Top Dad Ads from Super Bowl Sunday 2013

I have not seen all of the Super Bowl ads yet, but did it seem as if car makers and others were pitching directly to parents last night? Maybe it’s just our middle-aged bias clouding our judgment. Here, through a father’s eyes, are the Top Dad Ads from Super Bowl Sunday 2013:

1. The Flaming Lips appearing in and providing the soundtrack for Hyundai’s “Epic Playdate” ad was cool, but the clincher was after the montage of extreme activities showing a day filled with frivolity the youngest child asks, “Dad, what are we going to do tomorrow?” Moms, dads and kids everywhere bobbed their heads to the music and nodded their heads in agreement throughout this commercial.

2. All parents will likely agree that Hyundai knocked it out of the park for our demographic this year. Another favorite ad was “Team”, in which a mom provides car service for a team that will stand up to the bullies that hogged a football.

3. Speaking of car service, parents of teenagers were simultaneously rooting for the underdog who gets a kiss from the queen of the dance while cringing at the thought of their teenager taking Dad’s Audi for an adrenaline-fueled spin afterwards. The marketing side of me also loved that Audi added a link to the song, “Can’t Win Em All” by Hanni El Khatib.

4. Kia’s modern-day take on a virtual, space-age stork delivering babies around the world was a little over the top. Our favorite part was the kid activating the B.S. meter at the end, and the parents instructing the car to quickly change the subject.

Slight aside… another Kia favorite from before the Super Bowl:

5. I don’t have daughters, but I can see how a dad can reach this point, Doritos or no Doritos:

6. I made a very similar milk run on Saturday morning:

7. Toyota taught us to be careful what you wish for, but that does not stop me from wishing Toyota had linked to “I Wish” by Skee Lo that plays near the end of this ad (Was that song really from 1995? That seems like just yesterday). The good news for you is that Commuter Daddy is a full-service operation. “I wish I was a little bit taller. I wish I was a baller….”

8. This Volkswagen favorite is more from our professional than our parental side. “Respect Boss Mahn!”

9. A glimpse of Super Bowl Sundays of our future from Taco Bell:


In the video “Paranoid,” filmmaker Sean O’Riordan posits what would happen if our offline activities were tracked like our online behavior:

Of course, there’s a little bit of truth in all sarcasm. With all of our grocery and other loyalty cards, not to mention EZ-Pass transponders, Foursquare check-ins and more, the fictional paranoia in O’Riordan’s video is only a hop, skip and a jump away from reality.

Still, the prophylactic flyer inserted into the mail slot near the end of the video is hilarious.

Ads we would like to see on our bridges and toll booths

Photo courtesy of natashalcd

There is little sacred ground left in the public transportation world, especially when it comes to advertising.

I’ve previously Tweeted about ads making their way to license plates. We’ve long been enthralled — and by we, I include my kids — by the ads in the Red Line subway tunnel on the Braintree-to-South Station ride. Now comes news that the New York Bridge Authority is going to accept advertising on the bridges and toll booths it manages, netting a potential $500,000. GEICO is reportedly up first. As commuter columnist Judy Rife points out, 15 minutes could save us from our next toll increase.

Which got me thinking… What other advertisers should line up for such an opportunity to put their message in front bleary-eyed morning commuters and weary afternoon road warriors? Here’s 10:

  1. Coffee shops: Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Tim Hortons, McDonalds, you name it. They likely would use the opportunity not only to tout their coffee, but also to promote their breakfasts, smoothies and other coffee accompaniments (music from Starbucks, for example).
  2. Sand and gravel companies: This was really just an excuse to share the cool ad shown at right. Think of this not only as a B-to-B play, but for more consumer-focused messages, think landscaping projects: Pavers for sidewalks and paving services for driveways; boulders for rock walls, and cement-pouring for major home renovations. The ads should urge homeowners to rely on the experts (I know my lower back constantly needs that reminder), and save time in the process. After all, what driver sitting in toll booth traffic doesn’t want to save time, especially on the honey-do list for the upcoming weekend.
  3. Car maintenance providers: Oil changes, brake service, car washes, auto detailing. All no-brainers. Anything to do with cars would work: Manufacturers, gas stations, tire stores, you name it.
  4. Commuter rail: Metro-North, MBTA, BART, pick your favorite rail provider appropriate to the bridges you are driving on. Sure, if the ads are successful, it might cause an infinite loop or at least a riff in the space-time continuum, because the toll delay will be short lived if fewer drivers are using the bridges. But if the end result is a delay in rail fare increases, commuters still win, right?
  5. Snacks: Nature Valley’s Granola Clusters come to mind. Tag line? Portable and delicious, even if the shape is a bit unnatural for granola. This gives me an idea for a whole other post on ideal commuter snacks. Watch for it soon….
  6. Food delivery or take-out providers, especially on the homeward-bound side of the commute. Just remind folks to place that dinner order in a hands-free manner. No texting and tolling, please.
  7. EZ Pass, Fast Lane, or whatever brand your local transponder happens to be: This one is a layup. The ad copy will write itself.
  8. Tax software: Death, taxes and tolls. At least one of them should be quick and painless. (Why no one has hired me to write commuter-related ad copy is one of the great mysteries in life.)
  9. Radio stations: Who knew that radio was still so strong? Wouldn’t hurt to remind commuters.
  10. Job boards: Remember this 2009 Super Bowl ad from CareerBuilder?
    Timeless sentiment.

