaging: Be the sheep.
Commentary: “Sheeple”.   Look up the meaning yourself.  You are the sheep.
Did it work? Ranking #5, it doesn’t do a thing for me.

Budweiser, Not Backing Down
30 seconds for beer.
Themes: Incongruity.
Messaging: It’s not for everyone, meaning it is for everyone.
Commentary: Beer companies don’t stay culturally relevant conceding some of us won’t drink it.   They’re not agreeing to terms with craft beers, wine, or whiskey.  Nothing has changed.  The necessity for mass-production beer continues.  After all, the commercial ends with “This Bud’s for You”.
Did it work? No.   The inspirational Clydesdales were wasted in a rather bleak ad.

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

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