During last year’s Super Bowl, some of the emotional, intense ads backfired.
Remember that Nationwide ad with the dead boy talking about child safety? As a parent, I couldn’t even watch that. So, while last year the ads all tried to be deep and emotional, this year, everybody kept it light with lots of babies and puppies.
Doritos ran an ad with a fetus reaching for a chip during an ultrasound. Budweiser ran an ad featuring actress Helen Mirren warning Americans not to drive drunk.
“Your friends and family thank you, the friends and family of other drivers thank you, your future self thanks you,” Mirren said in the ad.
The lighter touch was meant to entertain, not offend, Super Bowl watchers.
“People want to be a little friendlier, a little bit more humorous, a little less aggressively out there and edgy,” said Adam Hanft, CEO of Hanft Projects, a brand strategy firm. “It was sort of a tamed edginess I would say.”
And Budweiser got a nice freebie at the end, when the Bronco’s winning quarterback Peyton Manning said he was going to celebrate by drinking Budweiser. Budweiser says it didn’t pay for that, but it had to be worth millions.