February 7th, 2012 — Copywriting 101, Everything else, Marketing
I just about wet myself the other night watching the spot during the Super Bowl. Very gutsy that Chrysler would spend God knows how much to run a 2 minute spot that could only run … during halftime in a single football game. After watching I had tears in my eyes and was about to run out and buy a Chrysler 300.
But reviewing it today a couple of nits. Clint Eastwood does not have the Detroit cred of Eminem, even though “I’ve seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life.” (I wondered if he actually was born in the Motor City and looked it up. No: San Francisco, CA.) And honestly as the spot began I was thinking it was a Clint Eastwood voice imitator (he was there but in shadows) and by the time he showed up I was almost irritated that it really was Clint. And of course the parallel to the Hal Riney “It’s morning in America” Reagan ad was a distraction for anyone who remembered.
The observation that “the fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead” was also a calculated risk on timing which I think misfired. Carl Rove says that’s a political attack which is for sure protesting too much. The producers were simply going for a chord of empathy, assuming we would be in the midst of hard times when they made the spot but the economy seems to be looking up so it doesn’t ring true for at least one viewer.
So, I still prefer Eminem’s spot last year. But I still think I will buy a Chrysler in the form of that little Fiat that morphs into a giant woman dressed in red and black in another Super Bowl spot.
January 26th, 2009 — Copywriting 101, Everything else, Food and eating, Marketing, Tech, Words and writing
Newspaper coupons grasp at 2009 Super Bowl
Three years ago, I did a post
on newspaper inserts and the Super Bowl… and how snack manufacturers contort themselves to create a “big game theme” without ever actually mentioning the Big Game, which is a copyrighted product with big licensing fees attached. Looking at this past Sunday’s crop of FSI’s, it’s reassuring to see that nothing has changed. The nation’s economy may have melted down and the web has transformed marketing for most products, but for salty snacks and their teammates it’s still “game on”.
Smirnoff offers us a “smart choice for your super party”. Newman’s Own wants you to “go natural for the big game”. Tums will let us “enjoy the game heartburn free” while Pop-Secret popcorn promises a “home field advantage” and Hersheys wants us to “treat your home team” to a “candy bowl blitz”. Marie’s salad dressings invite you to “tackle the taste” and Dean’s Cool & Creamy exhorts you to “bring the ultimate dip to the ultimate game.” You can also “score one for the home team” with Ling Ling egg rolls, say “it’s good!” [umpire with upstretched hands holding up two hamburgers] for White Castle or enjoy “football food… ready for game time in minutes” from El Monterey Taquitos.
It’s clear that the marketers are doing an end run around the NFL by not mentioning the Super Bowl by name, and that the NFL has dropped the ball by not figuring out a way to bring them into its licensed marketing huddle. But more important, there’s a flagrant violation by most of these marketers because they forget that coming up with a catch-phrase is not the same as selling a product.
And so the winner, in overtime, is an ad from Butterball cold cuts with the theme “One taste brings the party together”. Because after all, the reason these marketers are trying to tie in their products to the Super Bowl is that you’re going to serve them at a party—and here’s one marketer with a generic ad (originally created around the election, maybe?) that says how their product is going to make your event a success. Touchdown!
February 10th, 2006 — Marketing, Words and writing
The Wall Street Journal’s advertising column (2/3/06) ran an item noting that Emerald Nuts had spent a fifth of its ad budget last year on a single spot in the 2005 Super Bowl, and as a result sales more than doubled in the 10 months that followed. Actually, the column didn’t say “as a result” but that was the implication since no other information was given to explain the sales increase.
It’s more likely that Emerald Nuts used the same formula that is described for this coming year: use its cachet as a “Super Bowl Advertiser” to gain shelf space, promote tie-ins to the event, and forge alliances with other, bigger marketers. So the few mill for the spot in the game are leveraged to make its participation look far bigger than it actually was.
Compare that to the Gillette “Fusion” razor that was introduced with an elaborate spot in the 2006 game. The next day I got an email inviting me to “Experience Fusion” by clicking through to a rich media website that took forever to load and then was pretty silly… a giant razor rotating on a stand while an out-of-sync Vanna White avatar invited me to check it out. Zzz.
And what was missing? The coupon, of course, to clinch the deal and get me to try it. P&G did have a sweepstakes but you can tell their heart wasn’t in it because the stakes were small and the copy flabby and generic: “enter the Ultimate Sports Fan Sweepstakes for a chance to win $7,500 in cash to spend on other good stuff: a big screen TV, season tickets to your team’s games-you name it.” If the copywriter can’t get excited about the offer, you can bet the audience won’t either.
P.S. Clicking on the title of this post will give you a look at the sweeps; if you want to meet animatronic Vanna she’s waiting right here.
February 3rd, 2006 — Everything else, Marketing, Words and writing
Coupon FSIs (freestanding inserts) in the Sunday paper are like Toontown—a separate reality where the colors are garish, the actions outsized, and stories don’t quite make sense. This is especially evident around Super Sunday, when we are asked to believe that across America Big Game hosts are training to lay out a spectacular feed based on branded products.
In the highly competitive FSI pages where package goods makers vie for our attention, you can count on the writers of heads and taglines to rise to outsized brilliance. Thus we have “roll out big game flavors” and “the easy game plan!” (Totino pizza rolls), “Score big when you serve Boboli… the football party favorite!”, “the big game plan…lineup the great taste of Dean’s dips” (this one has a diagram of wings and ruffles going for the goal line, and an invitation to download your own football tablecloth pattern at www.deansdips.com), “kick off your party with Farmer John’s hot dogs”, “savor the taste of victory” with Cattlemen’s Barbecue Sauce, “enjoyed by BBQ experts and football fans everywhere”, “is your sandwich dressed for game day?” with French’s mustard and of course “it’s CRUNCH time” with Mt. Olive…”the super pickle for the super game.”
What makes the copywriting stars shine even brighter is the fact that none of these ads can actually mention the Super Bowl by name, since they didn’t pay for licensing rights. The results are doing a full court press on my taste buds (oops, wrong metaphor) but I’m holding out for an invitation to “throw the MVP—most valuable PARTY” with the ultimate Kraft 7 Layer Dip (heart attack on a platter) and Game Day Football Cake made with extra-strength Maxwell House coffee and dressed with Cappuccino Pudding Frosting. Call the trainer—this playah is DOWN!