Stanton On… The Super Bowl Ads


Twitter slammed Dodge’s ad for Ram Trucks that use audio of a Martin Luther King, Jr. Speech.

By Rick Stanton

This year’s Super Bowl Ads made me crazy. The be-good-do-good messages seemed disingenuous at best. Last time I looked, ads were supposed to prop up brands, while selling products or services. Using Martin Luther King to sell RAM Trucks? Really? [The link I’ve attached at the bottom is telling, given the research from Brandwatch and other resources tracking social media responses.]

As one might expect, the demographic focus for nearly every ad was heavily tilted to millennials. From my experience working on the Pima Medical Institute account for years, which targets this demo, millenials hate and mistrust advertising. And they really hate and mistrust advertising that rings manipulative and insincere. And that’s how most of them perceived the cause-oriented approaches.

The article in the attachment has one comment in particular, by Jonah Disend, chairman of the brand firm Redscout, that really struck a chord. He said, “I do think that everyone got the same memo, that millennials want to feel good about companies they support, so (brands are saying) let’s help them feel good about us. We don’t really know what they care about. We just think they care, but we are not actually going deep and saying what’s meaningful and what’s persuasive.”

I have an idea about what would be meaningful and persuasive. What if Coke, Budweiser, RAM Trucks, Amazon and several of the other big advertisers said to the marketplace, “You know, instead of spending $50 million on Super Bowl ads this year, we’re going to give that money to help the homeless crisis, the efforts to stop gun violence or disaster relief?”

However—if you’re brand is going to spend more than $5 million on a :30 Super Bowl spot, make me think about buying some of your beer and, in the process, make me smile or laugh, so your message sticks.

God knows, we all could use a little levity right about now. And a few beers.




  1. Rickles: Proud of your offerings in MARKETING! But please lay off of our Commander-in-Chief. He’s arguably the greatest golfing president our country has ever had—what a swing! He’s setting a different standard for our nation’s highest office—and inspiring new generations to realize that character, fitness for office and fundamental honesty are no longer relevant. Give him a chance—and perhaps he can make the Mariners great again. For the first time. Pat Cashman