Super Bowl Ads: A Kid’s Point of View

Super Bowl Ads: A Kid’s Point of View
by Deven Nongbri – February 2014

And now a message from our kids: KISB = Keep It Simple Brands

Even though the game itself was a one-sided romp , the marketing sideshow known as the Super Bowl Ads continue to be of interest both before and after the big game. And of course during the game. A well-executed campaign has tactics leading up to the game in addition to real-time marketing elements for the game itself and a little something to amplify the buzz coming out of the game afterwards. Advertising in the Super Bowl (whether your brand is on TV or not) is a huge deal these days.

And so it’s critical that your marketing efforts both reach and engage your intended audiences. Given the fact that 111.5 million viewers watched the game on TV  (and even more were reached online), your message needs to be accessible to those millions and simple to understand to the many.

Albert Einstein once told the faculty at Princeton the same thing: “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.1” Same is true in the agency world; if you don’t have a grasp of your client’s product/service, how can you create effective marketing communications?

With that in mind, which Super Bowl advertisers have a simple enough message to get through to the proverbial six year old in all of us? We decided to see for ourselves with my own four year-old son and seven year-old daughter providing the running commentary on the ads during the game.

Which ads won the day for the kids?

Wonderful Pistachios

The overwhelming favorite, for both the four and seven year old was the “Wonderful Pistachios, Part 2” spot. Who’d have thunk fifteen seconds of airtime would have the kids rolling on the ground laughing so much? Fake news man Stephen Colbert was the just the right amount of pushy to get the point across and surprise everyone in the process. I see green pistachio-head costumes in our Halloween future.



Two year-old: “It tooted.” Enough said. And it brought the house down. And now we’ll be dealing with kids trying to get that exact sound from every plastic condiment bottle in the fridge. I wonder how this played out with others?


Doritos (Time Machine)

Of the two Doritos ads shown on TV, this one clearly had the kids engaged. They liked the idea of the kid pulling one over on the adults, but our scientifically-minded four year-old summed it up with, “Too bad time machines don’t work.” They both understood the humor and the product; bad news next time we head to the grocery store with them. I was sure the special effects of the Transformers or Spider-Man trailer would have pulled better, but the three ads above were recalled right away, and with a level of real enthusiasm about retelling each ad, complete with sound effects. It could also be that their top three spots were all food items, things they could relate to and have enjoyed at one time or another (viz., brand relevance). 


What did they think of the kids they saw in ads?

Cheerios – Gracie

Seven year-old: “She needs to just eat those Cheerios before her Daddy gets to them.” Not saying that happens at home. Nope. Never.


Coke – America the Beautiful

Both kids were stopped in their tracks when the first child started singing. They both listened intently as the ad played and the four year-old made a surprisingly thoughtful comment, “It’s nice to hear different people sing the same song.” I’m pretty sure that’s as simple a message as Coke would want to get across.


Did the kids pick up on any real-time marketing efforts?

Thankfully, no. From what I could tell, other than Buffalo Wild Wings informing folks they didn’t have a button to liven up the game , no one brand stood out like Oreos last year . JCPenney did capture the scorn of many with its attempts to be clever and relevant with real-time marketing and esurance cleaned up after the game.

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Any parting thoughts from dad?

The Radio Shack spot was pretty comical  and kicked off a lot of conversation about what 80s characters everyone saw in the commercial. Said the seven year-old, “You actually remember those guys when they were on TV the first time?!” Yeah, kiddo, I do.



Click here to read more from our readers: What do sports executives kids think were the best ads? Would your kids agree? 

Cover photo courtesy of Padu Merloti.