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Exclusive: Local marketing exec Steve Merino grades Super Bowl ads

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By Steve Merino, Chief Creative Officer, Aloysius Butler & Clark

Last night, the 49ers and the Chiefs weren’t the only ones battling it out for national dominance. Michael Bloomberg, Donald Trump, Bill Murray and Post Malone all went toe-to-toe, vying for the title of “best commercial of Super Bowl LIV.” There were funny spots, serious spots and celebrities in abundance. But which brands made the best use of the $5.6 million dollars needed to buy 30 seconds of air time?


Jeep Groundhog Day

Imagine having the foresight to realize that this year’s Super Bowl was also on Groundhog Day. Then the orchestration it would take to lock down Bill Murray and Ned Ryerson to make a reboot. Not only was this spot funny and flawlessly executed, it also featured the product perfectly.  

Bud Light Seltzer “Inside Post Malone’s Brain”

And the award for the strangest product extension with the best ad goes to”¦Bud Light Seltzer! This commercial was perfectly written, perfectly edited and Post Malone delivered a truly comedic performance. Will I now try Bud Light Seltzer? Don’t be ridiculous. But this ad was still great and the extended cuts are even better.

Google “Loretta”

This sad, heartfelt ad by Google further proves that you don’t need to do slapstick to cut through the clutter and own the evening. With nothing more than a tender voice-over, a few pictures and the product in action, this spot had everyone in the room reaching for the box of tissues.  On top of that, it also taught people a new product feature. Well done, Google.


Square Space’s “Winona in Winona”

It’s a cute concept on paper. Winona Ryder-who was born in Winona, WY-goes back to her home town to show the locals how easy it is to build websites. If you watch the long-form “film” of the campaign it’s actually well done. But the concept didn’t translate into a 30-second spot. It felt like borrowed interest and it left you with a big “so what.”

Avocado’s from Mexico “Shopping Network”

Ever wonder why avocados are so expensive? Because the avocado bureau spends millions of dollars on mediocre ads featuring celebrities. Unlike Cheetos’ MC Hammer ad, this was a bad use of resurrecting a star from the 80’s. Not only was the spot not that funny, but Molly Ringwald didn’t connect to the brand and was a bit of a distraction. 

Planters “Tribute”

Every year, a few brands do some sort of gimmick. Planters “killing off” Mr. Peanut was one of them. I don’t fault them for having to pull the teaser “death” ads because of Kobe, but after all that controversy and build up, the reveal was a big let-down.

By Steve Merino, Chief Creative Officer & Managing Partner, Aloysius Butler & Clark

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