My favorite Super Bowl Ads

A lot of people watch the Super Bowl. Something to the tune of 400 billion in 250,000 countries or something like that. Some watch for the game (and a great game it was!), others watch for the halftime show (my wife was in that group tonight) and lots of people watch for the commercials.

In this world of DVR fast-forwarding, this is the one time of year that advertisers are pretty much guaranteed that a metric crap ton of eyeballs are going to be watching. A lot of money is spent on agencies and a lot of rich people get a lot richer (#OccupySuperBowl, anyone?).

I could care less who won the game…in fact, when Boston and New York play, I think most people root for both teams to lose, if that’s possible. I do watch the game, and this was definitely an exciting one. But as a marketer, I definitely pay very close attention to the ads.

This was my setup during the game: Twitter on the left, ad notes on the right.

My Twitter setup during the Super Bowl

After, I went back through and looked at my notes…tried to figure out which ones I liked best. Here were my favorites:

Hyundai – “All For One”

Now, I just bought a Hyundai Sonata last year. I love my car. I also loved what Hyundai did as the sponsor of the pre-game show. This nod to the Rocky theme was pretty great.

Best Buy – Phone Innovators

This ad from Best Buy was terrific. Phone-agnostic, but showing the type of amazing innovation that has come from the smartphone industry. And hats off to Instagram and Square…both amazing apps. And the Words with Friends nod was the perfect amount of funny.

Chevy – “2012”

Detroit came with a couple great ads and I thought Chevy had a great night. This one was the better of their two (the other being the extreme sports Chevy Sonic), especially the use of “Looks Like We Made It.”

Doritos – “Man’s Best Friend”

Doritos puts a lot of effort into their Super Bowl ads and they’ve really done a lot of user-generated stuff. This ad made me laugh. Plus, dogs > cats.

Chrysler – “Halftime in America”

This ad easily won the night for me. Not only do you have Clint Eastwood, one of the biggest American icons, but you have this message that could have very easily gotten super political and ended up being inspirational. Loved the timing (obviously, right at halftime but before Madonna). I didn’t think Chrysler could come up with an ad that would eclipse what they did last year with Eminem. Turns out I was wrong. Other people felt the same, including Chevy, who put out this very classy tweet:

To me, that was pretty cool. The ad highlight of the night to me.

Some other thoughts

  • The highly-publicized “Matthew Broderick’s Day Off” ad for Honda really missed the mark for me.
  • When it came to movie trailers, The Avengers won, in my opinion.
  • The Coca-Cola polar bears are over.
  • I really love Betty White, but she runs the risk of overexposure, in my opinion.
  • The Hulu Plus ads are terrible.
  • I saw a ton of hash tags in commercials. Some good. Some bad. Very few were on screen long enough to be noticed. Keep them on the whole time. #solongvampires
  • The VW ad was funny, but that Star Wars end to it was totally lame.
  • At the risk of being a “defensive fan boy,” I thought the Samsung Note ad was a good ad for an absolutely terrible product. Nice to see someone trying to take on Apple. Is a mini-tablet (or is that a giant phone?) with a stylus really the best product to attack with?
  • Go Daddy is the worst.
  • After a bunch of terrible halftime shows (all since the infamous “wardrobe malfunction”), Madonna set the bar for the next 10 years. All halftime shows should be measured against that.

What did you think?

I was right about Herm Edwards

During Herm Edwards’ tenure at the helm of the Chiefs, I was openly critical of how I felt like he didn’t belong anywhere near an NFL sideline. He’s a joke of a “coach” and got absolutely nothing out of his players, only making it to the playoffs on the back of the weakness of the AFC West and with Dick Vermeil’s guys.

Sure, he had to deal with Carl Peterson instead of Scott Pioli, but after watching Todd Haley coach in his second season and get more out of Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson, Derrick Johnson and several other players than Edwards ever did, it’s obvious to me that Edwards was unfit to be an NFL coach. For a guy who was always considered a “player’s coach”, he never got very much out of his players. He’s a nice guy and a decent TV analyst, but is an utter disaster as a head coach.

Kudos to Todd Haley for getting what was expected out of great draft picks. I’m excited to see how our young guys continue to develop under his tutelage. Herm Edwards, stay in the booth.

Matt Cassel is Better Than I Thought

This post was originally titled “Matt Cassel is over-rated,” which, if you follow me on Twitter, should come as no surprise coming from me. I’ve been openly critical of Cassel ever since he locked up his long-term deal with the team. I started writing this post the week before he was diagnosed with appendicitis, then missed the game against San Diego and we were stuck with Brodie Croyle under center for a game.

Now, I’m not going to say that I thought Croyle was going to do well and I’m not going to say that Cassel would have won the game for KC against San Diego. All that game proved to me was that San Diego is good, Norv Turner annoys me and that Croyle is an utter disaster as both a leader and a quarterback. Also, the play calling in that game was really confusing. But I digress…

I’ve had it out for Cassel since the beginning because I haven’t been able to see that he is a great quarterback. He has always been OK, maybe even good, but to call him great seemed like a stretch to me. We’re talking about a guy who never played in college and helped the Patriots when their golden boy went down a few years back. I don’t think there was anything in his resume that suggested he was going to be a high-level performer in the pros.

