Watching football

4 Qualities That Can Make a Super Bowl Ad a Classic

Super Bowl commercialsThe Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl, and now begins the best commercial debate. It takes these four qualities to make a good ad—and spending lots of money isn’t one of them.

Did you happen to tune in to a little thing called the Super Bowl last night? If you’re an advertiser and want to tap into the viewing audience of one of the most hyped sporting events of the year, it’s going to cost a pretty penny.

There’s plenty of hype about those high-dollar ads too. While fans of the winning team are still reveling in victory and the runner-up licks its wounds, the rest of us busy ourselves with a different game: Who had the best commercial?

According to the Washington Post, Best Buy’s “Asking Amy” and Tide’s “Miracle Stain” commercials were among the top five, along with Budweiser’s tearjerker “The Clydesdales: Brotherhood.” Earning low marks, according to the Washington Post, were any commercial, Volkswagen’s “Get Happy” and Gildan’s “Getaway.”

But while the debate rages on, what fundamentals should you stick to to get your money’s worth? Every Day With Rachael Ray magazine tackled that question with a Syracuse University advertising professor. Dr. Edward W. Russell said a commercial that touched on these traits could make a pricey ad a most memorable one as well. And to prove his point, we’ll jog your memory by referencing some of the best Super Bowl commercials from the past.

The Element of Surprise. Didn’t see that striped beetle turning out to be a Volkswagen ad or Joan Rivers being unveiled as the GoDaddy girl? That unexpected twist can help make a commercial a classic. Remember the debut of Snickers’ ad with Betty White? Of course you do.

Quality Storytelling. What kid (or kid in us) can’t relate to Volkswagen’s “The Force” ad with a pint-sized Darth Vader trying to wield his “powers?” Or haven’t we all had a parking lot experience similar to the chimps? Yeah, they’re simple stories, but that just keeps ‘em relatable.

Good Sense of Humor. The majority of the Super Bowl viewing audience is male, but guys don’t mind laughing at themselves. They forget things, say the wrong things (sometimes), but we still love ‘em. Doritos’ “Healing Power” commercial was pretty spot on poking fun at the friend who forgets to water the plants or feed the fish.

The Lovable Underdog. There’s one in every game, every competition, nearly every scenario. In the absence of our team in the big game, the underdog team usually can pick up a few extra “fans” because we love to see the little guy win. One of the most timeless of these came from Budweiser featuring the donkey who fancied himself a Clydesdale.

What Super Bowl commercial gets your vote as the best?