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Creative Gluttony

Posted on February 11, 2013 and read 2,176 times

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seymour Creative Gluttony Scott Seymour
Chief Creative Officer
BFG Communications

Even after all of the exorbitant and extravagant holiday feasts have come to a close, for those in the ad world, there’s one that tops them all.

It’s always held on a Sunday night several weeks into the New Year, and anybody who can cough up the ever-increasing, and always outlandish, charge per plate is invited.

Yes, of course, I’m talking about Super Bowl Sunday.

What has always been the ultimate match of American football teams is now peppered with an incredibly competitive feast of creative work showcased in between all of the touchdowns, turnovers and team highlights.

This feast of commercials isn’t new. But the hype, grandiosity and extremeness of it all have morphed it into what I see as the epitome of “creative gluttony.”

Kind of like a cook-off, each year, hundreds of creative “chefs” plan and prep to throw their latest and greatest recipes into a smorgasbord of TV spots in the hopes of becoming the most memorable, most delicious dish.

The heat is on. According to Nielsen, approximately 90 million viewers will see each spot.

Timing’s tight. Wrangling for coveted spots starts well before the big night.

The stakes are high. This year’s cost per plate (per 30-second spot) was $4 million.

And everybody’s after the perfect recipe—that ideal blend of bold, unexpected flavors that leaves diners hungry for more.

Sometimes the dishes come out bland. This is often the result of too many cooks in the kitchen. With chefs from creative, corporate, legal and PR all taking their turn at the stove, you’re bound to get a watered-down dish.

Sometimes they’re overcooked. In the heat of the battle, the desire to make waves and be memorable can cause chefs to lose sight of what diners will deem good versus poor taste.

What’s more, undercooked, overcooked, bland or just unbearable, diners can’t send these dishes back and most—if not all—will live on as leftovers on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and a host of “best and worst” lists.

This year’s gluttonous event included some of the typical fare: cars, beers, soft drinks, snacks and upcoming movies, seasoned with familiar ingredients like humor, babies, dogs, celebrity cameos, and sex appeal.

Exotic animals were popular, too, with a cheetah, gazelle, wolf, alpaca, goat, hawk, Clydesdales, and even a black goldfish on the menu.

Also this year, more than ever, diners were invited into the kitchen prior to the event by brands looking to user-generated content and consumer votes to determine their final recipe.

For me, the best part of the feast is that sometimes the chefs get it right. This is when a “dish” comes together through great storytelling that evokes and inspires emotional appeal.

My favorites?

Audi’s “Prom”; Taco Bell’s “Live Mas”; Doritos’ “Live Mas”; and “The Farmer in All of Us” for Dodge Ram. All served up a unique mix of entertainment and superior presentation told through a strong brand voice.

An honorable mention also goes out to the chefs who persevered with creative solutions to unexpected mishaps in the kitchen.

When the lights went out in the Superdome, brands like Oreo, Audi and Walgreens took to Twitter to capitalize on the situation.

So, despite the overconsumption, and some mild indigestion, all in all, it was a great feast, a sublime celebration of our industry and the amazing talent amassed within it—with a pricey price tag of nearly $200 million.

I’m not sure what we should leave for a tip on that one.






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