Single-Minded Proposition’s Top 5 and Bottom 5 Super Bowl Ads for 2014

SuperBowl 2014

So this is the second year I’m ranking the top 5 and bottom 5 Super Bowl ads. Last year Tide “Miracle Stain” took the top spot. Click here to see the complete list from 2013.

For 2014, the “Big Game” was a big flop. It seemed like Denver didn’t even show up. But, even in a blow out, the show must go on. Advertisers that bet on 2nd half spots were probably disappointed in the viewership. Nevertheless, the game provided some memorable advertising.

Interestingly, some of the best “Super Bow ads” weren’t even in the Super Bowl. Esurance and Newcastle found creative ways to highjack the big game without spending big money. They would both be in my top 5, but they weren’t “technically” in the Super Bowl. So, I put them in the “honorable mention” category.

Without futher adu, here are my picks for the top 5 and bottom 5 ads in the 2014 Super Bowl.

Top 5

1. Cheerios

Cheerios made news last year when they featured an interracial family in their ad. This year they doubled down and brought the family back for more. The result is a low-key, funny and near perfect ad that broke through the typical Super Bowl clutter. The product was front and center in the entire spot maximizing the brand impact (a good lesson for the automotive advertisers). The little girl in the spot is a scene stealer.  Well done General Mills and Saatchi & Saatchi.

2. Chrysler

Chrysler has gotten really good at Super Bowl ads since they relaunched the brand with Eminem four years ago. “Imported from Detroit” is one of the best taglines for any brand on the market right now. This year they continued their winning streak with an ad featuring Bob Dylan. I mean seriously, who is cooler than Dylan? The spot is well written and visually . The final line, “We will build your car” is a classic. In a Super Bowl with a lot of mediocre car ads, Chrysler shines.

3. Budweiser “Best Buds”

What’s cuter than an ad with a puppy? An ad with a puppy and the Budweiser Clydesdales. The catchy ballad “Let Her Go” by Passenger really makes the spot work. Yes, it’s overly sentimental and mushy, but it is a Super Bowl ad after all. And a good one.

4. Radio Shack

“The 80s called, they want their store back.” The single best line in any Super Bowl ad this year. What follows is zany mayhem featuring 80s icons Mary Lou Retton, Kid n’ Play, Alf, Teen Wolf and many more. I always like it when brands don’t take themselves too seriously and can be self-deprecating. It really made me want to visit a store to see what this “new” Radio Shack is all about. And that’s what makes the ad so effective.

5. Coca-Cola

The “most controversial” ad in the Super Bowl this year.  If you get beyond the #SpeakAmerican nonsense, you see a beautifully filmed anthem spot about friends and family coming together.  What I like is that it’s not just about the traditional family.  You see the true melting pot that is America.  People seemed to get mad that you would sing “America the Beautiful” in any language other than English.  You can see some of the hateful Twitter comments on the Public Shaming website.  Those people totally miss the point of the ad — that you can believe America is beautiful, no matter what language you speak.  Nevertheless, this is classic Coke advertising in the tradition of the iconic “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” ad.  One additional note, Coke absolutely knew this ad would be very controversial before they aired it.  The result is that the brand has gotten more attention than it has in many years.  And that’s why the ad worked so well.

Honorable Mentions: Beats Music, Esurance, Newcastle, Jaguar, Doritos

Bottom 5:

1. Muppets Highlander

I’m a huge Muppets fan and I really wanted this ad to be great. But, unfortunately it just didn’t work. It was just disjointed and confusing. What a waste. Come on Kermit!

2. Maserati

The ad was just too cerebral for the Super Bowl. The main message “now we strike” didn’t seem to connect at all to the Maserati brand. Plus, the actual car was only on the screen for about 10 seconds of the 90 second ad. Missed opportunity to showcase a beautifully designed automobile.

3. M&Ms

I usually really like the M&M ads. But, this one missed the mark. The concept depended on you seeing some teaser ads about “What happened to the Yellow M&M.” If you didn’t see it, you’d be confused like I was. Even after watching the teaser, I was still a bit confused. I guess the point is that Russian mobsters like to sprinkle peanut M&Ms on ice cream?

4. Go Daddy

Last year I thought Go Daddy’s “Kiss” ad was one of the best. This year Go Daddy’s ad features an army of bodybuilders racing to a spray tan salon. Danica Patrick even makes a brief cameo. The ad really wasn’t funny and didn’t seem to connect to Go Daddy’s value proposition.

5. Honda Hug Fest

It seemed like the agency spent all their time trying to convince Bruce Willis and Fred Armisen to do the Honda spot, and didn’t leave enough time to come up with a decent concept for the ad. Sure, Fred Armisen hugging Bruce Willis provides a quick chuckle.  But, it does not make the ad work. It was one of those, “huh?” spots.

Those are my pics.  Until next year…

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