A good Super Bowl commercial (or really any commercial) will make the viewer feel something – it will make us laugh, it will make us cry, but it will find something to help us make an emotional connection with both the commercial and the product that it is selling. This year’s Super Bowl commercials were no different.
Name: Steffany Reeve, director of consumer and lifestyle brands
Why I Liked It: Since the actual game was depressing to watch with my husband who is a big Broncos fan, I was drawn to commercials that made me laugh, inspired me and tugged on my heart strings in a positive way. One ad that nearly brought me to tears was Microsoft’s “Empowering” spot. The commercial was narrated by former NFL player Steve Gleason, who uses voice recognition software to communicate with his son and shares the message that technology can improve our lives and can help create miracles. The compilation of scenes that included a young boy walking and playing baseball with artificial legs, a soldier using Skype to watch the birth of his baby, a blind man using technology to paint, and a women hearing herself for the first time, was captivating and powerful. To provoke emotion and capture the audience’s hearts is an ad style that I believe will prove effective and memorable for Microsoft.
Why I Liked It: This commercial resonated with me on so many levels. Let’s start with the professional level. As a communications professional, it’s my opinion that good communication — whether it a pitch to a writer, a story in a magazine or a television commercial — should illicit some kind of emotion from the person on the receiving end. “A Hero’s Welcome” did that. With its cast of real people and idyllic Main Street, flag-waving parade, I feel that it captured the essence of America. I imagine that millions of viewers felt nostalgic and proud, and for a mere moment, forgot about the travesty of a game.
On a personal level, this commercial had me in tears. All the leading men in my life — my husband, father, brother, grandfather, stepfather and father-in-law — are either active Army or Army vets. I am unable to put into words the amount of respect I have for our servicemen and women, and I’m elated that Budweiser chose to honor a real life solider so publicly. Not only did they honor him, but I felt like they also perfectly captured the wide range of emotion wrapped up in homecomings. From the nervousness and anticipation to happiness and elation, I felt like I was welcoming my soldier home as I watched!
Of course, after the commercial my husband turned to me and joked, “That’s what I expect for my next homecoming.” Any chance for a round two, Budweiser?
Why I Liked It: As the owner of a Lab and a lover of the breed, I thought this was the sweetest commercial and truly captured both the loyalty and playfulness of the breed. The commercial brought a tear to my eye.
The Best of the So-So: RLF Reviews This Year’s Super Bowl Commercials
By now everyone knows that last night’s Super Bowl featured a blowout game and very few truly memorable commercials. As RLF’s Creative Director Ron Irons put it: “The game was sad. The commercials a tragedy. What few commercials I watched were boring and full of borrowed interest. The good ones are rare these days.”
However, there were a few bright spots among the mostly unremarkable Super Bowl commercials, and for the next few days, we will be highlighting some of the commercials that captured our attention.
Why I Liked It: In an evening that featured a disappointing football match-up and an even more dismal array of commercials, Coca-Cola demonstrated why it’s one of the most popular brands on earth. What started as another ad featuring a tried-and-true patriotic song morphed into a beautiful, moving and unexpected visual and auditory feast. Seven languages from diverse cultures, blended together to celebrate our country’s rich tapestry. The fact that the ad ignited immediate criticism and controversy were proof that it touched people and stirred their emotions. America is a country that still inspires the world to treasure our freedoms and simple joys. That’s worth a Coke and a smile.
Name: Michelle Rash, director of financial and professional services brands
Favorite Commercials:“The Phone Call” from Radio Shack and “Wings” from Volkswagen Why I Liked Them: While on the surface, these commercials may seem very different, I see a common thread running through them – brands accepting, and poking fun at, the reality of how they are perceived in the marketplace.
While I am certainly not an electronics genius, or even a likely Radio Shack customer, my perception of the store is that is has become out-of-date and irrelevant with the rise of other electronics stores and the ability to order anything you need online. I think this commercial did a great job of embracing that “stuck in the 80s” reputation, using it to announce a new, updated Radio Shack. Based on the commercial, my guess is the key demographic for the “new” Radio Shack will be people in their 30s and 40s, and showcasing so many icons of the 80s in the commercial successfully grabbed their attention, created a sense of nostalgia and got them talking – at least if my Facebook and Twitter feeds are any indication.
Likewise, Volkswagen embraces the car company’s reputation for making very reliable, dependable cars and uses it to create an entertaining, and slightly unexpected, commercial, as the company’s engineers are rewarded with wings for each car that reaches 100,000 miles. Today, so many companies take themselves too seriously, so it was refreshing to see Volkswagen find a creative approach to discussing, and enhancing, its reputation in the market.
2010 Sabre Awards Dinner
Even in a deep recession, the public relations profession is turning out amazing and meaningful work for clients.
That thought has resonated for me during the last month, since I attended the SABRE awards dinner at the gorgeous Cipriani building across from Grand Central Station in New York City in May. More than 1,000 public relations professionals had gathered for one of the big three awards shows to honor the best campaigns and teams in our industry (the PR Week Awards and Silver Anvil Awards are the other two major national awards).
Paul Holmes, the organizer of the SABRE Awards – which stands for Superior Achievement in Branding and Reputation – set the tone for the evening when he remarked that despite all of the economic troubles that have challenged our industry, the number of entries for SABRE recognition set a record (1,700) and the quality had never been higher.
As Paul noted, public relations has demonstrated that reach and frequency are not enough to create successful outcomes in today’s world. There must be engagement as well, and public relations has taken a leadership position among the communications disciplines in creating engaging, meaningful campaigns. This is particularly true in the realm of social media, which our profession has done a remarkable job of weaving into the overall communications mix.
Over the course of five hours (from the first cocktail to the closing coffee), Aleasha Vuncannon and I had the opportunity to talk with fascinating professionals from around the country, review the lists of finalists for the awards in each category, and enjoy the pageantry of an event as a participant (instead of as a behind-the-scenes organizer, which is our normal role!).
And when our time came, when the finalists for the top campaign in the category of Educational & Cultural Institutions were announced, we were thrilled to hear that our work in partnership with the International Civil Rights Center & Museum had been recognized as the best in our business. We had felt like it was worthy of this recognition. We knew how hard our team had worked and how much had been accomplished. Yet, we still held our breath in anticipation as the winner was announced, because every campaign that had made the finals had strong results. It felt good to scream when we heard the results.
Here is a brief glimpse into the work that we did for the grand opening of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum:
After the dinner, Aleasha and I walked through Times Square at midnight, dressed in our best clothes, carrying a deceptively heavy trophy and reflecting on the evening (not surprisingly, no one batted an eye at us or thought we were out-of-place in the crazy scene that is Times Square). It feels good to do great work for clients, to create campaigns that generate meaningful results and advance our client’s objectives. We do this work not for awards, but when we strive to be one of the very best agencies in our industry, it is evenings like this that provide the mileposts to let us know that our agency is on the right road.
And the Winner Is…..RLF Communications
RLF Communications, led by its Creative Director Ron Irons, had a big night at the AAF Triad’s Addy Awards on Saturday. More than 150 people representing advertising agencies throughout the Triad attended this annual event honoring the best creative work in the region. Though it was RLF’s first time entering this competition, it sure wasn’t beginner’s luck that we ended the night with 14 awards – all for work done on behalf of our client, the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.
RLF won the “Best of Show”, the evening’s highest honor, for the following ad:
RLF won a “Judge’s Choice” award (one of two) for the following ad:
In addition, RLF took home eight Gold ADDY awards and four Silver ADDY awards for other creative work on behalf of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum. Congratulations to Ron Irons and everyone at RLF Communications for these well-earned honors