Dave Drove A Ford
“Dave drove a Ford.”
That’s all the ash-colored gentleman who survived the GM “Apocalypse” in last night’s SuperBowl advertising lineup had to say. And then Ford pounced, trying to convince GM to pull the ad from SuperBowl rotation, arguing it was misleading.
Finally, some SuperBowl advertising drama!
As promised, I was on a JetBlue plane flying back to Texas from California last night. The pilot joked before takeoff that he would get us up and off the ground as soon as possible, so we could get down to the business of watching the game, and then fate played a cruel joke as it took several longgg minutes for the DirecTV satellite to kick back in so we could join Al and Chris.
So, I missed a number of the early SuperBowl commercials, but being the faithful marketing pundit that I am, I went back and watched them all this morning.
I’ll give the overall year in SuperBowl advertising a “B-.” Better than past years, but still plenty of upside available based on the inventory I watched.
Without any question, the most impactful spot of the evening was the “Imported from Detroit” spot starring Clint Eastwood.
He had my attention from the moment I heard it was him, and the message was powerful, couldn’t have been in better context, and was the kind of economic and America cheerleading ad we could stand more of these days.
What was it trying to sell? Cars? American exceptionalism? Detroit? All of the above? Yes.
Beyond that, I try to think of those moments that were not only funny or interesting, but stuck with me and pulled their brand along with it. Remember, advertising’s supposed to sell!
So, here we go…
The moment the baby in the infirmary in the E-Trade ad responded, “Speed dating.”
Jerry Seinfeld trying to buy some poor schmuck’s Acura, a spot which also saw the return of the “Soup Nazi.”
The cute little rescue dog ad rescuing people from thirst by getting them a Bud Light, titled “Herewego.”
The nice, big dog from Doritos who blackmails its owner with a bag of chips so as not to spill the beans about the missing cat.
The speed racing bulldog Mr. Quigly, who outpaced all the greyhounds in a commercial for Sketchers (although I don’t remember the specific shoe!)
And then there was that really subtle, yet memorable, message from Telaflora.com about Valentine’s Day: “Give and you shall receive.”
But there’s little doubt, the night belonged to the automakers.
11 out of the 36 spots I counted were from car purveyors, not including the “Imported from Detroit” spot starring Eastwood.
Not all of them were funny, and certainly not every single one of them was memorable, but they were there, en masse, in the aggregate as a seemingly strong industry spending big money to pitch their latest wares.
That seemed to be a message in and of itself, a resurgent car market as leading indicator for an even more resurgent economy.
And as Clint Eastwood reminded us all, it’s only halftime in America.