Whippersnapper Makes Seasoned Marketer Feel Old (A Millennial’s Reactions to Super Bowl Ads)

Feb 4, 2018

I can usually get through an entire day without feeling old, but when our new intern dropped the bomb on me that he was born right around the time I was tossing my high school graduation cap in the air, I felt more than a little deflated.

During our casual debate about whether the branding payoff of Super Bowl ads is really worth their exorbitant cost, I was met with a blank stare when I mentioned the staying power of the Bud-weis-er frogs ad. Saying “Wasssaaaap!” didn’t ring a bell with him, either. And it got worse from there. “Who’s Cindy Crawford?,” he says, right before he admits not having seen Back to the Future.

This eager, determined young man is probably going to run his own agency one day, but he’ll do it without knowing where the beef is, or why it’s a big deal that Mikey likes it. But that’s ok. He just sees the world differently, and that’s worth embracing.

As our conversation progressed, I became more and more intrigued by the various differences in our perspectives, and it inspired me to share that experience.

I had Intern Zach offer his reaction to some of the big game ads. Is your reaction different than his? Let me know where you think he’s wrong. Please—I need something to help suppress my urge to call him a whippersnapper.

Kia: Feel Something Again

Steven Tyler rediscovers his youth in a sleek new Kia Stinger. Kia is clearly making an effort to reposition their brand from the “affordable car” option, to something more exciting and edgy. The car is featured speeding around a race track, taking Steven Tyler back in time to when he was a young man. I really enjoyed this ad; I think it does a great job using nostalgia marketing by tapping into positive cultural memories from previous decades. While this ad seems to have targeted the “midlife crisis” or “get your youth back” segment, I believe it will also result in a positive shift in brand image in the minds of Millennials. I think this ad will be a success for the Kia brand.

Budweiser: Disaster Relief

This feel-good ad highlights Budweiser’s dedication to natural disaster relief and the United States as whole. The ad features the Budweiser production facility completely shutting down beer production and switching to canned water in the wake of a natural disaster. The ad then takes it a step further by listing the locations in the United States where it recently donated canned water in response to natural disasters: Texas, Florida, California, and Puerto Rico. The ad closes with a sincere message: “Whenever you need us, we’ll stand by you.” I believe this ad will hit home with Americans of all ages, and remind people that Budweiser is more than just a beer company, but an American staple.

Bud Light: Bud Knight “Dilly Dilly”

This ad portrays an enormous battle scene filled with horses, dragons, and knights in shining armor. Bud Light is clearly leveraging the popularity of the HBO series “Game of Thrones” to gain viewers’ attention during the big game. It is an exact copy of a major battle scene from the show, and will resonate with many viewers. Millennials have loved all of Bud Light’s “Dilly Dilly” ads, and this one should be no different.

Michelob Ultra: I Like Beer

This ad features Chris Pratt and several other fit individuals drinking Michelob Ultra at a bar, and singing along to the tune “I Like Beer.” The video transitions to show Pratt and the others engaging in an active lifestyle outside of the bar, where the actors are seen biking, swimming, surfing, lifting weights, and even running a marathon. Michelob Ultra is trying to send the message that you can maintain a healthy lifestyle without sacrificing your love for beer. The company is attempting to position itself as the beer that supports an active lifestyle. I don’t think I have ever seen a millennial drink Michelob Ultra, and this ad probably won’t change that.

Pepsi: Pepsi Generations “This is the Pepsi”

Pepsi throws it way back with this retro ad that features a recreation of the company’s 1992 Super Bowl ad with Cindy Crawford. This is another good example of nostalgia marketing; the ad also references the movie Back to the Future, the 1969 moon landing, and 90’s pop icons Michael Jackson and Britney Spears. From a millennial who has never seen the original Cindy Crawford ad or watched Back to the Future, this ad was a pretty big miss for me.

Amazon: Alexa Loses Her Voice

I thought this ad was hilarious. One of the few that actually made me laugh out loud. These days, almost everyone has an Alexa or similar smart device in their home, so everyone can relate to the comical miscommunications that so frequently occur with AI. They also did a great job selecting the celebrities for this commercial. Everyone is guilty of getting sucked into watching Gordon Ramsey cooking videos on Facebook, Cardi-B is the biggest name in Hip-Hop, and Anthony Hopkins is perhaps the best evil/villain actor of all time. Even the cameo from Jeff Bezos was a nice touch. Millennials are going to love this ad.

Avocados from Mexico

This is another one of my favorite ads. People are living peacefully in a perfect, utopia-like bubble that is filled with all the avocados they could ever ask for… except someone forgot the chips. This makes people to lose their minds, only to be consoled when they realize avocados can be eaten on other items such as toast (for sure a jab at millennials). At the end, the Wi-Fi goes down in their bubble and the people go absolutely crazy again (yet another jab at millennials’ dependence on the internet and connectivity). This ad will be a hit.

Toyota: Good Odds

This ad gave me the chills. Everyone loves a true underdog success story, especially when the obstacles are so great. This commercial serves to build and support Toyota’s brand identity as a socially responsible company that does more than just sell cars; they support the Paralympics and build devices to help disabled people become mobile. The ad ends with the phrase “When we’re free to move, anything is possible.” While this line is obviously referencing the mobility of the Paralympian, it is just as much selling the concept of freedom that is obtained through buying a car. While this ad doesn’t make me want to go buy a Toyota, it definitely increases my positive feelings towards the brand, which may impact my future purchasing decisions.

IMPACT Marketing & Public Relations, LLC

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