Tag Archives: super bowl

Training Hard Makes You More Human

“We are not encouraging people to just run faster for the sake of being faster. We are saying that ultimately you will be able to enjoy life if you take the time to cater to your own humanity.”
Matt O´Toole (Reebok President)

Reebok has been a really interesting brand lately.

Their commitment to fitness has been a bold move and also makes perfect sense (as we have to also bear in mind that Reebok is owned by Adidas). Especially there has been tremendous growth in “tough fitness” which includes crossfit, martial arts and other “more demanding than your regular Zumba”-activities. What started out as a niche exercise has become now mainstream and everyone is flipping tires these days: me as well.

During the latest Super Bowl, Reebok launched their new brand belief piece “Be More Human”:

I like it (mainly because I am part of target audience). Also because the message Reebok conveys is part of my whole life philosophy. I don´t eat to live, I don´t train to live. I live to train & eat. Sports is not just a way to prevent your inevitable physical deterioration, it also strengthens you mentally and socially.

Training hard improves you as a person. Competing against others makes you tougher but it is also social. I have learned more from teamwork, leadership and grit from basketball court than from work. When you push it to the limits in sports, you are more likely to be able to push it to the limits with other things as well.

And that belief I heartily endorse.

The other reason why Reebok´s message is compelling is that it is not for all. Reeboks has made a deliberate decision to be exclusive. Their core focus is in tough fitness and quite hardcore training with blood, blisters, sweat, snot, tears and tear down. Whereas the usual scared brand advertiser would have expanded the target audience and showed people doing all the mundane fitness moves and have message about how “fitness is for everyone”, Reebok kept the focus. Reebok is for those who train hard (or think they train hard, like me). The almost brutal nature of their ads is refreshing compared to the touchy-feely lifestyle-routes the majority of sports brands have chosen.

“We’re confident that when we push ourselves, we not only transform our bodies, we transform our entire lives.”
Matt O´Toole

That brings us to the last point. They are expanding, but they are promoting the whole category of tough fitness (which can basically mean quite diverse things) and training hard. Their message resonates naturally to those who currently are sport freaks, but it also has appeal to people who push themselves in other things in life. Showcasing the more “holistic” (in the lack of better word) benefits of intense exercise, they collaborated with scientist David McRaney and created the Human score to calculate your level of humanness:

It is a human nature to be a sucker for tests and I could not wait to test my humanness. I was luckily still more close to human than android. “Brain buff” also sounds like a new upcoming fad term like spornosexual:


As part of the campaign there is also a selfie competition (because no brand is perfect) and some other infographics about how training affects your brain.

Reebok is at least having tight focus on what they are doing. I believe that it will also pay off, if they have the perseverance and patience to follow their daring brand belief through.

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Newcastle Brown Ale, No Bollocks and The Importance of Consistent Brand Behavior

We are approaching Super Bowl, which is tremendous for ad aficionados (not necessarily for sales, though). During the last year´s Super Bowl, the favorite ad I had was actually one that did not even air at the actual commercial break.

Every brand tries to be a part of big event and competes against limited amount of attention, which is really focused on the actual game. In reality there is more exposure to be had by exploiting an event in the outskirts where the other brands do not dare to venture. They are playing safe and being scared of doing anything out of ordinary. This creates a great opportunity for the bold ambush marketer. Tap into big events and sponsorship, but try not to pay for it, is my motto.

That motto was followed by Newcastle Brown Ale last year with these highly entertaining ads piggybacking Super Bowl ad craze:

The Teaser for The Trailer for Newcastle´s Mega Huge Football Game AD

The Mega Huge Football Game Ad Newcastle Could´ve Made

Rest of the videos can be seen on the campaign site and here is the full case study of the success of the campaign:

I have had debates about the campaign (which is usually good sign, seldom you even notice a campaign, thus argue about it). Does it really fit with Newcastle Brown Ale brilliant brand promise? Their approach has been all about “No Bollocks” which means avoiding the usual beer ad clichés. Their pseudo super bowl ad is essentially in its post-modern sarcasm and ad irony is, well, bollocks. Sometimes you have to point out that you are not bollocks by first demonstrating what the bollocks is. In these ads by showing the beer ad bollocks clichés, Newcastle takes the higher ground by using parody and rises above the bollocks. That´s some serious philosophy right there. Not to mention that the ads are truly the dog´s bollocks.

