In the Epilogue for the FADS book, I predicted “AI will be the disease and the cure.” What have we learned since then?
FADS during the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the perfect time to watch for brands taking the middle path. As one of the most-watched events of the year, with millions of people tuning in to watch the game, ad slots can have reach during this event that they don’t have any other time.
Advertisers have to take the middle path in order to connect with the largest number of viewers possible and make the most of such a large ad spend, and at the same time be funny, clever, or emotionally resonant enough to be remembered.
So how did the brands do at the Super Bowl this year?
Northwestern University School of Management does an ad review each year to grade Super Bowl ads, and noted this year’s ads showed that brands were playing it pretty safe, light and upbeat. They played on nostalgia and connection, which makes a lot of sense with what we’ve been through the past few years.
We noticed this too, and while we were watching we paid close attention to the FADS and how they were featured in Super Bowl ads. Here are some of our favorites from this year.
Bush Beans: Go bigger
Peyton Manning shows off different ways of using beans, right in line with the call to make beans sexy and more appealing.
Beer Brawlers Battle it Out
Miller Lite and Coors Lite show us that keeping it weird continues to attract the viewers who are in for a nice little twist from Blue Moon to give the ad that truly inclusive feel.
Six Degrees of Separation
How important is that middle path? Budweiser and Kevin Bacon take us through a series of scenes representing Americans from all walks of life, reminding us we are all connected, through Budweiser of course.
A Better World is Possible with the Right Beer
Sam Adams brings our favorite cousin from Boston, inspired to dream of a brighter Boston where we once again see a diverse array of whacky characters coming together to be more kind.
Musicians Bringing in the Sex Appeal
In ads that hit on both nostalgia and sex appeal, Doritos and Workday pull together artists appealing to multiple generations for their big game day ads.
Workday brings back some of the viewers favorite rockers to beg corporate America to please, please stop calling each other Rockstars. Something we’ve definitely heard before, and agree with whole heartedly. We suggest, instead of a Rockstar, you Be a Fucking Pro.
Doritos features Jack Harlow, Missy Elliott and Elton John, imagining a world where we all become obsessed with the triangle.
Avocados Could Have Saved Humanity
Sam Adams isn’t the only brand dreaming of a better world. Avocados from Mexico shows us just how sexy the world could have been if only Eve had an Avocado instead of an Apple.
Sexy at Every Age
Cher is back, teaching us all how to save with Rakuten and showing all those 40-something millennials that you can be young and fashionable at any age. Get old? Ugh, as if!
Nostalgia and Connection on the Middle Path
We weren’t surprised to see this year’s ads shifting towards the middle path, playing it safe and light, with a focus on connection and nostalgia. Brands managed to appeal to a broad range of viewers, including those looking for humor, cleverness, and emotional resonance. Food, alcohol, drugs, and sex are tried and true hits, but we saw brands bring in a diverse set of characters to connect with a diverse, multi-generational audience. They’ve seen the data, they know who is watching, and they know exactly what we want. After all, we told them.
They’ve got their hooks in you.
FADS rise quickly, burn hot and fall out. They say you’re fat, you’re no fun, you need to relax, and you might even die alone. In fact, FADS bank on the fact that you already believe all of that.
Ready to learn how it works?