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Top Super Bowl ads: 25 Charlotte ad execs make their picks

Compiled by TED WILLIAMS
The Charlotte Observer

Poll

Which was your favorite Super Bowl ad?

Which was your favorite Super Bowl ad and why? That’s the question we asked 25 local Charlotte advertising leaders. Below are their responses:

Jim Bailey
President, Red Moon Marketing
Pick: Coca-Cola - All The Way
Why: Highlighting kids engaged in a healthy and active lifestyle activity with one underdog achieving his moment in the sun. Also featured was an echo of the Mean Joe Greene Coca-Cola ad with the hand off of the cold Coca-Cola bottle at the end of the spot as a reward to the victorious kid.


Seth J. Bennett
SVP, Marketing, Entertainment & Interactive Media, Bobcats Sports & Entertainment
Pick: Turbo Tax - Love Hurts
Why: Simply a funny storyline. Great job integrating football theme with a comedic tone. Just enough of a punchline to make sure the viewers remembered Turbo Tax.


Karen Bennetts
Co-Founder, Managing Partner, Little Red Bird
Pick: Maserati - Strike
Why: This spot was simply mesmerizing - it told a great story in very striking, emotional way, but was also surprising, but fitting, when it turned out to be Maserati. And "clever is more important than being the biggest kid in the neighborhood."


Gabriel Dalporto
President Mortgage & Chief Marketing Officer, Lending Tree
Pick: Audi - Doberhuahua
Why: Hilarious and entertaining creative that I wanted to watch again, which was linked to a powerful brand message: "When you compromise bad things happen. We don't."


Scott Ellmaker
Group Creative Director, Wray Ward
Pick: CarMax - Slow Clap
Why: It didn't try to make me cry. It wasn't based on a popular song. It just made me giggle and feel good. And there's just something about a Dad letting his kid wipeout on a bike. Nicely done. Clap. Clap. Clap.


Matt Ferguson
Managing Partner, Eric Mower + Associates
Pick: Wonderful Pistachios - Colbert
Why: The element of surprise is huge here. When Colbert's head splits open like a pistachio shell to reveal a smaller, green-pistachio Colbert head... Pure hilariousness.


Jenn Hausman
Media Supervisor, HMHagency
Pick: Radio Shack – Phone Call
Why: Wait what? Is this a rerun of an old Super Bowl? Radio Shack admitting they suck and need to do better is a smart approach and one that resonates. The cameos, funny (Alf!) and too many to count, were hilarious and really paid off the "'80's called" message perfectly.


Greg Johnson
President, BooneOakley
Pick: Cheerios - Gracie
Why: Authentic to the brand, entertaining, evoked emotion, stimulated conversation before, during and after the game.


Buffy McCoy Kelly
Creative Director, Tattoo Projects
Pick: T-Mobile - No Contract
Why: "Contracts hold you back" is a clear, solid message about the product T-mobile has to offer their customers. Tying it in to Tim Tebow's no-contract situation with the NFL is culturally relevant, and made for some fun scenarios. This ad series was memorable, entertaining, and most importantly -- left me with a clear message about the point of differentiation in the advertiser's product.


Robin Konieczny
President & CCO, Clear Blue
Pick: Budweiser – Puppy Love
Why: Everyone likes a good story. Budweiser ads always tell a good story and it’s always about best buds, whether they are horses or heroes. Bravo, Budweiser. Once again, you’ve shown us that great brands never waver from who they are and in so doing, they never let us down.


Steve Luquire
CEO, Luquire George Andrews
Pick: Volkswagen – Wingslga media director
Why: Clever and made the point of car dependability and longevity. Given the average car life in America is 8-10 years it was a differentiator. Combined humor and direct sales benefit.


John Mader
Vice President, Director of Connections, Wray Ward
Pick: Chevrolet Silverado - Romance
Why: Maybe it's because I'm the son of a Kansas farm boy. Maybe it's because my little girls love cows. Maybe it's because a bull licked my face once when I was a kid. Maybe it's because the competition was weak. My favorite commercial of the night was the Chevrolet spot for the Silverado. Perfect for the target audience. If I had to haul cattle, I'd buy a Chevy.


Jim Mountjoy
Director, EYE Creative Lab
Pick: Newcastle
Why: A Mega Huge Football Game commercial designed never to air on the Mega Huge Football Game? Newcastle with Anna Kendrick came up short on the budget to play on the same field with the omnipresent and somewhat predictable Budweiser. With social media and YouTube, who needs the game?


