Cleveland AMA Ranks the Super Bowl Ads

February 5, 2013

On Feb. 4, more than 100 marketing and PR professionals from the Greater Cleveland area gathered at a luncheon hosted by the Cleveland chapter of the American Marketing Association for their annual Super Bowl Advertising Review.

The assembled group acted as voters in an 8-bracket, single-elimination look at the best of the ads from Super Bowl 47. A panel comprised of Paul Roetzer, founder/CEO of PR 20/20; Lisa Zone, senior vice president at Dix & Eaton; and Jason Therrien, president of thunder::tech, had earlier submitted their favorite ads of the game to moderator Christopher Schmitt, and from those the 16 ads for the brackets were assembled. The only rules: No ads/promos for CBS or the NFL, who didn’t have to pay the $3.8 million 30-second rate, and no ads for movies, which have outsized advertising budgets compared to consumer brands. (Roetzer added that he asked himself whether the ads were entertaining, had an unexpected outcome or twist, and achieved a clear branding/marketing goal.)

That left such top brands and perennial Super Bowl advertisers as Audi, Mercedes, Dodge, Kia, Hyundai, M&M, Oreo, Doritos, Taco Bell, Volkswagen, Jeep, GoDaddy, Samsung, Tide, and Budweiser to be evaluated, judged and advanced by the panel and the audience until only one winner remained.

Much has already been written about who “won” the night – whether measured by viewer voting, advertiser web traffic, TV/video analytics, effective use of social, or quickly reacting to the night’s power outage. Reaction at this event differed from already-established conventional wisdom in some surprising ways; as moderator Schmitt noted, “Our ‘marketer’ left brains are often in conflict with our ‘consumer’ right brains.”

And the ads that were originally bracketed together led to some interesting contrasts in approach and effectiveness, such as Dodge’s Paul Harvey-voiced ad against Jeep’s Oprah-voiced ad, both trading on nostalgia and tradition but engendering very different reactions from the audience. Or the Mercedes ad starring Willem Dafoe as Satan vs. Kia’s “Space Babies” spot, targeting very different audiences for very different reasons.

In the end, though, there could only be one winner. Who did the Cleveland AMA honor as the big game’s best ad? Check below the jump!

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