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Monday Morning Quarterbacking: Memos To Super Bowl Advertisers 2009

Posted by: David Kiley on February 2, 2009

A few memos on the Super Bowl ads.

Memo To Hyundai: If you are going to tout the fact that the Genesis won the North American Car of the Year award, it would be a good idea to build in an explanation of the award into the ad. Most people don’t know the importance of the ad. For the record, it is the toughest award to get because it comes as a result of fifty auto reviewers from different media outlets scoring all the newly redesigned cars and trucks released in 2008. It’s a much more significant award than that coming from, say, one magazine such as Motor Trend. Chevy and Saturn, which won the last two awards, blew this as well. You have to give the viewer some context as to why this award is a big deal.

Memo to Pepsi and the Civilized world: McGruber is perhaps the lamest recurring skit in the history of Saturday Night Live. The fact that writers can’t elevate this crud to even a titter when you have Richard Dean Anderson, the original McGyver, playing a cameo should tell you something. Also, Kristin Wiig is a complete mystery. I have been watching SNL since the beginning, and she is probably the unfunniest cast member in the show’s history—yet she has been getting the lion’s share of roles and skits for the last year. Total mystery. The Arnell Group chose to pick up the lamest skit and cast-member from SNL for a $3 million spot? Great choice. Not.

Memo to Agenices using Celebrities: Hulu nailed this by tapping Alec Baldwin to play his character from 30 Rock to poke fun at the whole TV and online video media. The alien arm squirming around his suit and finally straightening his tie made it a perfect spot, though not perfect enough to score best in game.

Memo to H&R Block: Your ad stunk. Here we are in a wretched economy. Nobody is claiming any capital gains taxes. Two of President Obama’s cabinet designates have been tied up in back tax problems. And you and your agency run some tired, lame skit featuring Death. Oh yeah…death and taxes. I get it. It was so funny, I forgot to laugh. From the department of free ideas, it would have been hilarious to have made some hay out of the tax problems of Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner. And you had time to scrap this crud and shoot it since his tax problems surfaced weeks ago, so don’t tell me you didn’t have time. I could envision a send up of an administration designee trying to get confirmed by Congress, but running into tax problems. An H&R Block representative is at his side testifying, and makes the whole problem go away by explaining why the nominee is in the clear. In the epilogue of the ad, a member of Congress is seen button-holing the H&R Block guy seeking advice about whether he needs to claim a boat from the Yacht-building lobby, or some such.

Memo to and Do you live on this planet? Do you read the papers? Your ads were about people in crappy or dead-end jobs. That may have been an idea that worked a year ago, or two years ago. But the job market is awful. People who have jobs are to the point where they are feeling either scared or guilty. Your ads messaged right passed the mood of the country. Those must have been some meetings you had over what ads to run. You know what? Probably a bad idea to have run ads in the big game this year at all. I’d like to suggest that there should be a few more people availing themselves of your services…like the marketing heads and the creative teams at the agencies.

Memo To Good choice to run in the big game. And a pretty inspired ad that made perfect use of old hack celebrities. You get the newcomer award.

Reader Comments


February 2, 2009 3:24 PM

David Kiley wouldn't know funny if it moved in next door to him and started a book club.. Wiig the "the unfunniest cast member in the show’s history"?? Seriously? Guess what, Dave, the reason she's such a "mystery" to you is because you don't get it. You are not on the level. You do not come close to falling anywhere near the demo.. surprised you of all people didn't know that. So enjoy the "Two And A Half Men" dvd's you got for christmas and if you're going to criticize people, Dave, maybe stick to Detroit huh?

oh and i take it you used the phrase "so funny i forgot to laugh" as an instrument of irony.. right Dave??


February 5, 2009 12:59 AM

Wrong....David hit some of the right notes. This years "Big" ads were not very creative at all. &*&*!!!!!
I can create/write better ads than that. And I do...Yes....I sell advertising-Radio/Print. And I have to tell you that the advertisers this year should be refunded their money. Period. No biggies this year. Denny's was a big hit...with the Free Grand Slam. 5 stars on that one. had a funny commercial. Cash4gold was just lame....I was watching it wondering if it was for real or whether it was just an ad within and ad....I was waiting for the punchline...I mean...come one...Ed McMahon??? hocking gold on TV??? Give me a break. Nope...I think everyone has to go back to the drawing board and be bold, creative, to the edge and come up with something better than that. I got extremely bored watching NBC self-promoting themselves with The Office, etc, etc....too much of that. Boring.
But then again...the only reason why I watch the SuperBowl is watch Football, which is my fav sport. And this was a great game...down to the final seconds. So, Kudos to the Steelers and the Cardinals. John Madden, who is by far the GURU of football.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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