Archive for Monday, February 2, 2009

Super steals: KU journalism professors name winners, losers among Sunday night’s lineup of commercials

An ad for Bridgestone featuring the Potato Heads is one of several Super Bowl commercials that impressed the judges.

An ad for Bridgestone featuring the Potato Heads is one of several Super Bowl commercials that impressed the judges.

February 2, 2009, 10:18 a.m. Updated February 2, 2009, 10:18 a.m.

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Careerbuilder.com

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Budweiser

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The Steelers won the game. That’s old news.

But the debate on the winners and losers when it comes to Super Bowl commercials has just begun.

We asked journalism faculty and students at Kansas University for their take on the ads.

Our cast of characters includes Bob Basow, David Guth, Tien Lee, Chuck Marsh and Max Utsler, all associate professors in the KU School of Journalism; and Garrett Kelly, a student studying advertising.

In general, our panelists say the game was better than the commercials — a change from past years. Advertisers, they say, were less willing to take risks that their brand might be misidentified or that their message might raise red flags.

Greatest hits

Basow: Pepsi’s “Forever Young,” featuring Bob Dylan and will.I.am dramatized that “the times they are a changin’.” What a great tagline: “Every generation refreshes the world.” Cool!

YouTube

"Forever Young" Pepsi commercial

Guth: The beverage ads — Anheuser-Busch, Coca Cola and, to a lesser degree Pepsi — did a good job of either reminding consumers of established products or introducing them to newer products.

YouTube

Bud Light Super Bowl commercial

Posted to YouTube by superbowel.

Kelly: The Etrade babies were memorable, and they easily identified the company.

YouTube

E-Trade Super Bowl commercial

Posted to YouTube by pittfan11023.

Lee: “Coca-Cola Picnic” — It conveys a very happy feeling, which is an effective way to sell this product.

YouTube

"Coca-Cola Picnic" Super Bowl commercial

Marsh: The Priceline spot in which William Shatner feeds lines to a husband persuading his wife that they can afford a vacation. Moderate creativity, moderate humor — but a direct hit on doing business in failing economy. Not the most creative, but for me, it was the most effective.

YouTube

Priceline.com's "Negotiator" Super Bowl commercial

Utsler: The Clydesdale romance with Daisy — who can bet against Budweiser on Super Bowl Sunday?

Greatest misses

Basow: Dairy Queen’s, in which a “daddy shrimp” eats a basket of popcorn shrimp while mom asks, “Where are the kids?” Poor connection with a restaurant better known for Blizzards.

Guth: The GoDaddy.com ads were juvenile. Who is the target audience — immature socially awkward sexually repressed geeks?

YouTube

GoDaddy.com Super Bowl commercial

Kelly: The 3D commercials initiated too much hype with very little payoff.

YouTube

Super Bowl 3D commercials

Lee: Too many bad ones this year — violence, bad taste, no creativity, etc. GoDaddy.com ads are the worst.

Marsh: The Castrol Motor Oil/Grease Monkey spot. Anyone who sees chimps in a Super Bowl commercial automatically thinks of CareerBuilder.com. And why quote John Lennon song lyrics? And why kiss a chimp? Derivative, unfocused and weird.

YouTube

Castrol Motor Oil Super Bowl commercial

Utsler: Audi. If you're going to make a pop culture reference, it had better be something ALL of your audience is familiar with. A nod to Tina Fey, SNL, Simon Cowell, American Idol or heaven forbid, Paris Hilton might work. But Jason Statham and “Transporter”?

YouTube

Audi Super Bowl commercial

Personal favorite

Basow: You can count on Bud Light to inject humor — this time by ejecting an employee out a window for suggesting that Bud Light be eliminated from brainstorming meetings.

YouTube

Bud Light Super Bowl commercial: Office meeting

Guth: Coke Zero's takeoff of one of the favorite Super Bowl ads of all time, the Mean Joe Green ad. You know a corporation is secure when it is willing to spoof itself. Honorable mention to the Monster.com ad with the moose — a lot of people can relate to that ad.

YouTube

Coke Zero Super Bowl commercial

Kelly: The Macgruber/Pepsuber Pepsi commercial continues to make me laugh.