Consistent brand behavior is not about repeating the same line over and over again. That is just an attempt to bore you into buying. Great brand behavior has strong brand belief (like No Bollocks) that manifests itself in everything or whatever the brand does. Therefore you don´t have to repeat “No Bollocks” if you show and demonstrate what no bollocks –attitude means. Being an underdog is also about the attitude. Newcastle Brown Ale is able to portray challenger underdog mentality, even though they are owned by big beer behemoth Heineken.

Consistent brand behavior also means that you stay true to your course. Quite often brands change their direction too often, although their current approach just started to work. After the success of last year´s Super Bowl Newcastle Brown Ale continues with the same brand behavior and similar tone. Not buying Super Bowl ad, but tapping into this biggest advertising showcase in the world. This time they are trying to “crowdsource” ad with some other brands, because they do not have budget to buy super bowl slot:

Newcastle Brown Ale also tapped into one of the most famous ad properties around Super Bowl (Doritos Crash The Super Bowl) and made their own “Doritos” ad:

Internet does not like sequels, but their approach showcases unique brand consistency, which is rare nowadays. More importantly the ads are funny as well.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Sorry, Coke & Pepsi.

The SodaStream ad for Super Bowl is quite vapid creatively. As a guy, I naturally do not complain having Scarlett Johansson on it but I have seen her in way more interesting settings. The beauty of this ad is that it is already banned:

The reason for the ban is the line in the end: “Sorry Coke & Pepsi”. Apparently Fox was afraid that it would upset those big advertisers and we will not see this 30 s clip in Super Bowl. That hardly does matter as the ad has already been seen over 2 million times. Daniel Birnbaum, the CEO of SodaStream acts furious, but is probably laughing all the way to the bank:

“What are they afraid of? Which advertiser in America doesn’t mention a competitor? This is the kind of stuff that happens in China. I’m disappointed as an American”

Insight: If you are challenger brand, you have to aggressively confront the bigger competitors. People love underdogs. This ad further solidifies SodaStream challenger position while making competitor look as evil giants. When your ad is banned, it actually gives extra credibility to your message. Although Coke or Pepsi might not have anything to do with the ad ban, this raises speculation about conspiracy.

Too often brands do not act as challengers or market leaders, but fell in the middle ground. As a brand you are either David or Goliath, there is no middle ground.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Oreo Separator Machine Series

I do not eat cookies.

But if I would eat them, they would definitely be Oreos. The 101 year old brand has been so on fire lately with their marketing activities. And their latest effort “Oreo Separator Machine” does not disappoint:

Product Insight: Oreo ads are great example of really simple but effective product insight. The product has two parts: crème & cookie. Those parts are so distinct frome each other that you are almost forced to select which part you like more. That difference can be polarizing as well and has been cause for endless arguments. Also the eating of the Oreo has own ritual for its users. The right one is of course this: Taking the top cookie off, eating it, licking the crème and finishing with the bottom cookie (mastered with Finnish Oreo knock-off Domino when I was child).
Majority of Oreo advertising has been about dramatizing either the interplay of its different parts or the ritual (typical example being this year´s super bowl ad for Oreo).

Creative leap: The great creatives in W+K combine couple of existing trends in these spots: D-I-Y tinkering (popularized by Mythbusters or Top Gear for autophiles) and Rube Goldberg Machine (Machines doing simple tasks in complicated ways. Lately popularized by Honda Cog, OK Go-This Too Shall Pass & Red Bull Athlete Machine).
These trends are combined with product insight and end-results are highly entertaining videos of how far people are going to separate the crème and the cookie:

Collaboration: These spots would not be so great, if the people doing separator machines would not be so entertaining. Nowadays doing great work is more and more about finding the new and surprising collaboration partners and giving them the brief and tools to do their own thing:

Continuum: In principle this series could last for quite long, as long as there are innovative collaborations and interest from the audience. Currently we are in fourth installment which ups the ante by involving robot butler Herb to the mix:

These ads are also refreshing, because they go against the old rule that you should not play with your brand if it is food. I think that if you get almost 4M views in YouTube for single product-centered video, the playing with food is not only allowed, but also highly recommended.

