Last year Chrysler ran one of the top spots on the Super Bowl with a gritty and distinctive ad featuring Eminem.
This year, Chrysler followed the same approach, albeit with a different message.
Chrysler was once again one of the biggest surprises. First, the ad ran during halftime, which is unusual since most national ads run during the game itself. The timing, of course, was critical to the overall message. Second, Chrysler didn’t release any information in advance, a sharp departure from most advertisers. It was an eagerly anticipated spot in the advertising world. Third, the ad delivered an unexpected message: it’s halftime in America and we’re going to rebound through hard work and determination.
The ad worked in many ways. It got attention, was distinctive and had strong amplification.
So why did the Kellogg panel give it a B?
The main issue is positioning. The spot is about American industry, or perhaps American automakers. It isn’t specifically about Chrysler. Indeed, the company watered down the whole spot by featuring all their brands at the end of the spot.
Overall, a solid spot, but Chrysler missed an opportunity to keep building the Chrysler brand.
GM’s Chevrolet was perhaps the premier advertiser of the first half. The brand ran three spots: an ad for its Silverado truck; a second spot for its new small car, the Sonic; and a final ad for its sports car, the Camaro.
Chevy spared no expense on these ads. The Silverado spot, set at the end of the world, appeared to be a big budget extravaganza that delivered a benefit, though perhaps not in a credible fashion. The Sonic ad was about as expensive and stunning an ad as you will ever see, featuring a sky-diving car. Perhaps it will be embraced by the Navy SEALs. And the Camaro spot was simple. It was unique because it was created through crowd-sourcing.
Overall this collection of ads worked well. They were distinctive, got awareness and had strong branding.
The Kellogg panel scored the Camaro ad below the other two, which left Chevrolet with a B.
The ads highlight Chevrolet’s branding challenge: what precisely is a Chevy? Is it a brand of sports cars, tough trucks or light, durable fun cars?
Fiat has a clear positioning: It is a sexy Italian car, one that turns heads. And Fiat’s Super Bowl ad brought this positioning to life with a visual, striking ad featuring (surprise!) a sexy Italian model.
The spot worked well overall but perhaps featured a bit too much of the sexy model. One wonders if we shouldn’t’ have seen more of the car.
You have to salute E*TRADE for consistency; the brand uses the talking baby with incredible consistency. And it continues to work.
This year’s spot was a bit hard to follow, but it doesn’t really matter for a brand with established Super Bowl equity: just seeing the baby ensures that people get the point. Of course, one does wonder when fans will tire of the campaign.
Placement matters and didn’t help E*TRADE this year; the spot ran right after a Doritos ad also featuring a cute baby.
The Kellogg student panel put Kia in the top group, and we think that was probably on the kind side. The spot was distinctive; it was a bold, visually stunning extravaganza communicating the point that the Kia is the car of your dreams.
But is the basic premise believable?
Kia appears to have a fundamental positioning problem. Why should someone buy a Kia? It seems like a decent, cheap car. But saying it is the car of your dreams is quite different indeed. To make this claim moving forward Kia needs a huge repositioning.
This year CareerBuilder brought back the chimps again, running another in the series of CareerBuilder’s entertaining commercials featuring chimps. The concept worked originally and it still works. Using the chimps is distinctive and ensures people know it is a spot for CareerBuilder: branding is very strong.
CareerBuilder received a lot of criticisms for using chimps due to concern about how they are treated. Stuart Elliot of The New York Times even called them nitwits. We wouldn’t be surprised if CareerBuilder takes time to reevaluate the use of the chimps as they think about next year’s Super Bowl.
Last year, Motorola ran a spot attacking Apple. This year, Samsung took a shot, running an ad that delivered a solid message: everyone loves Apple but the products aren’t as good as Samsung.
Samsung made the point in an effective fashion but I don’t think anyone really cares. At the moment, people will happily buy an inferior product as long as it is from Apple.