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Super Bowl Ads: View of an Ad-Meter Judge


About a month ago, I signed up to be an official judge in the annual USA Today Ad Meter judging for the Super Bowl. My thinking was that it would be a fun to let my 7 year old son and 10 year old daughter rate the ads with me during the game -- a little kicker to the Super Bowl experience.

What could go wrong?

Almost everything, as it happened. Bar Rafaeli making out in slow-motion close-up for Go-Daddy.com, and Anheuser-Busch with not one, but two thumping clubbing scenes.

Worst of all the double header of Axe body spray's "Lifeguard" with a young lady who looked roughly 15 years old wearing a tiny bikini and being saved by a body guard sharing a sexually charged moment.

Right around the time we got to 30-seconds of naked torso wearing Calvin Klein underwear, the Macke family shut down the Ad Meter experiment.

The upside was how great the "clean" ads seemed, at least in part, because of the contrast. Bud's Clydesdale baby commercial was genuinely moving.

Skecher's was cute, milk's ad was fun and the Ram ad from Dodge was goose bump city.

Taco Bell's "viva young" was brilliance, even with the folks coming out of the bathroom stall with lipstick on a young man's cheek.

The story of Super Bowl XLVII advertising wasn't the creepiness of some ads but just how great an opportunity there is in putting up commercials the whole family can watch together. A beer company, junk-food merchant and big metal pick-up served up moving, family friendly, clever ads I was happy to rewind.

In terms of what we consume as products, the Macke family came away from our Ad-Meter experience unswayed. My kids aren't drinking beer because they like baby horses. Super Bowl ads are about brand awareness. Right now what I'm mostly aware of is that the folks at Calvin Klein's parent company PVH Corp (PVH) think the only way to sell underwear is to show my daughter a close up of a man's crotch for 30-seconds.

If a company is that bad at spending $4 million of shareholder money, it makes you wonder what's going on in the rest of the operation.