Super FINE Ad Awards 2015: The good, the bad, the epic wastes of money.

Posted in Insights

The big game’s over. A team won. But the bigger game’s still undecided - the contest between those $4.5MM 30-second bids for attention you saw. Here’s our take on who scored and who deserves a penalty (you know, for things like cheesy sports analogies).

1. MVP

Mophie Powers All Of Creation.

A relative unknown, Mophie could’ve introduced themselves with a product-centric ad about phones charging. Instead, they tapped into smartphone juice addiction at every level of society, right up to the big phone user in the sky. Anyone who’s gone without connectivity for 5 minutes understands the unhinged feeling depicted here. And the broader statement positions them for bigger things, establishing Mophie’s brand as a power player for today’s devices and however they take shape tomorrow.

2. Excessive Celebration

Mountain Dew Kick Starts The Party.

Mountain Dew got the party started before kickoff with the over-the-top “Come Alive” spot for its Kick Start energy drink brand. When three 20-something males take healthy swigs, the night - and the room - come alive. Infectious music inspires rapid-fire dance moves from furniture, people, trophies – everything in the room including the drinkers themselves (who bust prodigious moves even though you’d never have pegged them as dancers). What’s the benefit? Pure energy and lifeforce. No biggie. Find the extended, interactive version online to put yourself in the same space.

3. Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Budweiser Positions Itself As A Bully Beer.

Anheuser-Busch and their Goliath conglomerate ABInBev went after craft beer David’s everywhere with their “Proudly a Macro Beer” ad. See, like their counterparts in fast food, mass beer’s market share’s been slipping as smaller players use innovative tactics, like making things in smaller quantities that taste good. If that weren’t true, the big guys wouldn’t be snapping up smaller brands – AB, for instance, recently bought a brand that makes the very pumpkin beer they mock in this ad. There’s a place for craft and mass, and this ads preaching to Bud’s mass choir. But judging by the Twitter response, the growing group who know and care about the difference ain’t buying Bud’s story unless they put a puppy in it (the story, not the beer).

4. Positive Gains

Coke Shares Another Smile

Using hashtags in ads is nothing new. But Coke used the biggest stage and #MakeItHappy to start an online dialogue about an issue important to the next generation of Coke drinkers – cyberbullying and hateful words online. In the ad, hurtful messages become positive ones, and viewers are invited to extend that practice to where they can “happyify” tweets. By Monday, the site had 500k+ “happy uploads” including some from celebrity influencers. And the idea to use a hashtag hand gesture in photos, adds a positive spin to the incredible number of images online, even without using words.

5. Worst Fumble

Nationwide Pays $4.5MM To Remind You That Unthinkably Bad Things Can Happen For Which No Insurance Could Ever Possibly Compensate You. Hey, Thanks.

The only person who thinks this ad was good is Pete Carroll, coach of the Seattle Seahawks, because it makes the play-call that lost his team the game seem genius by comparison.

6. Biggest Blowout

Kim’s Back At It For T-Mobile

We were told Kim’s rump broke the Internet. And yet here it is again, selling us the very data plans we can use to view it ever more. She’s a remarkably successful brand of celebrity, and she’s the force behind successful video games, fashion, reality television, and more. T-Mobile’s made some good moves in shaking up the mobile industry. So it may just work. But there’s something so wasteful in shelling out big bucks to borrow even more interest in Kim’s behind that it makes one want to donate all their unused data and take a vow of Internet silence.

7. The (Attention) Interception

Putting The Humble Avocado On The Map

In an arena packed with beer, technology, and sexual tension, Avocados from Mexico stood out. Their approach was on point for a brand people never think about: they made their seconds count by being instantly applicable to their audience and the setting. A play on the first ever draft, we see animals and agriculture getting picked by their respective countries. Effortlessly humorous (how can you not laugh at a sombrero-wearing polar bear futilely wishing for the beach?), it’s a creative way to sell the place as an important part of the product. Avocados from Mexico may have less recognition than names we’ve come to expect during the Big Game, but it’s usually the underdogs that people remember.

8. The Turnover

Weight Watchers Changes Industry Culture

Weight Watchers is no stranger to great branding. In December, they took top honors as FINE’s Best Branded Content of the month. For the Super Bowl, the brand often known for its lighthearted and humorous mashups about the temptation of food at every turn (and its celebrity talking heads), added a subtle political undertone, along with a strong connotation of drug use, likened to overeating. Did you recognize the voice? Yep, it’s Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad, just in case viewers needed a pop culture tie to the whole drug comparison.

It’s a commentary on the supersizing of American food culture - a pretty strategic choice considering Weight Watchers sells “help” and “tools” over a “diet plan”. Not only does the commercial steal the attention of those commercial breakers (who are most likely scarfing down their third round of nachos), but it’s plain memorable.

Honorable Mention: Carnival Corporation “Come Back to the Sea”

There’s never been a shortage of bad marketing out there. And it’s always refreshing to see those who manage to do it well and employ a real strategy. Keep a lookout for FINE’s monthly Best Branded Content to learn how to do just that. Game on.


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