Super Bowl Ads

The Lempert Report
February 13, 2023

So let's talk about the Super Bowl. This morning I must have gotten at least 25 email pitches from different groups talking about the Super Bowl ads, not the Super Bowl itself. We know how that played out, but you know, the Super Bowl ads. Let's give it some context. Let's rate some of the ads. A 30 second ad spot, if you haven't heard by now, costs up to 7 million for 30 seconds. Just to give you a comparison, in 1993, the rate for a 30 second ad was $850,000. And what's interesting to me is there's another stat that came out that said, in 1993, if you bought a Super Bowl ad for every dollar you spent, you would reach 52 people. In 2022 last year, it only reached 15 people, even though the audience keeps on growing.  

One of the go-to columnists that I have on my shortlist is Joe Mandese from Media Post. Joe is Great, always talks about advertising. And in his, column that came out probably about two hours ago, two and a half hours ago, he pointed out that he had an idea that advertisers had to qualify for the right to appear in the Super Bowl, much the same way that football teams do. He said that without that, what we have are the worst commercials, usually mundane, prosaic, and trite, sometimes god awful. He goes back to Apple's 1984 spot and he suggested all Super Bowl commercials should at least strive to open our imaginations, tickle our fancy, delight in the mind and titillate the tube. Or they frankly shouldn't be in there. And he gives some examples. Before we get into it, I thought I watched the entire array of Super Bowl commercials. I really wasn't that interested in the game, as most people know, I could care less about sports. But this is a commercial that I didn't see, and I don't know if you saw it, but for Hellmann's mayonnaise, they made a joke out of cannibalism by having Pete Davidson use Hellmann's mayonnaise to make a Brie Larson and John Ham sandwich that would taste better with Hellmann's mayonnaise. Did you see that commercial? 

Sally: I did not. I have heard about that commercial though. 

Phil: So weird. So let's talk about the commercials that we did see that we did like some that are hits, some that are misses. And you know, USA today has an ad meter, and the number one in their 35th ad meter competition this year was called Forever, and it was for dog food. You have dogs, you love dogs. I don't know if you buy the farmer's dog food, but that rated number one. What did you think of that commercial? 

Sally: I thought this commercial was very smart. It appealed to dog lovers, which we know that we are a dog loving country. We've seen the pet market grow and grow every year. This company is a direct to consumer dog food company, which I also thought was very interesting. That's something we talked about last week on the Lempert Report. And, I just think it really appealed to people's emotions and they were able to connect to it. I have to admit, I did get a little weepy watching it. 

Phil: That's okay. Number two was my favorite Coffee. Dunkin Donuts using Ben Affleck. And what they did, if you didn't see the commercial, Ben Affleck, who is known to love Dunkin Donuts as well, worked at a Dunkin Donut's drive-through, and the commercial was him struggling to find the bagel button on the store's ordering system, and he interacted with consumers. Some of 'em recognized him, wanted a selfie with him. And probably, you know, the payout of the commercial was that his wife, Jennifer Lopez, you know, went through the drive through and she was surprised to find him working there and actually said, where's the note. That whether or not this is what he refers to when he says he has to work all day. So, you know, especially coming after the Grammy Awards where there was a lot of social media flack that Ben Affleck looked really bored, and he did, you know, does this save Ben Affleck?

Sally: I don't know. But it was very, very timely. They timed that perfectly. I don't know if this commercial was made before the Grammys. I don't know how they could pull it together that quickly, but it could not have been timed more perfectly with him being in the news so much over the Grammys. 

Phil: And the last commercial, cuz we're getting short on time, that I thought was really interesting and really well done, although a little weird, was Breaking Bad rendition of popcorners in the New Mexico Desert. It was like a drug deal, using popcorn corners instead of, you know, what Breaking Bad was known for. But I think it was really well done. The one that was probably the most controversial was M&M's. In the report that came out of System One this morning, which rates advertising from consumers. They have a star rating from one to 5.9 stars, with actual consumers. The number one rated was M&M's, where they used Maya Rudolph. We've seen for weeks Maya Rudolph taking over being the spokesperson for M&M's. I thought her commercial, the first one in the Super Bowl was really kind of weird and lame where she's talking about plain flavored M&M's, her pictures on the M&M, she's changing the name of M&M's. 

Phil: And then finally, you know, later on in the Super Bowl we see the commercial that brings back, you know, the famous M&M folks as spokesperson or the M&M's themselves. I thought that that was really great, but what really this points out is how political we have gotten that when the M&M's changed from an M&M wearing high heels into sneakers, we saw a lot of newscasters going ballistic over that and M&M wins. I think that this campaign probably took a little long to deliver the punchline over the past few weeks. But I think that it worked and I think that M&M's had the last laugh on a lot of these pundits who were making fun of M&M's and I think that it'll increase sales. What do you think? 

Sally: I really liked the commercial too. I thought it was a little bit confusing and like you said, you know, you had to get to the payoff to the second ad to really understand it. But I thought it was a great response to the response of changing the M&M's, the look of the M&M's. But I have to say, Phil, my favorite commercial was the Doritos commercial, and I just love Jack Harlow turning down a collaboration with Missy Elliot to go and focus on playing the triangle only. And then the greatest part was, you know, at the end he's at an award ceremony and triangle player of the year goes to Elton John. 

Phil: Exactly.

Sally: I loved that one. 

Phil: Yeah, I agree totally.