YouTube

Pepsi Pepsuder Super Bowl commercial

Lee: Pedigree adoption drive (crazy pets). It is a perfect example of the “comparison/contrast” principle of persuasion.

YouTube

Pedigree Super Bowl commercial

Marsh: The Bridgestone Potato Heads commercial. However, I don't think the Potato Heads can overcome that product's troubled history.

YouTube

Bridgestone Super Bowl commercial

Utsler: Pedigree — a dog food ad with no dogs. What? But they delivered a terrific message on strategy for these tough economic times.

Effect of the economy

Basow: Anheuser-Busch went “back to basics” with its longest and strongest brand icon — not just one Clydesdale ad but three. Unwilling to pay for category exclusivity, some unlikely rivals shared a table: Sprint and Verizon, Coke and Pepsi.

YouTube

Budweiser Clydesdale Super Bowl commercial: Chasing stick

Guth: Because advertisers were less willing to take risks, their ads were vanilla for the most part. Considering the cost of Super Bowl ads, who wants to explain a lousy ad to anxious shareholders?

Kelly: A good portion of the commercials focused on job searching and the cash for gold seemed out of place next to the automotive advertisements.

Lee: I don't remember seeing ads for Ford, GM or Chrysler, which proves that they are really in trouble.

Marsh: I thought the poor economy led to the most effective ad: the Shatner/Priceline/we-can-afford-a-vacation spot.

Utsler: I think many advertisers showed their awareness of the current state of affairs. The overall tone of the commercials was more whimsical than slapstick. Thank heaven, no passing gas jokes.

Reader poll
Which Super Bowl ad is your favorite?

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Comments

Sigmund 6 years, 5 months ago

"We asked journalism faculty and students at Kansas University for their take on the ads." Since when do journalist have marketing expertize? Isn't this within the purview of the Business School? Although I do have to admit journalist ran a great 6 month marketing campaign to get President Obama elected.

trombeck 6 years, 5 months ago

Sigmund — The strategic communications track at the KU School of Journalism focuses on advertising, public relations, etc. Just FYI. These faculty members all teach in that track.Terry RombeckFeatures/special sections editor

Jaminrawk 6 years, 5 months ago

I had both Guth and Marsh when I went to the J-School. I read this article like they were dissecting one of my old papers. Good times ...Great teachers.

Sigmund 6 years, 5 months ago

Oh I see, I guess times have changed. News and Journalism used to be about reporting facts clearly and objectively presenting both sides of the story. Apparently now Journalism is about advertising, public relations, and the personal opinion of journalist is considered a story. LJW's coverage of issues by "journalist" now makes much more sense. I remember a time when journalist covering the opinions of what other journalist thought was a defacto indicator of a lousy journalism.

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

Sigmund, you watch FoxNews. Don't tell me you aren't used to hearing "journalists" give their opinions about the news. However, I agree that it is pretty amazing that some people getting degrees in KU's School of Journalism today are actually getting degrees in marketing. Sad. And yes, if McCain had more of the marketing/journalists working for him, perhaps he could have lost the election by a closer margin.

MyName 6 years, 5 months ago

Sigmund:>Oh I see, I guess times have changed. News and Journalism used to be about reporting facts clearly and objectively presenting both sides of the story. Apparently now Journalism is about advertising, public relations, and the personal opinion of journalist is considered a story.Oh I see, and how exactly would LJW present a fair and objective piece about fluffy Super Bowl commercials? Should they have interviewed Pepsi and Coke marketing people about their ads and weighed their responses against each other? I know, maybe interview different ad companies and see what they think about the ads they put up on TV? Or maybe they should wait six weeks down the road and see which companies that advertised during the super bowl saw an uptick in sales. I'm sure this story is so important that they need to spend two months getting all the data.This is a puff piece and you need to get some perspective before you break out these silly complaints.

