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Super Advertising Uses Public Relations to Maximize Impact and Make a Personal Connection

I have a dirty little secret to admit. I go to a neighborhood watering hole on Super Sunday primarily to watch the ads in the company of average folks. Sure, I enjoy the game -- especially when it''s close. But the ads are far more consistent in terms of entertainment value than the games are.

The reason I like to get out of the house to see the ads is to get a sense of what really captures the imagination of the audience despite all the noise and distractions. Great ads do two things that also are necessary for great public relations:

  1. They cut through clutter to get their message across. Great advertising accepts that there will be distractions and links the visuals and audio to create a memorable, impactful brand impression. In public relations, you can similarly drive home your message by connecting it to something -- or someone -- the audience truly cares about. Doing so elevates you above the clutter.
  2. They are simple. The best ads can be enjoyed and understood with the sound completely off. As we watched yesterday, the sound was terrible, but the crowd went wild for Budweiser''s "Magic Fridge" spot. Watch it again with the sound off and you''ll see what I mean. It tells the story in pantomime. Same goes for great public relations: you need to simplify the message so it can be understood in an instant.

Do I think that the Super Bowl makes much sense strategically? In an age when marketing is becoming more personalized, it''s hard to make the case that investing $2.6 million for 30 seconds of exposure is really a great idea. However, the very best ads can generate a great deal of buzz -- Technorati.com recorded nearly 500 blog posts related to Super Bowl Ads on February 6 (see chart) -- so the cost of placing the ad becomes an entrance fee of sorts to become a part of that ubiquitous conversation.

Looking at it that way, one can argue convincingly that a Super Bowl ad CAN be a personal experience. In fact, the best advertising uses public relations to extend the exposure far beyond the 30 seconds and to make a personal connection with the audience beyond the game.

Below is how USA Today''s Super Bowl Ad Meter rated this year''s spots. Of course, the real rating comes over the course of the coming year as people make purchasing decisions. Will consumers decide to try something new or have positive feelings about a brand based on the ad? That''s where the advertising rubber meets the road. I certainly wouldn''t drink a particular beer or choose FedEx over DHL because they made me laugh. Actually, I might decide NOT to go through the Burger King drive through because I can''t get the cringe inducing thoughts out of my head about what''s in their Whoppers. 

If nothing else, it''s informative to see what captures the attention and/or imagination of the viewing public...

10 most popular
Company Description Score
Bud Light A secret fridge stocks Bud Light.
8.39
Budweiser Young Clydesdale dreams big.
8.18
FedEx Cave man uses prehistoric overnight delivery.
7.95
Sierra Mist Sierra Mist can''t clear airport security.
7.86
Bud Light Men pretend to work on rooftops, but relax instead.
7.82
Budweiser Sheep streaks at big game.
7.81
Ameriquest Patient''s family walks in on medical misunderstanding.
7.80
Bud Light Office manager motivates employees with hidden bottles.
7.69
Ameriquest Plane turbulence creates awkward situation.
7.67
Budweiser Stadium crowd turns a wave into a Bud promotion.
7.65
The rest
Bud Light Man saves himself from scary bear.
7.64
CareerBuilder Chimps celebrate strong sales quarter.
7.55
CareerBuilder Employees commiserate about workplace animals.
7.43
Sprint Man downloads music for burning couch from Sprint phone.
7.22
Michelob Ultra Amber Touch football gets ugly.
7.03
Dove Dove promotes self-esteem fund for young girls.
6.96
Sharpie Pirate mascot uses retractable Sharpie to sign autographs.
6.82
Nationwide Insurance Life moves fast for romance novel cover star Fabio.
6.73
MasterCard MacGyver buys lifesaving gadgets with MasterCard.
6.59
Walt Disney Promo for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man''s Chest.
6.54
Honda Ad for Ridgeline pickup brings trucking icons to life.
6.53
Ford Motor Kermit says green is good when he sees Escape hybrid.
6.40
GM Hummer Monsters marry and have a Hummer baby.
6.37
Degree for Men People living on the edge in Stunt City.
6.28
Burger King Whopperettes sing and dance.
6.24
Walt Disney Theme park celebrates 50 years.
6.22
NFL Mobile Fan checks scores at checkout line.
6.21
Toyota Tacoma pickup rides out the incoming tide.
6.16
Diet Pepsi Jackie Chan appears in an action film.
6.15
Aleve Leonard Nimoy''s hand pain gets in way of an appearance.
5.95
Here''s to Beer.com Drinkers toast to beer in different languages.
5.91
GoDaddy GoDaddy woman returns in steamy ad.
5.88
Warner Bros. Promo for Poseidon.
5.87
Magnolia Pictures Promo for The World''s Fastest Indian.
5.85
Toyota Boy compares bilingual father to hybrid vehicle.
5.80
Walt Disney Promo for Cars.
5.78
Outback Steakhouse Devoted fan makes like a boomerang.
5.77
Fidelity Paul McCartney as role model.
5.72
Paramount Ads promote Tom Cruise''s Mission: Impossible III.
5.71
GoDaddy GoDaddy woman sends man for oxygen again.
5.68
Major League Baseball Players promote World Baseball Classic tournament.
5.68
Motorola Meteoric explosion helps create new Pebl phone.
5.54
Taco Bell Love blossoms at stoplight.
5.49
Emerald of California Machete men love Emerald Nuts.
5.36
ESPN Mobile (60 sec.) Fan is in sports heaven when he uses ESPN''s mobile phone.
5.34
Walt Disney Chris Berman calls play-by-play on The Shaggy Dog.
5.30
Gillette Five-blade razor is a top secret until now.
5.27
Diet Pepsi Diet Pepsi sings with Diddy.
5.22
PS Cleaning Products Some people avoid germs by living in green suits.
5.20
Warner Bros. Promo for V for Vendetta.
5.14
Westin Hotels Breathe and relax in smoke-free hotels.
5.06
New Line Cinema Ad for new action movie Running Scared.
5.05
Warner Bros. Promo for 16 Blocks.
5.04
5 least popular
ESPN Mobile (30 sec.) Fan is in sports heaven when he uses ESPN''s mobile phone.
5.04
GM Cadillac New Escalade truck poses on the catwalk as fashion model.
4.96
Overstock.com O as part of life.
4.91
Slim-Fast Four-hour hunger control.
4.28
Gillette Razor brand unveils 5-blade system.
4.05
Dan Keeney
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Author: Dan Keeney
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