INSTANT REPLAY: 3 SUPER BOWL ADS I WISH WE COULD DO OVER

Karen’s latest article in the Business Journals touches on the biggest advertising event of the year, the Super Bowl. Join in the conversation by leaving us your comments!

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It’s always fun to play Monday morning quarterback when it comes to the Super Bowl ads. There are always some fan favorites and some duds.

The tone and messaging this year was decidedly subdued and serious, attempting to create a brand connection through emotions and meaningful content told through the storytelling format.

As I listened to the morning coverage and thought about the ads from Sunday night’s game, I wondered what ads I would do differently.

What if any of these products were my clients — how would I have advised them? What may have turned an average ad into an outstanding one? What were the advertising and marketing principles at play?

Here’s what I came up with:

1. Turbo Tax and the Boston Tea Party

The first ad I would want a “do over” for is the Turbo Tax spot that appeared early in the game. It featured a re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party — but reimagined the outcome without paying to file the tax. It highlighted the company’s “Absolute Zero” free federal and state tax filing.

There were a few reasons I didn’t like this ad, but first and foremost is the fact that they already have a successful campaign running called, “Taxes Are Your Life — Only Simpler.” The current campaign cleverly shows various life events that impact your taxes, and that doing your own taxes online should be easy, making it less intimidating to the general consumer. It’s the perfect combination of humor and product positioning. Turbo Tax also uses the tagline, ” It’s Amazing What You’re Capable Of,” which instills confidence and empowerment.

The Super Bowl ad seemingly abandons the current campaign with this one-off historical piece. The ad is dark and heavy, leaving the consumer to either follow the ad until the end to understand the product or make a snack run.

We are in prime tax-prep season, so the timing of the ad is perfect, but the execution was not. Not only was this an expensive spot to run –— at 60 seconds, it cost almost $9 million in media — it also looked like an incredibly expensive spot to produce with a large pool of talent, costumes, a set and props.

Advice:

If I were to advise this client, I would look for a way to expand and build on the current campaign — perhaps with more humor around the life events that impact our taxes. Think of the funny scenarios you could build around having a baby, moving, or even starting a business! The ads would always drive back to the message that doing your own taxes online is easier than you think. I think this is a strong and important message, coupled with the tagline, and they should continue to utilize the equity they’ve earned here.

Marketing Lesson:

Don’t change just for the sake of change (or the sake of the SuperBowl)

Continue reading full article published in the Business Journals here…

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