Sigmund 6 years, 5 months ago

beatrice (Anonymous) says… "Sigmund, you watch FoxNews. Don't tell me you aren't used to hearing “journalists” give their opinions about the news."Beatrice you would be surprised how little TV I watch including Fox News. In fact where I work the TV is tuned to CNN and I see far more of it than anything. But if you do watch Fox and find journalist interviewing other journalist about stories they aren't covering (asking the Whitehouse correspondent his or her opinion on Superbowl commercials for instance as opposed to asking about the Presidents schedule and activities for the day) then I would encourage you to watch less no matter what the channel.MyName (Anonymous) says… "Oh I see, and how exactly would LJW present a fair and objective piece about fluffy Super Bowl commercials? Should they have interviewed Pepsi and Coke marketing people about their ads and weighed their responses against each other? I know, maybe interview different ad companies and see what they think about the ads they put up on TV?"No you don't as you seem to have missed my point completely. I didn't claim the story wasn't "objective" and it isn't a matter of "fair and balanced" it is a matter of competency and expertize. Why would a journalist interview journalism faculty and students about commercials any more than about the football game itself? Surely if journalism faculty are experts about commercials then are they experts in football as well? in fact, in the future journalist will just interview each other about what they think of everything and that will be news.If the LJW wanted to do a puff piece on commercials with some KU faculty they might interview someone in the Business of School, perhaps even Marketing or Advertising, as it is possible their opinion is more informed on the subject and more worthwhile than journalism faculty and students. Likewise if the LJW wants to a story about a football game they might interview someone in the Athletic Department as they may have a better insight than journalism faculty and students.The only subject I would interview journalism faculty and students about would be journalism. In particular I would ask the journalism faculty and students if they agree would agree with Terry Rombeck's assertion that "Journalism" now includes "advertising and public relations." If it does it surely explains the sorry state of journalism in America.

Jaminrawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Sigmund, lighten up. I went to this school. There are two sides: "News and Info" and "Strategic Communications" (which was advertising, marketing and public relations). The reason advertising is in the journalism school is because different medias are used to deliver messages.Chill out, it's a story about superbowl ads. These professors are the perfect people to ask about superbowl commercials because their classes revolve around branding, message development and campaign execution.

Jaminrawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Do some research before you write a 1000 word lecture on who the LJ World needs to interview. Oh, and as I learned in the JOURNALISM SCHOOL that I went to for ADVERTISING, research is the key component to any campaign, or argument in your case. You get an "F".

Sigmund 6 years, 5 months ago

Jaminrawk (Anonymous) says… "Do some research before you write a 1000 word lecture on who the LJ World needs to interview. Oh, and as I learned in the journalism school that I went to for advertising, research is the key component to any campaign, or argument in your case. You get an “F”."I relied upon the facts contained within the story for my comments and I do not hold myself out as a journalist. Blaming me for a lack of information in the original story and then trying to hold my comments and criticism of that story to the same standards as a paid journalist is a great piece of spin that would make any advertising and public relations firm proud. Therefore, I will give you then get an "A+" in "journalsm."

Jaminrawk 6 years, 5 months ago

"The only subject I would interview journalism faculty and students about would be journalism. In particular I would ask the journalism faculty and students if they agree would agree with Terry Rombeck's assertion that “Journalism” now includes “advertising and public relations.” If it does it surely explains the sorry state of journalism in America."The school is called "The William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communcations". My point is, if you are going to exhaust your time complaining about such a nothing story to further some vendetta against the current state of journalism in America, you could do a little fact checking before you waste your time.

Sigmund 6 years, 5 months ago

Jaminrawk (Anonymous) says… The school is called “The William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communcations”.It could be called the "Joseph Goebbels School of Journalism, Public Enlightenment, and Mass Propaganda" and it wouldn't make a difference here, but thanks for the trivia.Jaminrawk (Anonymous) says… "My point is, if you are going to exhaust your time complaining about such a nothing story to further some vendetta against the current state of journalism in America, you could do a little fact checking before you waste your time."Thanks for your advice on time management, I will give it all the consideration it is due. As for your suggestion that I double check the facts of stories published in the LJW, it is good one.

Mixolydian 6 years, 5 months ago

Alright...back to the actual topic at hand:E-trade babies. Funniest commercial on Sunday, hands down.

Sigmund 6 years, 5 months ago

Mixolydian (Anonymous) says… "Alright…back to the actual topic at hand: E-trade babies. Funniest commercial on Sunday, hands down."Agreed, but most bang for the buck was the "Miller High Life One Second Superbowl Commercial."http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYiGpVGTU2UIt was better if you saw the setup prior to Super Sunday rant on a $100,000 a second.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jabk8BR0M64

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Super Bowl Ads Don't Measure Up by femail 6 years, 5 months ago

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