the frequency a kenny chung blog

“Simpsons” from Coca Cola
Apparently, some people liked this commercial. I found it confusing without any real message. Drinking Coca Cola will make an evil (financially and morally) bankrupt billionaire happy? Is that their target audience? To me, it just seemed like Coca Cola creative didn’t have any real ideas and decided that since The Simpsons is universally recognized, it’d be an easy way to create a very, very costly commercial.

“Charles Barkley” from Taco Bell
Why does this commercial exist? I can see it airing during primetime or late night. But during the Super Bowl?! Why is Charles Barkley the spokesperson for anything? Can somebody please answer that?

“KISS” from Dr. Pepper
First of all, KISS is no longer relevant and the original “Dr. Love” campaign was terrible. So what did Dr. Pepper decide to do? They expanded it and aired it during the Super Bowl. “What’s that, you say? There are midgets little people this time around? Then I’m sure it’ll be a lot better.” Except it wasn’t.

“Life Not Wife” by Bridgestone
This was a real disappointment. They went to great lengths for a pretty corny and forced joke. I liked their Alice Cooper/Richard Simmons ad from last year (or at least didn’t hate it), but this one totally underdelivered and frankly, it was boring.

In the “How The Heck Did They Afford a Super Bowl Spot” category:
“Shape-Ups” by Skechers
This commercial was terrible, but Skechers is a big company. So maybe the question isn’t how they purchased a spot, but WHY? It also featured Joe Montana for some reason. Pass.

“Tech Talk” from Metro PCS
I don’t have a link to this commercial, but trust me, you’re better off for that. It blatantly played off of racial stereotypes. It featured two Indian tech gurus talking about Metro PCS cell phone service. It ended with Indian women dancing around the “contestant” on their talk show. It made very little sense, and probably alienated a lot of people without being the slightest bit amusing. How did they not learn from the whole SalesGenie debacle? Also, how did they afford a Super Bowl spot? Are they really doing that well targeting lower class people?

“Sumo” from kgb
kgb is a service where you text a question to someone and pay a fee for them texting you back the answer. It also started when many people didn’t have Smartphones. Now that almost everyone does, this commercial positioned their product against the slowness of typing a question into a search engine in your browser and having to look through search results to find an answer. How do people do that? That sounds so tedious and pointless and totally sounds like something worth paying someone else to do!

Dishonorable Mentions
CBS had a bunch of commercials advertising their subpar primetime lineup. Last year, NBC also aired a lot of commercials for their shows. Network commercials are a really good indicator of how much advertising budgets have been cut. More CBS commercials means fewer companies purchased Super Bowl spots. There was also an ad featuring David Letterman, Jay Leno and Oprah which I cannot explain.

Who was missing?
In a big surprise, Pepsi pulled out of Super Bowl advertising this year, which reminds me of this little piece of satirical excellence from The Onion. Life imitating art? Perhaps. The real reason is that Pepsi is focused more on online advertising. Maybe this was a godsend for Coca Cola, whose two ads were not particularly great. In the same vein, Anheuser-Busch went uncontested in the beer segment. No Heineken. No Michelob. Are Super Bowl ads not as important, or are they just not worth the cost anymore?

Link: Google expands ad targeting methods

Google is toeing a fine line between efficiency and being totally creepy. Like I mentioned in a previous post, Google is a business. It wasn’t built by the people for the people, despite all the happy feelings associated with the company. I love Google products as much as the next guy (unless the next guy works for Apple), but I also understand they can’t side with the public on every issue. So what this new change boils down to is pleasing advertisers versus not alienating its user base.

I’ll play devil’s advocate for both sides. Advertisers can spend a significant monthly budget on Google’s ad networks (e.g. AdWords, Content). So wouldn’t it make sense to please the people paying your bills? Being able to target ads to the right people benefits all parties involved. The advertisers’ ROI should increase, whether from higher CTR (click-through rate) or lower CPC (cost per click). Google’s ad network comes out of this as the most efficient platform for online ad spend. And the user doesn’t get bombarded with as many irrelevant ads and might actually find something useful.

So it’s win-win-win, right?

Maybe not. As I’ve referenced in a previous post, Google seems to be ethically lax with regard to privacy policy. And I know there is a bevy of Internet users who believe tracking cookies are evil and online advertisers are Big Brother. Obviously, this new move by Google doesn’t help to alleviate that feeling.

It’s a delicate balance, and at the moment, I can’t answer how this new policy will affect Google’s brand image. What do you think?

I would be remiss if I didn’t blog about Super Bowl XLIV commercials. I thought last year’s showing was pretty weak (a sign of companies cutting back ad spending), but this year was far worse. There were few that made me laugh out loud, think about something poignant, or really feel any connection to a brand or product.

That is, until Google debuted this wonderful ad titled “Parisian Love”:

Watching it made my jaw drop. It was moving, impressively simple, and 100% Google. It positioned Google as a product anyone at any stage of their life will find useful. It clearly conveyed the point that everybody needs to be using Google. All of the search engine’s many features (translations, maps, directory listings, web definitions, etc.) were seamlessly integrated into the storyline. But it was also simple. It was almost exclusively words typed onto a screen. Anybody with a video editing program could’ve created it from their bedroom.

So why did Google decide to purchase a Super Bowl spot? Maybe the execs felt that Yahoo and Microsoft becoming bedfellows pose a serious threat to Google’s search engine market share. Or maybe it was to combat Apple, who also touts simplicity and usability with all its products, especially the iPhone. But then again, Google has also burst onto the mobile handset scene with its Android operating system. However, this will be a discussion for another time.

Throughout the night, I updated my twitter @kennySHARKchung with my thoughts regarding each commercial break. I decided to create a bracket system that got a little messy; I refined it with some minor changes, and you can see how I decided on my favorite ad by clicking the thumbnail below:

Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment.

I’ll do a more in-depth analysis of the Super Bowl spots and other honorable mentions.

Update: Turns out Google didn’t even create that ad specifically for the Super Bowl. It’s been available online for 3 months. Somehow I find that more impressive. Sounds like they have ultimate faith in their creative (not to mention the input of the public).