Super Bowl Sunday night, a fantastic group of new and old friends gathered on Twitter to create the #BZBowl. The #BZBowl Twitter chat, sponsored by The Brainzooming Group, provided the opportunity to share perspectives on how various brands elected to invest a minimum of $3 million each to tell their stories through 2011 Super Bowl ads. As we found in last year's #BZBowl, sitting at a computer or on a smartphone for 4 hours of tweeting is ridiculously fatiguing. Despite that, over the past week the #BZBowl hashtag registered nearly 2,500 tweets from almost 400 individuals. The Twitter transcript for this time period comes in at 86 pages!

The consensus about half way through the evening was that both the 2011 Super Bowl and the Super Bowl ads were both pretty lackluster.

The second half, however, redeemed the game (which wound up going down to the last minutes before the Green Bay Packers pulled out the win over the Pittsburgh Steelers), and to a lesser extent, the commercials. At one point, a number of #BZBowl participants were hoping and praying for a quick end to the proceedings. I asked the group if it just might be a collective pissy attitude making us all feel that way. We convinced ourselves, however, that we were fine; it was all a function of how bad everything we were watching was!

Suffice it to say that once I got past all the bad ads, it was pretty easy to identify my take on the best Super Bowl ad in 2011: the Detroit-centric ad for the Chrysler 200. The Chrysler Super Bowl ad best matched story, images, music, drama, and passion to engage viewers. In a year when so many ads seemed to have walked away from fundamental principles of engaging creative, this Super Bowl ad from Chrysler got so much right:

  • It started in a familiar setting, yet its use of industrial images differentiated it from the other commercials surrounding it. The depiction of average people also placed the ad in sharp contrast to many other ads.
  • Unlike many of the Super Bowl ads, it uses narration throughout to tell the story.
  • Despite the initial sense of mystery about what the ad might be about, by the fifth shot (just 8 seconds in), it clearly established Detroit as its location.
  • Throughout the rest of the commercial, there's interplay between contrasts: luxury and industry, adversity and hope, bad news and an underdog's determination, blue collar workers and a celebrity (Eminem).
  • The music bed throughout the commercial ties to the message, the images, and the sense of drama and mystery that move the commercial along.

In polling the #BZBowl participants, the Chrysler ad was getting a lot of nods for one of the best ads of the evening.

Throughout the rest of the week, we'll be having a variety of guest posts recapping the Super Bowl ads from a whole variety of perspectives. I'll be weighing in with more thoughts as well. We'll finish out the week with several of the bloggers appearing Friday on the “Smart Companies Radio” show hosted by Kelly Scanlon on Hot Talk KCTE 1510 AM in Kansas City, and streamed live on the web. I'll be sitting in as guest host as we cover lessons growing businesses can take away (both the do's and the don'ts) from Super Bowl ads to incorporate into their own marketing efforts. Mike Brown

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