Ad Club Commercial Review Panel Packs the House

Who remembers which Super Bowl it was when the Commercial Carnival become the intermittent side show-turned-main event for lopsided games and ambivalent viewers? It must have been the mid-’80s as far as I can recall.

On Monday, February 4, the Advertising Club of Buffalo hosted its fourth annual Uber Bowl Commercial Review panel critiquing the Super Bowl ads extravaganza to a capacity-turnout of 80 members and guests (even balance of men and women from the local ad industry) at Soho Burger Bar in downtown. 

After Club President Charlie Fashana thanked volunteers and sponsors and encouraged attendees to buy into the judge’s points drawing for a gift basket, a four-member panel of creative and marketing managers held court in the style of ESPN’s “Around the Horn.” They offered very compelling insights and opinions on the effectiveness of the Brand Bowl smorgasbord that has gripped mass consumer consciousness for football’s biggest night.

In the spirit of Monday night quarterbacking and football’s-finally-over hangover, spots, ads and brand were the terms of the night. The panelists below passed the mic in a friendly debate fashion though they were split into two teams for a bit of competitive analysis:

• Jillian Benedict, Senior Copywriter, Eric Mower and Associates
• Monish Bhattacharyya, Executive Creative Director, SKM
• Colie Blake, Global Brand Marketing Manager, New Era
• Jay Josker, Sports Services Manager, Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission

With WGR-550 AM morning show hosts Howard Simon and Jeremy White moderating, the panel plowed through several commercials and debated on a variety of points, pros and cons, such as:

  1. Best Buy: Assessing the celebrity impact; was the choice of Amy Poehler effective for the electronic and gadget giant? The humor seemed to appeal to both genders. Is everyone clear now on what a dongle is?
  2. Budweiser – The Clydesdale Brotherhood: Fairly effective new angle on the iconic brand; was it too sentimental? Did it make you tear up?
  3. Doritos & The Goat: Big brand, humor and perhaps strategy is overrated sometimes when you have a catchy, perhaps non sequitur theme.
  4. The Go Daddy “Perfect Match”: Has the shock and awe that is expected from Go Daddy faded? Was it enough of an unexpected turn? Panelists spoke of brand dilution and how the theme generally insults viewer intelligence.
  5. VW: Did the accents show, as one panelist noted, “cringe-worthy stereotypes” or was it all in the name of good-natured, sophomore hijinks?

The panel took a halftime break and everyone scattered for appetizers and another round of drinks. The power was not scheduled to go out in the second half, but I left early, so I don’t have a recap of the other ad discussions. I’m sure it became more animated as the evening’s analysis continued. The Ad Club Board did a great job setting up and promoting Uber Bowl, which truly extended the Super Bowl fever into Monday happy hour.

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