Dumb and dumber: Product advertisers and consumers

Dan Almasi, Sports Editor

The Super Bowl is the pinnacle of American sports and it’s by far the most-watched television event in America. By default, Super Bowl commercials are considered the pinnacle of television advertising, and the huge audience available to advertisers draws a huge price tag — $4.5 million for a 30-second time block, up $500,000 from last year. But I noticed something while watching this year’s Super Bowl commercials – I learned little to nothing about the products and organizations being advertised.

I definitely enjoyed this year’s Super Bowl commercials. They were entertaining and often funny. However, I like to think that as a consumer, I’m not swayed or partial to a product or idea simply because of a commercial that made me laugh or kept my attention if it provided no reasoning as to why the actual product is a good one.

Typically, an effective commercial will tell the consumer a bit about a product. It seems the marketing directors of the respective organizations that advertise during the Super Bowl have concluded that the American people are more easily swayed by humor, shock and transference – the idea that associating a well-known, respected person or idea with their product will cause consumers to directly associate that person or idea with their brand and/or product.

One of the longest Super Bowl ads this year was “The First Draft Ever,” a minute-long ad for Avocados From Mexico featuring former NFL players Jerry Rice and Doug Flutie commentating on various nations “drafting” plants and animals specific to their regions. Mexico drafts avocados. Nothing about the health benefits or quality of the avocados that are grown in Mexico are mentioned.

I guess the Mexican avocado farmers just wanted to remind America that if they need some avocados, they need to look no further than to their neighbors to the south. The only thing I took from the commercial was that if Mexican avocado farmers can afford to produce and air a $10 million commercial, Americans eat way too much guacamole.

Lexus advertised their new line of NX Turbo Hybrid SUVs with a 30-second commercial. There is no script for the first 20 seconds of the commercial, just quickly changing shots of people driving unnecessarily fast through a dimly lit parking garage, a man dancing interpretively and a woman flicking her soaking wet hair back. Once the narrator finally comes in, he does not mention anything about the vehicle’s specifications, but instead introduces the car and ends the commercial with a meaningless slogan — “Be seen, be heard, make some noise.” Literally nothing about why a Lexus is a quality, reliable vehicle is advertised.

I don’t know how or why any of the aspects of Lexus’ commercial are what is considered effective advertising, but to me, the commercial is nothing more than a testament to the general American consumer’s ineffective rationale. The commercial made me want a Lexus less, if anything (which is a good thing, because I definitely can’t afford one).

Then there’s Loctite Glue. Loctite’s 37-second commercial consisted of a very average-looking (that’s putting it nicely), fanny pack-donning group of people dancing, or perhaps twerking, if you will, to a reggae-style electronic rap about glue with a plain, white backdrop. I’m not sorry for that run-on sentence; I had to provide a visual that does this oddity of a commercial justice. The commercial ends with an odd-looking woman sitting on her even-odder-looking husband’s lap, saying “Loctite Glue saved our marriage.” They took advantage of social media by creating a hashtag that was displayed at the end of the commercial – #WinAtGlue. Because what everyone does on social media, apparently, is talk about glue.

Americans love weird things, myself included. However, the way I see it is if a company doesn’t take their product seriously, why should the consumer? I’m not sure how the increase in Loctite Glue sales as a result of the commercial will compensate for the cost of the $5-6 million it cost, but if it does, the idea of that is even stranger to me than the commercial itself.

Like I said, I enjoyed this year’s Super Bowl commercials. But every time I see a stupid commercial that just shouldn’t be effective, I ask myself the same question – is everyone in the marketing department of the advertising company stupid, or is the average American consumer?

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