Monday Morning Quarterbacking: Memos To Super Bowl Advertisers 2009

A few memos on the Super Bowl ads.

Memo To Hyundai: If you are going to tout the fact that the Genesis won the North American Car of the Year award, it would be a good idea to build in an explanation of the award into the ad. Most people don’t know the importance of the ad. For the record, it is the toughest award to get because it comes as a result of fifty auto reviewers from different media outlets scoring all the newly redesigned cars and trucks released in 2008. It’s a much more significant award than that coming from, say, one magazine such as Motor Trend. Chevy and Saturn, which won the last two awards, blew this as well. You have to give the viewer some context as to why this award is a big deal.

Memo to Pepsi and the Civilized world: McGruber is perhaps the lamest recurring skit in the history of Saturday Night Live. The fact that writers can’t elevate this crud to even a titter when you have Richard Dean Anderson, the original McGyver, playing a cameo should tell you something. Also, Kristin Wiig is a complete mystery. I have been watching SNL since the beginning, and she is probably the unfunniest cast member in the show’s history—yet she has been getting the lion’s share of roles and skits for the last year. Total mystery. The Arnell Group chose to pick up the lamest skit and cast-member from SNL for a $3 million spot? Great choice. Not.

Memo to Agenices using Celebrities: Hulu nailed this by tapping Alec Baldwin to play his character from 30 Rock to poke fun at the whole TV and online video media. The alien arm squirming around his suit and finally straightening his tie made it a perfect spot, though not perfect enough to score best in game.

Memo to H&R Block: Your ad stunk. Here we are in a wretched economy. Nobody is claiming any capital gains taxes. Two of President Obama’s cabinet designates have been tied up in back tax problems. And you and your agency run some tired, lame skit featuring Death. Oh yeah…death and taxes. I get it. It was so funny, I forgot to laugh. From the department of free ideas, it would have been hilarious to have made some hay out of the tax problems of Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner. And you had time to scrap this crud and shoot it since his tax problems surfaced weeks ago, so don’t tell me you didn’t have time. I could envision a send up of an administration designee trying to get confirmed by Congress, but running into tax problems. An H&R Block representative is at his side testifying, and makes the whole problem go away by explaining why the nominee is in the clear. In the epilogue of the ad, a member of Congress is seen button-holing the H&R Block guy seeking advice about whether he needs to claim a boat from the Yacht-building lobby, or some such.

Memo to and Do you live on this planet? Do you read the papers? Your ads were about people in crappy or dead-end jobs. That may have been an idea that worked a year ago, or two years ago. But the job market is awful. People who have jobs are to the point where they are feeling either scared or guilty. Your ads messaged right passed the mood of the country. Those must have been some meetings you had over what ads to run. You know what? Probably a bad idea to have run ads in the big game this year at all. I’d like to suggest that there should be a few more people availing themselves of your services…like the marketing heads and the creative teams at the agencies.

Memo To Good choice to run in the big game. And a pretty inspired ad that made perfect use of old hack celebrities. You get the newcomer award.

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