Super Bowl is watched by millions every year, probably more for the ads than the football and this year’s Super Bowl was no different. It’s an expensive platform to promote from with a single airing, for a 30-second clip, priced at five million dollars.
No, wonder one gets to see great works of media genius as there is no dearth of funds to back the creativity of these top-of-the-line ad agencies, as was evident this year.
The Super Bowl is a big-game platform because $5 million is not the only big expense we are talking about here. Take into account the ad agency fee, production, and marketing costs and you can well imagine how big it can get.
Because of the magnitude and importance of the event, not forgetting the expenses involved in the ads, creative directors of ad agencies are under extreme pressure to come up with commercials that will not end with the Super Bowl but cling to the memories of viewers, way beyond – longevity of the ad is the name of the game because it makes economic sense.
This year saw “Bad Romance” by the ad agency, McCann New York, winning the Super Clio 2017 “Clio Creative Bowl” award at the Super Bowl. It is the promo for National Geographic’s upcoming scripted serial “Genius,” based on Albert Einstein’s life and times – Geoffrey Rush is playing Einstein, by the way.
The timing of the ad was impeccable – a masterstroke indeed. McCann New York managed to get in the ad as soon as Lady Gaga finished her Super Bowl 2017 half-time show.
It doesn’t end here. Although the ad does not show any actual footage from the upcoming serial itself, Einstein playing Lady Gaga’s 2009 hit “Bad Romance” on the violin, immediately after her show, was certainly a stroke of genius from the ad agency, McCann New York. The ad was not only well timed, the content was brilliantly well-thought of, as well, and that’s why they are the 2017 winners!
Budweiser’s promo “Born the Hard Way” by ad agency Anomaly, Honda’s “Yearbooks” by RPA Los Angeles, and Airbnb’s “#WeAccept” by TBWA New York were the other finalists or runners-up, if you like.
For the analytical minded what was notable this year was the political undertones some of the ads carried, whether intentional or not is anybody’s guess.
One such ad was Budweiser’s “Born the Hard Way” which seemed to convey a politically oriented message with its immigrant theme, probably because of the timing, as the promo shows one of the founders of the company coming to the US as an immigrant from Germany. It was like saying Budweiser beer would not have been possible were it not for immigrants. Had the ongoing immigration fiasco not been the focal political issue one may not have read too much into it.
The other factor that stood out this year at the Super Bowl ads was the focus of companies to promote the brand rather than a product. The Ford ad is a good example of this observation. The company has made a great attempt, and successfully at that, to portray that life is all about mobility and helping people who are stuck, actually and figuratively, to be mobile again with Electric Vehicles, Ride Sharing, Bike Sharing, Self-Driving Cars, and Apps.
Coming back to the winner, “I thought it was incredible because it was, in some ways what many Super Bowl ads aren’t—crafted and subtle, not loud or over the top,” said Beresford-Hill, BBDO executive creative director about Nat Geo’s “Bad Romance.”
“The context was amazing. It’s a really tough brief. If you did a straight trailer for this National Geographic show, it may have felt like just another TV promo, and get lost among the others. So to go with this crazy contextual win, where the last Lady Gaga song effectively continued into the promo, was genius placement. It pulled the audience right into Einstein, which I don’t think they would’ve been with a more traditional trailer.” He added.