Daniel Fisher - and family - Round Up the Best of the Super Bowl 2019
After rounding up the Christmas ads at the end of 2018 with input from his daughter, Daniel Fisher's back - this time with child number one - to review this year's Super Bowl spots.
I'm not quite sure how this happened. What started off as a bit of inter-sibling peacekeeping has now turned into a nice little earner. Not for me mind, but for Lola, my soon to be five-year-old, who's recently grasped the connection between 'work' and 'beans'.
Above: Daniel Fisher and 'bad cop', Lola.
Her logic - that if she's helping me with this article, she's helping me do my work, so therefore she should be getting a slice of the action - is hard to argue with and as she has a buggerly high by-the-ad rate, we've settled on a round figure of 10.
"A great little star turn from Harrison Ford (that's the US for you - over here we'd have probably got Rob Brydon)."
Thankfully the folk at shots have nodded in the direction of some of the better ones, so here we go:
First up, Amazon; This made me smile. Nicely written, nicely performed, and a great little star turn from Harrison Ford (that's the US for you - over here we'd have probably got Rob Brydon). And I'd never seen the brand as the type to send themselves up (even gently) so it was refreshing for that, too. Lola, however, isn't impressed. Not even by the dog scenes. Looks like she's going to be playing bad cop then.
Above: Amazon Alexa, Not Everything Makes the Cut
On to the Audi spot; I liked this a lot. Beautifully filmic up-front, the Heimlich interruption was unexpected and funny and the gag was delivered perfectly. As for bad cop, she's suitably unimpressed, a shrug and a repeated "But why did the man spit out his food, Daddy?" being all she'll give it. Oh well. She can't afford one anyway, not even on her astronomical rate.
"I'm not sure what it's all about, but that's probably not the point from a brand and agency who've mastered the art of playing the internet and getting the world talking about them."
Above: Audi, Cashew
Talking of rates, I wonder whether Pepsi paid Saturday Night Live anything for pillaging its excellent Hamm and Buble skit in the name of promoting Bubly? Probably not, and whilst this imitation name mis-pronunciation gag can't hold up a flame to the original, it just about manages to pull it off. And guess what? Bad cop likes it. "Especially the red ones Daddy" (???).
"No Super Bowl would be complete without a gritty, epic Chrysler film, and this year is no exception, apart from the fact it's for Kia."
Above: Bubly, Can I Have a Buble?
Moving on, the Bud Light ad turned Game of Thrones teaser took me by total surprise. Such total surprise, in fact, that I almost didn't have time to frantically skip to the next one before I officially became a bad parent (watch it - but not with your kids - and you'll see what I mean). I sneaked another peak later though, and thought it was great, and just the kind of inter-brand collaboration that this industry should be doing more of. Shame we don't see much like it over here.
"The way it has handed the stage to those who actually benefit from the product and let them shine for who they are is lovely to watch. It also opened the door to an important father-daughter chat about the topic."
Above: Bud Light/HBO, Joust
The next spot stars Andy Warhol and also involves two household brands - Burger King and Heinz - but was only paid for by the former. I had to go on Google to see whether this was genuine or CGI tomfoolery and was heartened to find out that it was real footage of the artist eating a real Burger King. I'm not sure what it's all about, but that's probably not the point from a brand and agency who've mastered the art of playing the internet and getting the world talking about them. Bad cop likes it too. "Look Daddy! It's for ketchup! We like ketchup, don't we Daddy?" Hmmm. Oh well.
Above: Burger King, Eat Like Andy
I'm don't know when Nickelodeon started featuring 2 Chainz but the Expensify spot [the full length version is below] has Lola bopping with joy. I'm not sure if there's some kind of meta in-joke to an expense software platform spending $5 million on a single air slot, but I like it too. It's fun and fresh and there's a whole extension campaign that allows people to actually 'expense' the ad via the app to get a chance at winning the props such as the gold jet ski.
Above: Expensify, Expensify Thi$
"Any brand that forsakes official Super Bowl media spend in favour of a one-off Broadway musical co-written by a Pulitzer-winning writer (and complete with fake show t-shirts on sale outside the theatre) deserves thunderous applause."
For a diehard fan of Ozarks (me) and lift buttons (Lola), the Hyundai ad was always going to pique our interest. The whole 'elevator of life thing' is an interesting premise but it does feels like one that could have been wheeled out for any old brief. That said, it's got a great performance from Jason Bateman and it's got lift buttons and it made us both smile, so maybe that's enough.
Above: Hyundai, The Elevator
We don't watch NFL in Chez Fisher (in fact we rarely watch anything that isn't Peppa Pig or the Baby Shark song), so I've no idea who the players were in the NFL 100 spot, but it was fun to watch and it looked like it was a fun one to shoot, even if it did slightly run out of puff halfway through.
Above: NFL 100, The Hundred Year Game
No Super Bowl would be complete without a gritty, epic Chrysler film, and this year is no exception, apart from the fact it's for Kia. Earnest and authentic, it makes the brand feel as American as grits and eggs. Beautifully written and shot, it somehow manages to not feel like a commercial but be very much one at the same time. Doesn't do much for bad cop though. Maybe they should have cut it to a Pinkfong soundtrack.
Above: Kia Telluride
I'm saving the best for last, but first I want to go slightly off-piste and talk about Skittles. Not because they are the only brand I've actually made a Super Bowl spot for, but because any brand that forsakes official Super Bowl media spend in favour of a one-off Broadway musical co-written by a Pulitzer-winning writer (and complete with fake show t-shirts on sale outside the theatre) deserves thunderous applause in my book. Not having actually seen it, I can't critique it, but I've seen clips as well as the ads that teased it and they're deliciously odd. Go check them out if you haven't seen them.
"The whole 'elevator of life thing' is an interesting premise but it does feels like one that could have been wheeled out for any old brief."
Finally, the Microsoft ad for the Xbox Adaptive Controllers. There's been a lot said about this in the past 48 hours, and for me it's definitely the stand out spot in an otherwise relatively subdued year. Not just because the actual initiative itself is amazing, but because the way it has handed the stage to those who actually benefit from the product and let them shine for who they are is lovely to watch. It also opened the door to an important father-daughter chat about the topic, in a way that advertising very rarely does. And for that, the brand deserves all the new found admiration it gets.
Above: Microsoft, We All Win