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Just Watched Every Super Bowl Commercial and Here is the Real Top 10

Super Bowl ad is a different kind of beast.

Seldom you have an audience who is actually waiting to see your ads. Also seldom you are fighting the attention with biggest sport event and the biggest performers in half-time show. In Super Bowl you have to do great entertainment just to get noticed. Seldom they actually win any advertising awards either. Super Bowl ads are the populist creativity at its fullest. You have paid big price of the attention of the people, what are you going to with that attention?

To get noticed and be loved, the recipe for succesful Superbowl ad in recent years has been the following:

Make it funny+Make it Epic+Add some Celebrities in the mix+(Add Hashtag or Facebook URL if you remember)

Although there has been great non-funny Superbowl ads, it is usually easier (not easy) to be funny in 30 seconds than to make people truly sentimental. Surprisingly this year´s Ad Meter winner was not slapstick comedy, but this tearjerker from Budweiser:

I was not that convinced so I decided to watch them all through to find better ones. It took approximately the same time than it took to watch The Master. I recommend heartily the latter more. This my top 10 list of Superbowl Ads. As  you can see, I like simple ideas and celebrity comedians.

Tide: Miracle Stain

This was the favourite of the bunch. Seriously funny and also adds some topical twist to predictable ending. Reminds me about this scetch from Mitchell and Webb.

Best Buy: Asking Amy

Great way to add funny celebrity and lots of product shots as well. Simple but effective.

GoDaddy: Your Next Big Idea

Despite the more buzz about and around the akward “Bar Rafaeli Makes out”-spot, this was actually the better one. In terms of attitude, I have to give it up for GoDaddy-marketing. Rafaeli-spot got the lowest ratings in ad-meter, but also generated most buzz. Despite the angry feedback, it was also commercially succesfully and GoDaddy had record sales after the game day.

Audi: The Prom

Mercedez-Benz: Soul

Lots of car commercials as usual, but these two were my favourites. The prom is classic aspirational story about the ego-boosting capabilities of the car with great soundtrack. In terms of making truly epic ad, Mercedez-Benz scores quite high. Willem Dafoe as the devil is not a bad start. However, the ending which actually got the price of the car to the ad, made it to my list.
Toyota, Volkswagen and Hyundai “Stuck” ads were quite funny as well, but Kia Babylandia was probably the worst. Babies and cute animals score well, but still why you do this? Missing the hamsters already. The Fiat topless ad I liked as well, but probably more because I am male and also a sucker for Isaac Hayes soundtrack (for women viewers in the same bandwagon was the controversial Calvin Klein ad)

Samsung: The Next best thing

Actually the extended version is not bad either. Good balance between the funny banter and product features. I have to still admit that this still felt more like insider joke for ad people. The industry insider jokes did not score well in Ad Meter either.

Taco Bell: Viva Mas

Refreshing to have old people instead of babies or dogs in ads. Just for that reason, this requires to be in the list.

Oreo: Whisper Fight

Dramatizing the evergoing debate around the Oreo to the fullest.

Century 21: Wedding

Good idea and the whole series around this is good. Gets better with repetition as well, Might be a campaign for years.

Doritos: Goat 4 Sale

I just love the concept “Crash the Superbowl”. Crowdsourcing and UGC seem to be more curse words nowaday, but this program has maintained its quality and interest over six years. It was tough call between this and “Fashionista Daddy”

Quite ok year, but none of the ads seems to be a true classic like this one.

And one last thing, who thought that it was good idea that fish would sing No Diggidy?

Just asking.

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