VW’s new effort shows how hard it is to get expensive Super Bowl ads right

Commercially, it’s the greatest show on Earth, with 30-second spots commanding over $3.5m apiece – an up to 30 per cent increase on the previous season. ITV chief executive Adam Crozier can only gaze upon the 2012 London Olympics slots he wishes he had, wish he was at the helm of NBC, and despair.

Yes, it’s the Super Bowl, coming your way in the UK (if you have satellite or cable) this weekend – a US sports fest so intense that no advertiser of substance – in cars, beer, movies, softs drinks or snacks – can comfortably afford to exclude itself from the 111 million expected viewers and not-to-be-surpassed Nielsen awareness ratings.

So great advertising too? Frankly, despite the unique showcase, most ads aren’t as super as they might be. That’s for a variety of reasons. Some clients like to play it safe (and can you blame them, with that amount of money at stake?). Others overdo it. Drunk with earlier success, they get too tricksy and self-referential.

I wonder if Volkswagen and Deutsch LA haven’t fallen into that trap. Last year, they stole the show with ‘The Force’ (aka ‘Little Darth’), which made Nielsen’s coveted annual ‘Most Liked’ list and took a Cannes Gold Lion for dessert.

This year, they’ve stuck to Star Wars but gone for animals rather than children.

I’m afraid I’m with the Dark Father on this one. The bloke with the funny prosthetic nose (above) is just plain wrong.

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About Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith is one of the most incisive and knowledgeable commentators on global marketing. He was a long-time editor of Marketing Week during the period when it was the UK's leading marketing, media and advertising specialist publication. Visit Stuart Smith Blog.
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