Feb. 6th, 2013

Superbowl Ad Recap: Less Talking Animal, More Oil-Drenched Cookie.

For those of you who were face-deep in the guac during the commercials, enjoy our biased topline summary. For those of you who missed the game entirely, be glad your face muscles got to relax rather than violently cringe while watching the 49ers try to defend the pass. Any pass. Eesh. The 34-minute blackout was more fun to watch than that shoulda-been-a-comeback final play. It’s ok, though, because GIANTS. And now a message from our sponsors.

The ones that made us laugh:

Oreo, “Whisper Fight”


Though the ad’s premise is somewhat bunk (everyone knows it’s the complement of cookie and cream that makes Oreos boss), we love Wieden + Kennedy’s decision to bring a quiet riot to life. A gargantuan budget never hurts either. But the brand’s true victory came right after the blackout began, when Oreo execs and 360i created this piece of cleverness in a matter of minutes. It’s since been re-tweeted over 15,000 times.


That’s just genius,” said Michal Ann Strahilevitz, professor of marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. “Someone had to come up with it in a few minutes — not in a few weeks or a few months. That’s what brilliant marketing is. You can’t do that on TV. Social media lets you respond to something in the moment.”                MSN News, February 4, 2013

Wait a sec. Is that Mortar’s client Golden Gate University getting a plug on a major media outlet? Score one for Mortar’s PR team, giving GGU a voice in MSN and NBC News.

We even enjoyed Oreo’s wacky Instagram stunt, promoted in the TV spot. It’s rare to see a call-to-action with a decent reward these days.


GoDaddy, “YourBigIdea.CO”

Though we lost our pre-game lunch watching the ad we know you’ve heard way too much about, we’ll admit that GoDaddy’s other spot almost made it up for it. And it didn’t contain one gratuitous hot model or half-clothed boobie! The spot comically demonstrates that if you don’t claim ownership of your big idea before Bobby V in Bahrain does, you could lose out big time. Creating brand awareness and driving urgency at once? That’s almost, like, the perfect ad. Like being sexy and smart. Like…never mind.

Honorable Mentions:

Tide, “Miracle Stain” – A stain that looks like Joe Montana can’t fail.

Samsung, “The Next Big Thing” – Celebrity candy + sharp writing. Always a winning formula.


The ones that made us cry:

Dodge Ram, “Farmer”


When you’re in a room that’s overflowing with testosterone and Tapatío, it’s easy to make fun of the serious ads – especially ones that employ the Ken Burns effect in 2013. But this really is a beautiful spot with an important message. Props to The Richards Group for bravely eschewing high-powered footage and quick cuts in favor of stunning photography and Paul Harvey’s magnetic soliloquy.

Budweiser, “Brotherhood”


We were surprised at the dearth of talking animals in this year’s Super-ads. Guess people figured that horse had been beaten to death. Yet that didn’t stop Budweiser from penning a tearjerker tale starring America’s favorite odd-toed ungulate, the Clydesdale. Unoriginal? Yup. Sappy? Completely. But it still got us good.


The ones that made us headbangdesk:

Coca-Cola, “Coke Chase 2013”


There’s nothing like a making a bland ad everyone hopes will just end already, and then forcing viewers to make it last even longer. At least there wasn’t, until Coke wasted millions of dollars on this spot. It couldn’t hold our attention if it dangled a bucket of chicken and $1000 in front of us. Cowboys and showgirls chasing a desert mirage? It’s miles from original, yet we’re supposed to be teetering so hard on the edge of our seats that we care to vote on the ending? But, but – you can hashtag it! #See? C’mon Coke. A veteran like you should know a glitzy medium never outshines a nonexistent message.


Budweiser, “Black Crown”“We summoned the finest of this nation to help us taste and choose…the new Budweiser Black Crown.” Beer By Committee? What could go wrong? It’s clear the ads were made by committee. We could almost smell the crisp hundred-dollar-bills burning.

Beck’s, “Sapphire” – Um, what? Have an out-of-work fish from Finding Nemo flap his fins around a beer named “sapphire” that has nothing sapphire about it? This spot left us feeling empty inside. Though ironically, it did make us need a drink.


What about you, esteemed reader? Tell us what you loved/hated in the comments.


  • Judy Gundersen
    Feb. 28th, 2013

    I LOVED the Oreo ad! So cool, with the whispering “I’m calling the police” etc cracked me up.

    I agree that the showgirls and cowboys ad was awful…2 minutes later, I forgot what the ad was about…waste of money.

    And coming up with the dunk in the dark Oreo was supremely clever; hope that person got a big bonus!

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