Did the Super Bowl XLVII commercials achieve their goals?

Screenshot of Hyundai commercial, courtesy of Hyundai

Super Bowl commercials try to comply with their audience’s need to be entertained, and in the process, I wonder if the advertisers’ messages are achieving their ultimate goal: selling more of their product. The commercials tend have nice story arcs and entertain us, sure, but why should we buy their products: because their commercials make us laugh or trigger our emotions (I’m looking at you Sarah Mclachlan)?

A thirty-second commercial for the Super Bowl costs upwards of $4 million. This represents roughly a ninety percent increase from those of just a decade ago, according to BleacherReport.com.

A lot of money is put into these stories, and after such a large expenditure, which do we remember most: the product, or the story that was supposed to advertise the product?

My mother doesn’t know what GoDaddy is, and after watching a supermodel make out with a dorky fat kid, she still doesn’t know. Can you blame her? Is it a kinky porn site? Oh no, it’s a domain name registrar for websites, obviously.

When I think of Budweiser, I think of college kids’ beer, not horses. Their commercial this year pulled at the heartstrings, showing a colt grow up to be a full-fledged Budweiser Clydesdale who recognized the man that raised it at the end of the story arc.

What does a horse have to do with beer? My first thought after seeing the commercial was using seemingly irrelevant animals in such a way is not fair. I then discovered that, once upon a time, beer was distributed by a horse and wagon. Anheuser Busch lets no one forget their roots, reminding people that bonds are formed and not forgotten, and that, presumably, people should buy their beer. I didn’t get that from the advertisement, exactly, but I certainly won’t forget about the relationship between the colt and the person.

Other commercials lost their meaning throughout their story arcs. The commercial with Willem Dafoe as the devil wasn’t a bad commercial in terms of entertainment, but the company spent a lot of money producing this commercial and I can’t even remember the brand of the car being featured. I just remember Willem Dafoe playing an entertaining devil.

The same goes for the commercial that talked about why “god made a farmer.” What I got out of that commercial was how much it must suck to be a farmer. The company’s brand was mentioned in the last second at the end of the commercial, but it didn’t stick with me.

Some advertisers did a good job getting a point across, but not necessarily the one they intended. The Rock showed that drinking milk is more important than anything else going on in the world around us.

We now realize that we can rely on our mother, friends, and Hyundai to be there for us whenever we need it.  And whatever you do, never, ever offer a goat Doritos, because it won’t end well.

Companies have become so concerned with the entertainment side of commercials that it seems they have lost sight of their intended purpose: sales. They recognize their audience’s demand to be entertained, but at what cost? Will these commercials pay off?

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