#MadMenSuperBowl 2015 Brings the Warm & Fuzzies

Celebrity cameos, clydesdales & a bit of, ahem, lady bits – these things we have come to expect from advertisers on the “big game” – and, of course, many advertisers delivered. But in this year’s #MadMenSuperBowl analysis, we’re left with a few bigger themes to consider. Rather than discussing the spots that were entertaining (thanks, BMW – and for the record we saw the i3 in Manhattan last week and it’s killer), we offer the following trend take aways for your consideration:

Trend #1 – For the Love of Dad

In advertising, there is often a zeitgeist that begins to make its way to the forefront. I don’t know if it’s just that many of us in the industry are internalizing the same issues, in our own way, at the same time. But you see this a lot. We remember when we launched the 2008 Cadillac CTS we thought it was revolutionary to use a red vehicle to promote a luxury brand. Then, not too long after, Lexus was doing it too. They likely had planned to do the same long before they saw our work come out. How did that happen? Zeitgeist.

So here we have a similar scenario. We saw several advertisers tauting the importance of being a Dad. Like Nissan‘s “With Dad”:

And Dove for Men‘s “Real Strength”:

Is fatherhood falling by the wayside in our society? Is it just that many men are feeling overwhelmed – torn between work, social obligations, home life – and not feeling like they have the time to connect with their children? Whatever it is, something is happening in our collective consciousness. And these spots are good reminders of what really matters in life. However, the Dove spot ends abruptly, awkwardly trying to connect that message to the product, which is a shame considering the great work by Dove for women.

Trend #2 – Back to Reality

It’s no secret that many of us are feeling disconnected…and maybe a little cynical due to the hyper-connected lives we live. Too much tech, too much keyboard-commando-induced cruelty. Too much downright mean behavior out there. McDonalds aims to tackle this problem simply and welcomes patrons to “Pay with Lovin”, now through February 14th. This is all very interesting considering McDonald’s President and CEO Don Thompson is retiring, and several industry strategists attribute the declining price of McDonalds stock to their lack of innovation under Thompson’s leadership – specifically the lack of digital and mobile payments at the point of purchase. Is this McDonald’s punch in the face to skeptics or a realignment with their core values?

Microsoft also issued a few ads, focusing on how their technology is positively affecting lives beyond your home PC:

“Braylon O’Neill”

And our favorite…”Estella’s Brilliant Bus”

There are always a few spots that leave us scratching our heads, but this year involved several that many of us found downright disturbing. Yes, we get it – these are serious topics, dealt with seriously. But these didn’t work and, frankly, left us feeling really uncomfortable about the brands that would approve such work. The most jaw-dropping example can be seen below, courtesy of Nationwide:

Apparently Nationwide issued a late-night explanation for the ad (this article also features some hilarious memes – well done @biocow). But here’s the thing – as parents, you try to be as careful as humanely possibly. Do horrible accidents happen? Unfortunately, yes they do. But especially in the context of the Dad-loving, Spread-the-lovin, Love-your-life spots, Nationwide issued the sports-loving public the ultimate punch to the gut. This went beyond being a conversation starter and simply stopped any conversation – sucking any fun out of the room. #UltimateSuperbowlFail

So there you have it – our take for 2015! Really enjoying hearing our clients/friends thoughts as well on this post-Superbowl Monday. Until next year…