Monday Morning Quarterbacking

Ok, I’m just going to come right out and say it.  I was one of the few people in America who did NOT watch the Super Bowl yesterday.  Before you try to enlighten me as to the merits of the game and sentence me to watch NFL highlights, let me just say I don’t like football.  Just never got into the touchy feeliness of the sport. And besides, I’m still chained to my editing station – finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

But this morning I couldn’t escape the pundits grading and scoring the Super Bowl commercials as I clicked through the morning programs looking for the “news”.  It was interesting to hear their “take” on what commercials were successful.  Most of the pundits made their assessments through the eyes of their “ad men” (and women) persona, debating which commercials caught the attention of the viewers.

One “expert” frequently commented, “now this one had people telling their friends – be quiet – I want to hear the commercial.  I’m not quite sure what Super Bowl party this person went to, but no doubt it was a party made up of other advertising folks. Now, I’ve had very limited experience attending Super Bowl parties, but as for the ones I have been to – nobody has ever said “be quiet – so I can hear the commercial”.  With that said, as I watched many of the spots this morning via YouTube, some of the most effective commercials required no listening at all. Check out this one for Bridgestone.

I guess the creatives who made this spot go to the same kind of parties as I do –  parties where people don’t ask someone to turn the volume up for the commercials.  Actually, I’ve learned a lot about editing by watching TV commercials with the sound off.  The “story” either becomes apparent – or not.

The New York Times did a pretty good critique of the ads this morning. But what I found most interesting was the running commentary from the “average Joes” via Twitter and Facebook.  No doubt some of these advertising experts were paying as much attention to the social media chatter this morning as Mumbarak’s men were. Hands down, the Chrysler “Detroit” spot won the most hearts – mine included. It drew me in from the start and kept me the entire two minutes.  Imagine that – a two minute commercial! When was the last time you saw that?  A beautiful mini-film told in credible brevity. Quite frankly, to me it would have been just as effective without Eminem or any celebrity for that matter. It evoked emotion – that’s what kept me watching.

At the end of the day, the commercials that resonated most with just about everyone – pundit and laymen alike were the ones that told a simple story that rang true with the human spirit.  Works every time.  To tell those stories, one needs to get out of the meeting rooms and late nights at the office and spend more time living life. Otherwise, what you end up with is a bunch of people creating commercials about what they think life is like.

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