His statistics suggest otherwise:

  • 212/354, 59.5% completion percentage (23rd)
  • 24 TDs (7th) to only 5 INTs
  • a rating of 98.4 (5th highest in the NFL)

I suppose that despite all that, for him to have the level of success with a bunch of young, not-very-fast, bad hands receivers should impress me. Even with what he’s done through most of the season, I still felt like he missed a half-dozen passes almost every game…easy ones…ones that were critical 3rd-down conversions or would have extended the clock. Now, up to this point, I don’t know how much those misses have been detrimental to the Chiefs’ success. After all, we are leading the AFC West by one game with two to go. If you’d have told me that during the off-season, I would have said, “I’ll take it.”

And Cassel has been solid. Despite those few misses per game, he hasn’t turned the ball over, which, with a rushing attack like the Chiefs’, should be your primary goal.

So here I am, ready to relent my constant online harassment of Matt Cassel. Watching the difference that he made on the field against St. Louis, one week after the embarrassing San Diego loss and I am finally a believer. Call me a Cassel Enthusiast. I hesitated throwing my support behind him until he led the Chiefs to the win in the playoffs that has eluded us since 1993, but I have to pay respect to what the man has accomplished in a season that I all but thought would be another rebuilding year.

So here’s to you, Matt Cassel. I tip my virtual cap to you and wish you well through the rest of this season. I will be rooting for you even harder now that I’m convinced that you’re much better than I thought.

Is Cassel or Haley to blame?

As much as I don’t like to write people off before they’ve been given an adequate shot, I’m starting to think that signing Matt Cassel to a long-term, expensive contract was one of the worst decisions that the Chiefs have made in recent years (dating back to the King Carl days). One thing is sure, Cassel is certainly not who he was advertised to be…a savvy, accurate, good decision-making quarterback.

Matt Cassel talks to Bobby Ingram in practice

The Chiefs front office (particularly GM Scott Pioli, who made this ludicrous signing) want to assure the fans that it is the offensive line that is the problem, not their 6-year, $63 million man.

I’m not buying it.

If Cassel has proven anything to me this year, it’s that he makes really bad decisions at inopportune times and he consistently under- and over-throws his receivers. Now, granted, it’s not like he’s throwing to Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco out there, but some of his throws have been so abysmally inaccurate that I’m really starting to doubt his capability at all.

The front office wants to tout his mobility. And I’ll concede that yes, he can run. It doesn’t mean he has to. There are two things that bother me about his so-called “mobility”:

  1. He exercises the run option too quickly. I’ve seen him leave the pocket far too early on numerous times this season, leading to him getting lit up by a linebacker or losing yards as he’s pulled down by a defensive end who now has to chase him a little less.
  2. The key to “mobile” NFL quarterbacks is that they have the capability to throw on the run. Cassel can’t. He can’t hit the broad side of a barn on the run. Now, neither  can his predecessor at New England, Tom Brady. But Brady is deadly accurate in the pocket. Cassel is not. Brady has good protection. Cassel does not. But if you’re going to call yourself a mobile quarterback in the NFL, you’d better be able to hit a receiver or a tight end or fullback on the run. And I’ve seen nothing this season that proves Cassel can do that.

Much of the blame for this season’s failures should fall squarely on the shoulders of the head coach, Todd Haley, who looks completely inept when it comes to managing a team during a game. I think that Haley was in the right place at the right time in Arizona.  The Chiefs had to get rid of Herm Edwards last year, because let’s face it, a cinnamon roll could coach better than Edwards. But I doubt that Haley was their #1 choice when it came to choosing someone to lead the Chiefs back to the playoffs (although I think fans would just accept a .500 season at this point).

I really enjoy Haley’s passion and tenacity. But those two things don’t win games if all they are doing is covering up the mistakes of your players that you can’t seem to coach. I think both Haley and Cassel are going to get another year to prove themselves. Rebuilding this once proud franchise is not going to happen overnight. But I think both our head coach and our quarterback need to be put on notice. I will be watching you.

That is, of course, unless the game is blacked out again.

Later, Larry

So, the Chiefs finally released the homophobic, underperforming, “marquee” running back.

Finally.

It’s been a long time coming. His two good seasons, including his single-season rushing record 2006, were behind one of the greatest offensive lines in history. He no longer runs with any passion or toughness. His off-the-field antics have just gotten to be too much.

While it’s possible that he lands somewhere else, I don’t care. I applaud Scott Pioli and Todd Haley for getting rid of him. There are others in the locker room who are not happy, but none of them are a complete embarrassment to the organization like Johnson has been over the past several seasons. There are some who think he was just getting what he wanted. I think that we’ll find that all he got was the opportunity to go be someone else’s problem.

He’s not a Chief anymore.

And that makes me glad.