It has been documented over the last five years of Super Bowl commercials, puppies and horses connect with the audience better than celebrities. But that didn’t stop advertisers this year as this is a full crop of celebrity spokespeople and endorsements. Some were good and others, not so much.
By my count, there were 20 commercials featuring celebrities (human and animated). I’m interested in the best use of the celebrity’s star power and how it plays into the message and strategy. Based on that criteria, here are the award winners:
Best Use of Celebrity Star Power
Anthony Hopkins in TurboTax – Never Sell Out
Within 60 seconds, this spot places the web address of TurboTax.com firmly in your memory just eight weeks before tax day. Anthony Hopkins says Turbo Tax only four times and there are six obvious visual statements about TurboTax. One of the downsides to a celebrity spot is that you remember the celebrity but not the product. Not in this one.
Honorable Mention for Celebrity Star Power
Steven Tyler in Skittles – The Portrait
How many different ways can you talk about Skittles? Their strategy has transitioned from promoting fruity candy to creating Skittles art. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame (and American Idol) catches the viewer’s attention in person and in animated art. It’s simple, straightforward and will be inspiring to Skittle artists. I’m sure you’ll be eating those addictive little candies while making your original art masterpiece.
Most Entertaining Celebrity
Kevin Hart in Hyundai – First Date
Kevin Hart portrays a protective father that uses his Hyundai’s car finder feature to follow his daughter and her date. While this spot will long be remembered for what every dad would like to do when his daughter goes on a date, it is likely that the car finder feature will NOT be remembered. This spot did not rise to the top of my personal ratings poll, but I cannot ignore the fact that it was rated #1 on the USA Ad Meter list of best Super Bowl commercials. The fact that it was a top favorite means it was entertaining, which can bring a lot of value.
Celebrity Amnesia Award…
Given to the spot that will long be remembered for the celebrity but the product will be quickly forgotten….
Christopher Walken in Kia – Walken Closet
This spot was great fun. Christopher Walken was perfectly cast and gives a memorable performance. And that is the problem…at discussions around the office, I am sure that NO ONE is saying “Did you see the Kia Optima Super Bowl commercial?” ‘Nuff said.
Impromptu Celebrity Endorsement
Peyton Manning – Budweiser
During post-game interviews, Peyton Manning was asked if this was his last game.Twice he responded that right now all he wanted to do was kiss his wife, hug his kids and drink a lot of Budweiser. According to Apex MB Analytics, the two mentions of the beer brand name was worth $3.2M to Budweiser. Two years ago, Manning was known to have a stake in two Anheuser-Busch distributorships in Louisiana. His current stake, if any, is unknown.