Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

January 31, 2014

Super Bowl ads show signs of maturity

NEW YORK (AP) — Forget slapstick humor, corny gimmicks and skimpy bikinis. This year’s Super Bowl ads promise something surprising: Maturity.

There won’t be any close-up tongue kisses in Godaddy’s ad. Nor will there be half-naked women running around in the Axe body spray spot. And Gangnam Style dancing will be missing from the Wonderful Pistachios commercial.

In their place? Fully-clothed women, well-known celebs and more product information.

“We’re seeing sophistication come to the Super Bowl,” says Kelly O’Keefe, a professor of brand strategy at Virginia Commonwealth University. “Not long ago, almost everything seemed to be about beer or bros or boobs.”

Companies that typically go for ads with shock value are toning them down as they try to get the most out of the estimated $4 million that 30-second Super Bowl spots cost this year.

Experts say companies are using the ads to build their image, rather than just grab attention for one night.

Additionally, although the old adage asserts that “sex sells,” experts say companies realize that watchers have grown bored with sophomoric humor and other obvious shock tactics.

“You can’t really shock people visually anymore,” says ad critic and Mediapost columnist Barbara Lippert. “So, this year people are being more creative.”

NO MORE KISSES

Godaddy.com, a web-hosting company, has made a name for itself for years with racy Super Bowl ads. But it’s changing its tune after last year’s Super Bowl spot showed an uncomfortably long, close-up kiss between super model Bar Rafaeli and a bespectacled computer geek.

The ad drew widespread criticism on social media. It also was deemed one of the “least effective” ads by Ace Metrix, which measures ads’ effectiveness. And it ranked last on USA Today’s annual ad meter.

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