I asked a couple of regular contributors to the Brainzooming blog to weigh in with their own perspectives on the Super Bowl advertising for Super Bowl XLVII. Today, Randall Rozin (who you can find on Twitter under his @RandallRozin account) shares his perspectives on the common archetypes showing up in this year's Super Bowl: 


Super Bowl Advertising - 8 Archetypes by Randall Rozin

Randall-RozinLiterature, theater, and yes, the Super Bowl advertising are chock full of general themes or archetypes that are used as models to connect you to a given point of view.  Advertising provides a unique emotional shorthand to these archetypes in the form of characters (real or imagined) and through situational placements.

Given a high percentage of ‘’average Joe and Janes” watching a telecast such as the Super Bowl,  it was not surprising to see this particular archetype played out many times throughout the telecast. It was not the only one, however, as this year's Super Bowl advertising featured at least eight common archetypes:

1. The Average Joe or Jane

Volkswagen had an interesting take on an Average Joe from Minnesota turned Island Sage with its Beetle ad “Smile.” A dismal office scene and is turned into opine for the optimist that exists in all of us - if only we could bring our smile to the surface.  One manifestation of the smile we all need rests in the Volkswagen Beetle, whose anthropomorphized front end is a smile incarnate – sorry, but couldn’t resist that pun.  The call to action is simply, "Get happy."  The line, “Don’t fret me brother, sticky bun come soon” is sure to be a classic.

2. The Damsel

Regardless of what one thinks about the ad's execution, the most obvious use of combined archetypes in their purest forms was from GoDaddy.Com. The firm employed a Damsel (sexy Damsel in this case with Bar Refaeli) and a Smart Nerd to demonstrate a Match of sexy domain and smart website capabilities.

3. The Outlaw

Average Joe turns Outlaw in its new Audi “Prom” ad.  Our young hero goes to the prom alone, but his father’s Audi gives him the confident horsepower he needs to make his move on the prom queen.  He kisses the girl, get’s a black eye from her prom king boyfriend, and celebrates his new found bravery all the way home in the Audi.

4. The Devil

The new Mercedes “Soul” commercial - with an extended play online - provides a fun depiction of several common archetypes in one ad:  The Devil (Willem Dafoe), the Average Joe (the lead actor in the spot) whom via fantasy sequence, experiences the Damsel (Kate Upton) and the Hero models as well.  A wonderfully filmed fantasy spot with the payoff being an affordably-priced car you'd think you'd have to sell your soul to have.

5. The Trailblazer / The Traveler

The epic Play Date spot from Hyundai blends the Trailblazer/Traveler archetypes together with a bit of Outlaw prototype to answer the question, “What are we going to do today?” in a fun, energetic and engaging way. This Super Bowl spot features an average family in dynamic situations with the Flaming Lips thrown in for good measure.  Every day is an adventure in the new seven passenger Hyundai Santa Fe.

6. The Child

Hyundai delivered a second clever Super Bowl spot called ‘Team’ that utilizes the Child archetype to cleverly bring home the 7-passenger Santa Fe selling proposition in a memorable and entertaining way.

7. The Hero

The entry from Axe this year features the Hero (Firefighter) with the Damsel in Distress archetype. Spoiler alert….an odd deviation from the ‘hero gets the girl” ending exists in that a new hero enters at the end of the Axe Super Bowl commercial as an out of context astronaut that connects the girl to the name of the Axe product descriptor.  In this case the descriptor is “Apollo.”

8. Buddies

Budweiser, a perennial favorite in Super Bowl advertising, had an entry called, “Brotherhood.”  It’s a beautifully shot buddy prototype that strongly reinforces an important corporate symbol.  Seemed like a 60-second send-up of the movie Warhorse but done with a Budweiser Clydesdale.  Nice.

Preview Week before the Big Game

A strong Super Bowl advertising ‘preview week’ ahead of this year’s big game telecast was quite interesting. The Super Bowl advertising previews running ahead of the Super Bowl via online display, social media, and other outlets garnered significant impressions, buzz, and excitement.  The end result was greater anticipation when the Super Bowl spots actually aired during the game with the business result being enhanced amortization of the investment and greater potential for longer term exposure.

Speaking of longer term exposure, my favorite Super Bowl advertising example . . . no strike that . . . my favorite advertisement of all time, in any venue, remains Apple and its 1984 which was aired only once by Apple, but continues to get impressions to this day.  This spot’s use of the classic hero saves the day and opens us to new realities is a classic that endures with aspiration as much nearly 30 years later as it did the day it aired. – Randall Rozin


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