So there you go, Travelers Marketing of Wellesley, MA. Consider that lead list a gift from Commuter Daddy to you. Money for nothin’, and ideas for free.

Meanwhile, readers, add your suggestions to the comments. And while you are pondering potential and appropriate advertisers for your commute, check out the collection of ads with bridges in them over at Ads of the World. The Lamborghini one is my favorite:

Some manscaping may be required

This is a home-office week, so Mason and I were were able share a daily dose of SportsCenter this morning before he had to catch the school bus.

As we were doing so, on comes an ad for Just For Men. It opens with retired flamethrower Randy Johnson wrestling with his unwieldy lawn and his gnarly, graying Fu Manchu. Enter Emmitt Smith, Keith Hernandez and Walt Frazier, extolling Just For Men’s virtues, among which are instant animal magnetism to draw an army of buxom landscapers to help with the yard work.

If only…. Honestly, I’d settle for a product that got Mason to pick up the sports paraphernalia he leaves strewn about the yard.

As the ad closes, the Just For Men spokesmen smile and admire Johnson’s facial enhancement.

“The Big Unit is chillin’!”

“His landscape is thrillin’!”

Randy Johnson closes it out with a smile, and says, “Keep your edge.”

Mason pipes up: “Dad, you should get that.”

Thank goodness it wasn’t a Viagra ad.

On the road with Hulu

I’ve been on the road this week, starting Sunday night during the Super Bowl. The good news was I managed to catch the second half in the Executive Lounge of the Hilton Boston Logan Airport, along with a few other road-weary folks. The bad news was I had to prematurely leave the Super Bowl party I was having with the family.

So the next day, I caught up with the boys via a Skype video call (in large part so I could see Mason, who had lost his second front tooth in as many weeks), and we swapped stories about our favorite ads. They’re not completely into the football just yet, although to his credit, Mason knew the final score despite not staying up for the whole game.

When Sam and Mason were telling me about their favorites, I had missed every one of them, as I had been on the bus from the Cape to Boston. Hulu to the rescue!

(Full disclosure: My employer, News Corp., has a stake in Hulu, but as with all things CommuterDaddy, this represents my individual opinion, and not that of my employer.)

Their two favorites:

My favorite was the CareerBuilder ad, which is the only one during which I was LMAO:

As I was watching all that I had missed, I was struck by how many of the ads used work settings and situations as their backdrop or storyline. People looking back at the cultural time capsule for 2009 through the lens of the Super Bowl ads are going to be struck by how funny our collective work life is. Or maybe workers of the future will simply pity us. Hard to say at this point.

A word about Hulu: I am a bit late to the Hulu party, at least among some of my friends. But my interest and usage accelerated recently as I was able to catch up on episodes of Burn Notice that I had missed while I had been on the road the previous week. So Brandy and I queued up a couple of episodes after the kids went to bed Saturday night.

Here’s been the challenge on the road: Watching Hulu in the evening means competing with all of the other business travelers for the hotel wifi’s bandwidth. The videos, though buffered, take on a staccato quality as a result. It’s not even worth trying to watch them at that point.

We didn’t have this problem at home, of course, because when Brandy and I were both watching, my computer was the only on in use

I’ve had much more success on the road by consuming a little bit each morning — when many of my fellow business travelers are still sleeping. When you’re waking up at 5 a.m. in part to keep your body on an East Coast schedule, you don’t have a lot of competition for the broadband pipe.

It’s not likely that business travelers are Hulu’s primary audience target, so a plea for improved buffering and streaming may not be easily heard in that context. I will say, though, that I would consume a whole lot more Hulu-based programming while I am on the road if that issue were to get solved.

You know it’s time for a new car when (redux)…

…the manufacturer of your car decides to participate in a made-for-the-Web series targeted at women: Saturn, CBS Team Up for Online Series – Advertising Age – Madison+Vine: News

Although this could equally be a sign that it’s time to turn in my Man Card… again….

The good news? My Ion is as manly as a Saturn can get. Well, OK, it’s baby blue, and it has a petite-sized ACK airport oval sticker on the bumper, as opposed to the big, honkin’ manly-sized one. On the inside, though, it is all man….

OK, that was weak. Here, have my Man Card back…. Not even a Hummer purchase can save me now.

ExtendedStay gets comfortable

Found this ExtendedStay Hotels video via Adverblog, which describes it as, “Not classy, but amusing.” Agreed on the amusing front.

Interesting that the video is hosted on a YouTube channel — SoooRelaxed — presumably set up by someone at ExtendedStay, but disappointing there is no evidence of the video yet on the ExtendedStay site.

I’m a Hampton Inn devotee myself, so I searched to see if there were anything on YouTube about my favorite home away from home. Turns out they have a channel — HamptonMarketing — set up too. Not as amusing as a dozen hotel guests feeling comfortable enough to break wind, but I did get a chuckle over this executive dancing.

Let me just state for the record, however, that I don’t ordinarily break into a spontaneous jig when arriving at my Hampton room for the night — unless of course I am lucky enough to grab the last white chocolate macadamia cookie in the lobby….