The New Orleans Saints' victory over Indianapolis may have sparked the most memorable party Bourbon Street has ever seen, but many of the ads -- especially those from heavy hitters like Anheuser-Busch and Coca-Cola -- were mostly forgettable.
Viewers loved watching old-timers Betty White and Abe Vigoda get tackled for Snickers, and its "You're Not You" spot scored the most votes in this year's Adbowl, an online voting contest. Doritos came in second with "House Rules," in which a cheeky tyke slaps a tough guy around. Next came "Parisian Love," from Google, "Punch Dub," by Volkswagen, and in fifth place, another Doritos ad --"Underdog," in which a clever canine puts a shock collar on his owner.
But perhaps the biggest news is the flatness of the Anheuser Busch creative. "The Bud ads, especially, were a big letdown," Steve McKee, president of McKee Wallwork Cleveland, the Albuquerque, N.M.-based ad agency that has organized the Adbowl for 10 years running, tells Marketing Daily. "It's almost like the ads are frozen in time, and the Clydesdale spot, with the longhorn running aside it, was beyond bad."
Typically, Bud ads are fan favorites. While Bridgestone won for its "Taters" ad last year, Bud brands have scored the No. 1 spot in four of the last five years.
McKee's favorite? "I thought the Google ad was the best, and I liked that it shows that the best ideas aren't necessarily tied to budget. I'm sure it was the cheapest of all the Super Bowl ads to produce, and it was so simple -- almost like a product demo. It was engaging and involving -- it's interesting, all the ways you can tell a story."
McKee also thought Audi's "Green Police" was a hit, and says it seemed to be the night's big winner in terms of generating digital buzz. "Environmentalists don't know whether to love it or hate it," he says.
And the Tim Tebow spot, which generated so much controversy before the game? "Talk about a tempest in a teapot," he says. "There was nothing controversial about it. It makes a good point about how the women's groups that made such a fuss actually wound up drawing more attention to the message than the ad itself would have."
In addition to voting on the Adbowl website, this year, the agency also introduced a free iPhone app, to make voting easier. Balloting allows viewers to rate each spot with one to five stars. In addition to overall winners, the site will also have a breakdown by age and gender.