When did everything get so serious?

Was it just me, or were the Super Bowl ads not as funny this year? I mean, they didn’t really attempt funny. A majority of the ads I saw addressed serious issues like domestic violence, gender discrimination and cyber bullying. The most depressing was the Nationwide ad that featured a little boy who died from a preventable accident. It was emotional whiplash. On minute we’re all excited about the game and then the next we’re tearing up over a Microsoft commercial.

I thought it was just our interaction with Super Bowl ads that had changed, but the actual content of advertisements has changed significantly. Somber ads get our attention, and we like to see an ad with a powerful message. Dove Men+Care, contrary to something you would see with Old Spice, used images of fatherhood and caring for one’s children to get our attention. It worked. I felt the sudden urge to call my dad an thank him for being a good dad.

Jeep and Carnival also took on the slower, more solemn tone. Cars and cruises evoke thoughts of fast-paced, fun, loud environments, but the two took it in a completely different direction, which is why we paid attention. Additionally, most commercials did not reveal the brand behind the ad until the very end of the message. It turned it into a guessing game almost. I was convinced that Jeep’s “Beautiful Lands” ad was for Coca Cola.

Yeah, funny ads are great, but they don’t bring us any closer to a brand. An ad that can get another second of your attention to stop and think about what it said is a great ad. We are constantly bombarded with meaningless ads for video games, clothes, fast food and more, so it makes sense to show ads that stop and make you say, “Wow, that was a great ad,” or “Awe, that was so sweet.”

No longer will we be watching the Super Bowl for the “funny” ads, we will be watching it for the meaningful ones. The Super Bowl is known for its viewership records and advertisers are making their messages count more than ever before.

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