I tend to judge the ritually over-hyped Super Bowl ads by two simple aspects: 1) Do they present the advertiser’s value proposition in a clear and positive light?; and 2) Do they intrigue me enough to try or recommend the product or service being advertised?

Conversely, my least favorites are those ads that denigrate their brand image for the sake of laughs and transparently play to members of the advertising industry. I have not watched all of Super Bowl XLIII’s commercials (due to SBAFS – Super Bowl Ads Fatigue Syndrome), but here are two examples of my favorite and least favorite types of Super Bowl ads:

Favorite Example

Brand: Denny’s
Title: Thugs / Serious Breakfast
Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Directed by: The Perlorian Brothers
Voice: Burt Reynolds
Why I like it:
Provides an interesting lead-in to an intriguing offer: “This Tuesday from 6AM to 2PM everyone in America can receive a free Grand Slam breakfast”.  I haven’t been to Denny’s in many years, but that might change tomorrow. What better way to spend marketing dollars but directly on new prospects (and iHop customers)?
Other Examples:
Hulu.com for strengthening brand awareness in the crowded market of online video portals in a straightforward and humorous fashion.
Universal Studio Parks for providing a visually captivating story that taps into one’s inner super hero and ends with an offer of a free 7-day pass.

Least Favorite Example
Brand: Careerbuilder.com
Title: Tips
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland
Why I do not like it:
Annoyingly repetitive and negative, with an unoriginal and tired theme that - surprise - many people hate their jobs. It’s as if CareerBuilder.com wants us to mentally position their site as the place where masochistic complainers post their resumes. This is not a great message to send to quality employers and job seekers. And did I mention that this theme is tired? That this theme is tired? That this theme is tired?...

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