Monday, February 6, 2017

S-B Commercials Score Eyeballs With Political Football

By Tim Baysinger

NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - With Americans' attention more finely tuned to the political climate under U.S. President Donald Trump, brands that dove headfirst into that conversation generated the most reaction from viewers during Sunday’s Super Bowl.

For most of the game, the chatter around commercials by Airbnb, Coca Cola Co and Budweiser was more exciting than the Super Bowl itself.

But late in the game, the New England Patriots pulled off a 25-point comeback to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in the National Football League’s first-ever overtime Super Bowl.

With the game's thrilling finish, viewers could exceed the 114.4 million who watched Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, providing a massive audience for advertisers who paid more than $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime.


Though T-Mobile drew the most attention on social media with celebrity-studded ads that included popstar Justin Bieber, the brands that sparked the most conversation among viewers were those that leaned into subjects of diversity and immigration.

Airbnb's ad featuring a diverse group of people touting a message of acceptance will be seen by many as a criticism of Trump’s immigration policies.

The ad was among the most talked about, generating nearly 70,000 tweets between 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. EST, data from digital marketing technology company Amobee shows.

During the pre-game, Coca Cola re-aired its ad from the 2014 Super Bowl, which featured "America the Beautiful" sung in different languages, which prompted more than 69,000 tweets.

Budweiser’s spot, telling the story of Anheuser-Busch’s immigrant co-founder Adolphus Busch, and Pennsylvania-based building materials company 84 Lumber’s ad were among the most talked about as well.

84 Lumber’s ad had to be reworked after Fox rejected an initial version that featured a border wall, which was in the company's full-length online version.

Amobee data found the sentiment for the ads skewed positive.

Advertisers have been grappling with how to reach consumers in the political climate under Trump, when viewers' increasingly partisan attitudes make it more difficult to market to a broad audience.

"It’s America paying attention to us and really ranking us, when they so often try to ignore what advertising does," said Ted Royer, chief creative officer of creative agency Droga5, which created Sprint’s ad targeting rival carrier Verizon.

Trump's November election, and his subsequent action on immigration and other issues has nearly split the population. That divide has left the stakes higher for advertisers devising campaigns for some of the biggest U.S. brands, which typically avoid politics, for fear of upsetting consumers.

"There’s a lot more anxiety, self-inflicted anxiety, in the country than there has been ever in the past," said Mike Sheldon, chairman and chief executive of ad agency Deutsch, who created Busch’s first-ever Super Bowl ad.

Advertisers paid just over $5 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad this year, and once again celebrities played a role in a lot of them, as did light humor as advertisers once more mostly stayed away from the kind of risque ads that were popular a few years ago. Amid the heightened and divisive political atmosphere in the country since President Trump took office, there were some ads that had a political bent, most around the theme of America and inclusiveness, and one couldn't resist poking fun at Trump's hair. Here are some of the commercials your listeners may be talking about today.


Avocados From Mexico
-- Secret society reveals that secrets have been spilling out, like that the moon landing was faked, there are only 49 shades of grey, and that avocados have healthy fats. Then one person says at least they don't know about subliminal advertising, followed by a quick cut to Jon Lovitz holding a bowl of guacamole saying, "Eat them."

Mobile Strike
- Arnold Schwarzenegger drops the lines "I'm back" and "Hasta la vista, baby" for the video game.

Buick -- A boy in a peewee football game turns into Cam Newton and dominates after a dad says of a Buick that pulls up,
"If that's a Buick, then my kid is Cam Newton.

-- Justin Bieber tracks the history of touchdown celebration dance moves.

Bai (antioxidant drink brand)-- Christopher Walken solemnly recites 'NSYNC lyrics for "Bye, Bye, Bye" as Justin Timberlake sits next to him.

-- John Malkovich is upset that someone has the domain name that he wants to use for his new menswear line. He calls the person and after trying to reason with him, demands: "Get out of my name!"

TMobile One
-- Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg use weed-related innuendos to talk about an unlimited data plan.

Kia Niro - Melissa McCarthy goes on missions to save the whales, trees, ice caps and rhinos with hilarious results.

Mercedes -- Peter Fonda spoofs his iconic Easy Rider character, in a scene that has his Mercedes blocking in bikers' motorcycles. He drives off to the sounds of "Born to Be Wild" as a female biker says, "Still lookin' good."

Honda -- Celebrities in their high school yearbook photos start talking about the future, including Jimmy Kimmel, Viola Davis, Tina Fey, Robert Redford, Amy Adams, Magic Johnson, Steve Carell and Missy Elliott.


Airbnb -- Faces of different ethnicities are shown with the message, "The world is more beautiful that more you accept," along with the tagline: #We accept.

It's a 10 (hair care products)
-- Takes a jab at President Trump's hair with a voiceover saying, "America, we're in for four years of awful hair, so it's up to you to do your part by making up for it with great hair," while showing photos of people with all different kinds of hairstyles.

NFL -- Workers are shown readying a football field as a voiceover says things like, "Inside these lines, we may have our differences, but recognize there's more that unites us." At the end, it's shown that the lines have drawn an outline of the United States on the football field.

Coca-Cola -- Replayed a Super Bowl ad from 2014 of people singing "America the Beautiful" in different languages.

Audi -- As a little girl competes in, and wins, a soapbox race, her father wonders what he should tell her about gender equality. In the end, the message on the screen says Audi is committed to equal pay for equal work.

More Ads:

Skittles -- A teenage boy throws Skittles against a window to try to get the attention of the girl he likes. Cut to inside, and the girl, her mother, her father, her grandmother, a robber, a police officer and even a gopher are all seen trying to catch the Skittles in their mouths.

Busch Beer -- A man in the clean air wilderness celebrates Busch and the sound of opening a can, but the sound just keeps going, and going, and going... -- A guy goes about his day surrounded by one Internet meme after another.

World of Tanks
-- The online game's theme is Tanks Rule, and tanks are shown crushing a reality TV home show's tiny house and breaking through a wall as reality TV housewives argue and flip tables.

Yellow Tail wine - An Australian man in a yellow suit hangs around with a kangaroo that barbecues, deejays and helps him hit on a bikini-clad lady on a beach.

Tide - Terry Bradshaw frantically tries to get a stain out of his shirt while he goes "viral" online, getting help along the way from New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski and actor Jeffrey Tambor.

Febreeze -- An ode to the "halftime bathroom break" that also says sometimes it stinks, which is why you need Febreeze.

Turbotax -- Humpty Dumpty, who's in the hospital after his fall, uses Turbotax to get info about getting a tax deduction for his health expenses.

Mr. Clean
- A woman likes what she sees when the animated Mr. Clean shows off sexy dance moves as he does the housework in his tight-fitting white T-shirt and pants.

Snickers -- The hyped live commercial that aired in the third quarter shows actor Adam Driver on a Wild West set, supposedly not knowing the spot is live. The set falls apart -- purposely, of course -- and the tagline reads, "You ruin live Super Bowl commercials when you're hungry."

T-Mobile -- They aired two spots that spoofed 50 Shades of Grey, with a woman excited about being punished for going over her data limits.

Bud Light -- The ghost of Spuds MacKenzie, Bud Light's popular canine mascot from the late '80s, returns, in a sort of A Christmas Carol role, showing a man who doesn't like going out why he should spend more time with his friends.

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