The Super Bowl was bad. Were the commercials even worse?
At least the food, drink and company were good in this little patch of New Jersey, because yesterday’s Super Bowl game, held a bit east of here, was one of the worst I can remember and I go back to the first one. Unfortunately for the millions who watch the game for the commercials, this year’s crop may have actually been worse than the game. In my mind, there were only a few that rose above mediocre. To my surprise (sorry puppy) the best of the night was RadioShack’s "The Phone Call."
In the spot, a store associate takes a phone call: "The eighties called. They want their store back." (Cue the music) Loverboy’s 1981 hit "Working for the Weekend" plays as iconic figures from the era — Hulk Hogan, Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger) from Cheers, Alf, Ponch (Erik Estrada) from CHIPs, Mary Lou Retton, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, Jason from Friday the 13th and others dismantle the store. When finished, they drive off with all the goods in a Delorean. The image shifts to the new RadioShack concept with the voice over, "It’s time for a new RadioShack. Come see what’s possible when we do things together."
What I liked best about the spot was that it was honest. It puts into words that management gets why Americans stopped shopping at the chain and tells them it’s safe to come back. Whether the ad will succeed in getting people back to stores remains to be seen. But this is the best thing we can remember coming out of RadioShack, well, at least going back to the eighties.
Not everyone shares my opinion. I was clearly outvoted on the home front where our small party was equally split between General Mills’ "Gracie" commercial for Cheerios and Budweiser’s "Puppy Love."
USA Today’s Ad Meter’s Top 10 looked liked this:
Budweiser Puppy Love – 8.29
Doritos Cowboy Kid – 7.58
Budweiser Hero’s Welcome – 7.21
Doritos Time Machine – 7.13
RadioShack Phone Call – 7
Hyundai Sixth Sense – 6.87
General Mills Cheerios Gracie – 6.75
Microsoft Technology – 6.65
Coca-Cola Going All the Way – 6.42
Pepsi Soundcheck – 6.3
Adweek gave its top grades to:
Budweiser Puppy Love – A+
Wonderful Pistachios/Stephen Colbert Wonderful Pistachios – A
General Mills Cheerios Gracie – A
Wings Volkswagen – A
Chrysler America’s Import – A-
Coca-Cola It’s Beautiful – A-
Maserati Strike – A-
Hyundai Dad’s Sixth Sense – A-
Chevrolet Life – A-
Advertising Age gave the most stars to:
RadioShack Phone Call – 4 stars
T-Mobile No Contract, No Worries – 4 stars
Budweiser Puppy Love – 3.5 stars
Bud Light Epic Night – 3.5 stars
Turbo Tax Love Hurts – 3.5 stars
General Mills Cheerios Gracie – 3.5 stars
Go Daddy Epic Quit – 3.5 stars
- The Phone Call – RadioShack/YouTube
- Super Bowl Ad Blitz – YouTube
- The complete 2014 Super Bowl Ad Meter results – USA Today
- The Big Game Ad Report Card – Adweek
- Super Bowl Ad Review – Advertising Age (tiered sub.)
Which Super Bowl commercials stood out for you this year and why?