Shafi Mustafa
CEO/Co-Founder, Savveo
Pick: RadioShack – Phone Call
Why: In a sea of sameness, RadioShack dared to be different and stood out. Self-deprecating humor is not easy to pull off, but RadioShack nailed it. Super Bowl ads are often best served for BIG messages. RadioShack successfully acknowledged its dated positioning in consumers’ minds and set the stage for its new direction. Brilliant!

David Oakley
Founder, Creative Director, BooneOakley
Pick: Budweiser - Puppy Love
Why: This commercial made me cry. Twice. First, because it reminded me of our beloved yellow lab Yogi, who passed away last week after a gruesome bout with cancer. And second because my friend Jim Doyle drank my last Budweiser while we were watching the commercial.

Blair Primis
Director of Marketing, OrthoCarolina
Pick: T-Mobile – No Contract
Why: Self-deprecating excellence using a contemporary figure for both the football & non-football viewers. Excellent Twitter integration too.

Randy Poindexter
SVP Marketing, Bojangles' Restaurants Inc
Pick: Audi - Doberhuahua
Why: From Honda to Chrysler to the Silverado "Bull in Love", the car manufacturers rocked this year, but Audi's big-headed Doberman was my favorite. Of the non-car ads, Radio Shack's "The 80's Store" was a close second. Overall, the commercials were more entertaining than the game.

Ron Randle
Owner & Creative Director, Little Red Bird
Pick: M&M’s - Delivery
Why: Normally you'd expect the beer companies to own the humor category, but M&M's managed to pull off a terrific sendup of a mob flick. A perfectly executed twist at the end leaves Yellow M&M blissfully unaware of his fate. I mean, who doesn't love peanut M&M's?


John Roberts
Executive Creative Director, Wray Ward
Pick: Newcastle
Why: They weren't even in the Super Bowl but used the Super Bowl to get attention and communicate an authentic message for an authentic brand that didn't pander to their audience.

Dan Roselli
Co-Founder, Packard Place
Pick: RadioShack - Phone Call
Why: They did the most to move their brand forward. They took a known negative of their brand, accepted it as true, and then leverage that to make people see them in a different and better way. It was great consumer insight.

Marni Setless
Vice President Media Services, Media Power Advertising
Pick: Cheerios- Gracie
Why: Personally, this ad touched my heart. As a mom of a 5 1/2 year old, I identified with a smart adorable child who thinks and speaks as if part of the same peer group as parents. With my ad hat on, the ad targets a wide range: “everyone"; multi-cultural, families, moms, dads, kids, grandparents. Its relatability while targeting multigenerational and multicultural pulls off a necessary need in today's ad world. The spot answers a challenge to speak to multiple gens and cultures with one 30 second message and does it in a form that is cute, relatable and touches your heart.

Bob Shaw
President, Concentric Marketing
Pick: Newcastle
Why: The premise of this video is they hire Anna Kendrick to do a Super Bowl ad that never runs. Funny, timely and beating the system. Countless million YouTube hits later and PR buzz, they save $4mm and make a hilarious statement. Essurance followed this same idea of social integration and ripping on the actual cost of SB ads to lots of viral success also.

Mark Smith
VP of Marketing, Charlotte Knights
Pick: T-Mobile – No Contract
Why: I believe the T-Mobile ads did the best job of being entertaining while getting their message of "No Contracts" across. Great idea having two entertaining ads with Tim Tebow and their last one be simple with just words. I definitely can remember the company associated with those ads.

Anna Tartak
Principal, Ashland Advertising
Pick: Honda- Hugfest
Why: This commercial brought a complete change in tone from the other ads of the night with Bruce Willis speaking plainly to the camera. The message we are asked to consider was simple, relatable, and powerful, "How much do the people in your life mean to you?"


Barry Wilson
President, Planet Central
Pick: Budweiser – Puppy Love
Why: The Clydesdales are to Budweiser what the swoosh is to Nike - no need to show product.The touching interaction between the Clydesdales and other objects that people have such strong emotional connections to, such as the puppy, is incredible, and builds brand likeability whether you use the product or not.

What do you think? Did Charlotte’s advertising leaders get it right? Make your picks and explain why in the comment thread below. Thanks to all who participated!

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Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

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