Kinder, Gentler Super Bowl Ads

In this year’s Super Bowl commercials, I noticed less of the guy humor that felt more prevalent in year’s past. I don’t dislike that humor so this is not a value judgment and just an observation. Even Go Daddy didn’t do it (I think it was a mistake as their ad sucked and was crazy boring).

But there was a lot of cuteness and a touch of sadness or the positive upliftting message in this year’s ads. Budweiser went with the cute puppy and then a bunch of others went emotional including Coca Cola, McDonalds, Toyota, Microsoft and Dove to name a few.

I found some of these more emotional ads quite good. My favorite is the Dove #likeagirl campaign whch I’d seen before and commented on and which I think is a winner (being the dad of a girl sways me).

But I wonder if there was something in the mega focus groups and other brand testing that all these giant brands did that gave them the indication that this was the year to go with a softer, more positive message than in years past.  Or is this just the change that brands are making to adjust to more cynical consumers.

I suspect they’re sensing some larger change in the mood of the country and consumers for so many brands to all push messaging like that. Anyone familiar with brand advertising have any thoughts on this? Just a weird fluke or something underlying this?


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