Mr. Clean Mops Up Competition in Denneen & Company’s 3rd Annual Super Bowl Advertising Review

Following the Patriots’ epic victory in Super Bowl LI (and the celebration parade that subsequently passed below our Boston office windows), Denneen & Company gathered to discuss and rate 2017’s Super Bowl advertisements.  Using a proprietary scoring methodology that attempts to account for an ad’s stopping power, emotive-ness, watch-ability and share-ability, as well as the impact on brand equity and purchase intent, Mr. Clean came away with this year’s top honors.

While some viewed the ad as polarizing and borderline offensive, the combination of strong stopping power that drove engagement throughout the spot, a humorous payoff, and insightful creative (“you gotta love a man who cleans”) resulted in Mr. Clean receiving the highest overall score.  The spot was  praised for being laugh-out-loud funny and worthy of social media sharing, and others pointed out how well the product benefit (cleaning stoves, showers, and floors) was woven into the story.  Regardless, it’s hard to look away from a svelte Mr. Clean, clad in tight, all-white attire, as he hip-shakes his way to a clean floor.  The spot’s payoff might just convince men that they should clean more too.

Second on this year’s list was AirBnB.  Addressing negative commentary around AirBnB hosts’ possible racial profiling, the online marketplace and homestay network aired a powerful ode to inclusiveness punctuated by the #weaccept hashtag.  With minimal branding appearing only at the end of the multi-cultural faces montage, the spot was assessed to resonate best with existing AirBnB users, resulting in a positive equity build and additional brand loyalty.  And while likely not the initial intent, the ad garnered additional engagement by touching on the immigration and travel ban issues that have been dominating the headlines over the past few weeks.  Basically, one of the most powerful spots of the whole game.

Rounding out the top three ads in this year’s ranking was Kia’s spot featuring Melissa McCarthy embarking on an epic, eco-warrior adventure in her eco-friendly Kia Niro.  A highly engaging and funny storyline with, like the Mr. Clean ad, seamless and relevant product integration resulted in high stopping power and watch-ability scores, and may have even moved the needle a bit in purchase consideration.  Some voiced concerns over the spots potential mocking of the target consumer (as the ad somewhat pokes fun at eco-warriors), but in the end, it was decidedly all in good fun and reflected positively on the brand.  Although the debate remains as to which role fits McCarthy better: Kia’s eco-warrior or Sean Spicer.

Finally, while there were several spots that worked, many of this year’s ads were assessed as merely adding to the advertising clutter.  Denneen & Company also agreed that Super Bowl LI’s spots were a bit of a disappointment compared to last year, and high expectations for brands such as Budweiser (nice story, but lacked the power of last year’s communications) and Honda (highly engaging, no brand connection) arguably fell short.  Fortunately, the ads highlighted above took full advantage of a massive, highly engaged audience.  And while 4th quarter and OT advertisers can thank the Patriots and Falcons for even higher quality air time, Denneen & Company would like see an overall improvement in ads for Super Bowl LII…but with the same person lifting the Lombardi trophy in the end.

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