The Best Of The Super Bowl Ads: Number One

It’s finally here. You’ve stuck through an entire week of my teasing, fumbling, and a complete and utter psyche in the form of a trick entry, but it’s that moment you’ve all been waiting for. It’s my absolute tip top number one advert in my Top Big Favourite Five Ads Of The Super Bowl That Weren’t Even Shown In This Country.

Spoiler: It’s not actually one advert. It’s three. HAH

That’s right! My favourite commercials out of the entire 67 aired on Super Bowl Sunday are the collection brought to us by Doritos, and their absolutely ground breaking competition, ‘Crash The Super Bowl’. You see, the amazing thing about these adverts is that there were no creatives, there were no creative directors, there were no planners or media buyers, and there was no advertising agency. There was just a brief, and the general public.

The idea behind the ‘Crash The Super Bowl’ competition is incredibly straight forward. There was a brief. A vastly open ended brief. A brief, that as a creative, I absolutely despise whenever I see it. There was no criteria past ‘make it entertaining’, and ‘include the product’. The competition is open to every Tom, Dick and Harry with a phone, video camera, or portable camera so long as they have an idea. And here in lies the beauty of the competition. Ideas.

Creatives can slave over briefs for hours, not coming up with anything productive after their third possible campaign has been absolutely destroyed by a creative director. As creatives, they’re probably more self aware and self depricating when it comes to their own ideas in relation to what a member of the general public would think or feel. This, naivety (in the sense that they’re not working towards what a creative director may want to see, or the constraints of a brief) that the general public may have in place of a creative, means that they don’t care if their ad contains a talking dog, or a walking cactus, or a member of family coming back from the dead. They have no one higher up to tell them it’s a silly idea and won’t work, and they definitely don’t have anything to lose by presenting the idea!

On the placements I’ve been given, and on all of the book critiques I’ve been to, I can pretty much tell within the first five to ten seconds if an idea has absolutely bombed or not, but that’s because I’m knowledgeable to what certain creative directors want to see, and it’s pretty easy to spot that sigh of ‘oh for fucks sake, it’s another gorilla playing drums’. My portfolio, is in essence, still a student book. That means CDs will probably want to see stuff that their existing creative teams would never think of. They want to be shocked, they want to laugh, some have told me they want to be flat out offended, but more often than not, they want to see a clear and defined thought process. They want to know that I’ve understood target audiences, and actually thought about how I will be communicating with that target audience.

The absolute stroke of genius behind the ‘Crash The Super Bowl’ campaign, is that the people participating in competition are unaware that they are in fact, the target audience behind the campaign. If you’re creating an advert for the product, then you’re sure as hell going to be watching come Super Bowl time to see which ad won, and why it was deemed better than yours. I can say quite confidently that most creators of content will have a passion for what they’re trying to sell, or at least be a fan of the product.

It’s like asking a creative what would be the one brief that they want to fall into their laps. Not in terms of budget, or time constraints, or people involved, but what product would they love to advertise. I imagine some would go for fast cars, the newest speck of technology, a certain brand of clothing, or a particular lifestyle choice, but the one thing that all these creatives will have in common, is that the product they’ve chosen, will be something they’re passionate about. Without getting into the subject of brand loyalty (as that’s for another day), I would climb over hot coals to be the creative given an Adidas brand building brief, an Apple brand building brief, or a Canon brand building brief. These are three companies that I like. They bring out products that I’m interested in, and I feel I some how associate with what they believe their ‘target audience’ is. As some one who is a fan of their product, I’d try to be the guy who created the coolest, slickest, shit hottest advert that they’ve ever had the pleasure of commissioning. Come to think of it, wouldn’t you?

To go back to the ‘Crash The Super Bowl’ campaign. Sure, the product in question isn’t an Audi R8, or the newest and smallest iPhone, but it happens to be something that every one has experience in. It’s a bloody crisp! I’d hedge a bet that everyone ever has at least had one Dorito in their life time. That makes it a product that entire generations can draw on experience from. If that’s the case, then any one can have an idea on how to make something funny concerning a crisp. Just look at how different the entries turned out to be, and how distanced some actually got from the product in question. A dog that knocks down doors for a treat. A shit housemate that manages to bring a relative back to life through a stroke of unimaginable genius. Finally a strange man that loves the taste of Doritos so much that he goes around sucking fingers and sniffing strangers trousers just to get a little bit more. All three entries are different, but still end up selling the same thing. While it may not be the fact that Doritos are crunchier than the next crisp, or they taste better, we’re being sold the brand. It’s almost as if Doritos are saying ‘Hey, that funny thing you’ve just watched and been entertained by, we commissioned that! Aren’t we cool! EAT US’. It’s as if Doritos are sponsoring creativity, rather than advertising their product. And by the by, if you’re ever wondering, it sure as hell works.

I do feel I’ve waffled on a bit, and this entry may not be the most coherent I’ve written, but it’s obvious that these three adverts (Yes, I know Pepsi had another three ads submitted by the public, but they really weren’t as good as these Doritos ones) get to take pride and place at the top of my Super Bowl list. They’re funny. They’re different. They’re entertaining. Most of all, they were likely made by people with absolutely no advertising background at all. It must suck to be the creative behind one of the ads in my worst of list, as they should know this industry, and they should be able to one up some guy/girl with a funny idea from the bum-fuck of no where. I mean, isn’t that what they’re paid for? I’m not trying to say I’d do a better job of advertising their products, but in the form of a bad metaphor, it’s like Manchester United being beaten in their first playing round of the Carling Cup by a pub team that met two days prior to the game… Or is that a simile. I can never remember. Oh who cares. I over analyse things way too much.

These ads were funny, and were created by complete novices. For that, they need to be praised. In a dog eat dog industry that sometimes threatens to turn itself stale, an industry filled with financial woes and creativity problems, it’s nice when a good idea, no matter who or what wrote it, gets to shine through purely for being just that; a good idea.

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