The employees of Richter7 love the Super Bowl, but not just for the football. Each year, the Salt Lake City ad agency hosts its own Super Bowl party called the Ad Bowl, and the employees recently announced their winners.
Founded in 1971, Richter7 is an advertising agency with clientele all over the United States. The company handles everything from television commercials to newspaper ads to billboards.
Tim Brown, partner over PR and social media, created the Ad Bowl 19 years ago to critique Super Bowl commercials in an effort to find out what did and didn’t work. The employees get together, eat some good food and vote on the best and worst commercials of the Super Bowl.
“There are seven categories. We wanted to go through in a football-terminology style and identify what was the best ad, what was the worst and what fell in between,” Brown said.
The categories are as follows: Most Valuable Ad, Best Low Budget, Celebrity Sack, Championship Chuckle, Illegal Use of Money, Creative Fumble and Should Have Punted. The employees each review the commercials and vote on their favorites.
“As the ads are played one after another, we just have a fun time yelling out favorites and holding up judging sticks that indicate whether we liked it or not,” said Dave Newbold, president of the company.
Hyundai’s “Dad’s Sixth Sense” commercial won both the Championship Chuckle and the Most Valuable Ad. Doritos’ “Time Machine” took the cake for the Best Low Budget ad, while Soda Stream’s ad featuring Scarlett Johansson left the crowd disappointed, landing it the Celebrity Sack Award.
Kia’s “Matrix” commercial won the Illegal Use of Money award, as the company felt that, overall, the ad was a waste of money. Chobani Yogurt’s “Chobani Bear” received the Creative Fumble award, and finally, Carmax’s “Slow Clap” ad was dubbed as the worst commercial in the Super Bowl, winning the Should Have Punted award.
Kaylan Malm, director of client strategy and analytics, discussed the two aspects to a good commercial.
“There are a couple of things that make a Super Bowl ad — a genuine laugh or a genuine pull at the heartstrings,” Malm said.
Some commercials resonated well with the employees, while others seemed to miss the mark. Brown explained how each commercial was chosen for the category it won.
“Best Low Budget is one that did a great job without spending a lot of money, Celebrity Sack is one that uses a celebrity but just didn’t come together, Championship Chuckle is the most humorous, Illegal Use of Money award is the one that we felt wasted a whole lot of money and really didn’t succeed,” Brown said. “The Creative Fumble award is one that looked good on paper but wasn’t effective, and the Should Have Punted award is the one that shouldn’t have even tried.”
On average, each 30-second commercial cost $4 million for airtime alone, while the 60-second commercials cost $8 million. Overall, the employees of Richter7 seemed to agree that this year’s Super Bowl commercial selection were too long to keep the audiences interested and weren’t as compelling as in years past.
“There were some good ones, but overall I feel as though this year they weren’t as great as they’ve been in the past,” Malm said. “I would attribute that to the longer format that some marketers chose to use.”