REINEKE FORD   ||   NEWS UPDATES

Light humor, emotional ads rule Super Bowl

Comment: Off

This undated still provided by Wonderful Pistachios shows a frame grab from the company’s 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII Ad. Advertisers that have traditionally focused on skimpily clad models and lowest-common denominator humor are promising more sedate ads in 2014. The changes come as advertisers seek to get the most out of the estimated $4 million that ads cost during Super Bowl XLVIII. (AP Photo/Wonderful Pistachios)

This undated still provided by Wonderful Pistachios shows a frame grab from the company’s 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII Ad. Advertisers that have traditionally focused on skimpily clad models and lowest-common denominator humor are promising more sedate ads in 2014. The changes come as advertisers seek to get the most out of the estimated $4 million that ads cost during Super Bowl XLVIII. (AP Photo/Wonderful Pistachios)

This undated frame grab provided by Kia shows the company’s 2014 Super Bowl commercial. The third-quarter ad to introduce its K900 luxury sedan, features Laurence Fishburne reprising his “Matrix†role as Morpheus and displays some surprising operatic skills.. (AP Photo/Kia)

This undated frame grab provided by Beats shows the company’s 2014 Super Bowl commercial. Beats by Dre, the popular headphones and audio equipment producer has enlisted Ellen DeGeneres to star in its debut Super Bowl ad running in the third quarter that promotes Beats Music. (AP Photo/Beats)

This undated frame grab provided by Butterfinger’s shows the company’s 2014 Super Bowl Ad entitled, “Chocolate†and “Peanut Butter.” The actual ad in the third quarter will have a related theme and Butterfinger is expected to introduce its Peanut Butter Cups with some tongue-in-cheek double entendres. (AP Photo/Butterfinger’s

This undated frame grab provided by Anheuser-Busch shows the company’s 2014 Super Bowl commercial entitled“Puppy Loveâ€. The ad will run in the fourth quarter of the game. (AP Photo/Anheuser-Busch)

Buy AP Photo Reprints

NEW YORK (AP) — Advertisers played it safe in Super Bowl ads this year.

There were no crude jokes. Sexual innuendo was kept to a minimum. And uncomfortable story lines were all but missing. And in their place, much more sedate ads.

From the light humor of RadioShack poking fun at its image with 80s icons like Teen Wolf and the California raisins to a Coca-Cola ad showcasing diversity by singing “America the Beautiful” in different languages, it was a softer night of advertising.

With a 30-second spot costing around $4 million and more than 108 million viewers expected to tune in to the championship game, it’s was crucial for advertisers to make their investment count. The shocking ads in years past have not always been well received (Think: GoDaddy.com’s ad that features a long, up-close kiss came in at the bottom of the most popular ads.) So this year, advertisers out of their way to be more family friendly themes: socially conscious statements, patriotic messages and light humor.

“Advertisers are getting attention but they’re not trying to go over the top,” said David Berkowitz, chief marketing officer for digital ad agency MRY. “A lot of brands were going with the safety from the start.”

The safer ads had a mixed reaction among viewers. Keith Harris, who was watching the Super Bowl with friends and family in Raleigh, N.C., said he appreciated the safer ads. “The ads are less funny, but it’s easier to watch the Super Bowl with your family,” he said.

But Paul Capelli, who lives in West Chester, Pa., found most ads to be dull: “The best spots were like a Payton Manning-to-Wes Welker pass play — they were there, but too few and those that connected left you wanting something a bit more spectacular.”

CONNECTING WITH A CAUSE

Many advertisers played it safe by promoting a cause or focusing on sentimental issues.

Chevrolet’s ad showed a couple driving through the desert in remembrance of World Cancer Day. Bank of America turned its ad into a virtual video for singing group U2′s new single “Invisible” to raise money for an AIDS charity. The song will be a free download on iTunes for 24 hours following the game and Bank of America will donate $1 each time it is downloaded to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS.

Meanwhile, a Microsoft ad focused on how its technology helps people in different ways. The ad is narrated by Steve Gleason, a former prof football player who is living with ALS. He uses a Surface Pro running Tobii’s eye gazer technology to speak. And an Anheuser-Busch “Hero’s Welcome” ad was an ode to U.S. soldiers. The spot showed how Anheuser-Busch helped prepare big celebration that included a parade with Clydesdales as a surprise for a soldier returning from Afghanistan.

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

Many advertisers took the safe route by playing up their Americana roots.

Coca-Cola showcased America’s diversity with a spot that showed scenes of natural beauty and families of different diversities to the tune of “America the Beautiful” being sung in different languages.

Chrysler debuted a two-minute ad starring Bob Dylan, who discusses the virtues of having cars built in Detroit, the theme that it has stuck with in previous ads with Eminem and Clint Eastwood. “Let Germany brew your beer. Let Asia assemble your phone. We will build your car,” Dylan says in the ad.

Barbara Lippert, ad critic and Mediapost.com, said the ads were an attempt by companies to connect with viewers on a more personal level. “We want to be able to feel through all these screens and through all the hype there’s a human element and in the end were all human,” said Barbara Lippert, ad critic and Mediapost.com.

Not everyone was a fan. “I didn’t like it very much,” said Crystal Booker, who lives in Rock Hill, S.C., about the Chrysler ad, in particular. “It was nostalgic but nothing that I hadn’t seen before.”

LIGHT HUMOR

Jokes were also a lot tamer this year in Super Bowl ads. “A few years ago we had a lot of physical slapstick, this year there’s a lot less of that: less outright use of seniors and

Comments

comments

About the Author