Olympic ads score bronze, at best

>After reading Olivier Blanchard’s post about advertising during the Olympics, I had to pay a little more attention. While I don’t agree with Oliver’s claim that the spots supporting the Olympics broadcast is proof that advertising agencies were still more than capable of producing really great ads, I did notice some elegant story telling. There were several good ones – bronze medal winners, at least – but there were also plenty of pretenders that should be happy to even be there.

I’m usually pretty hard on US automotive manufacturers’ spots, but the one with the Chevy Tahoe horns playing the Olympic theme – parked in awe inspiring natural settings right out of the NBC bumpers – was truly elegant. It had a simple premise: saluting the Team USA. No vehicles on impossibly curvy roads. No nauseating list of features. No billboard at the end promoting the best prices ever.

General Motors killed the mood, however, with spots for the Silverado pick-up truck “with ThunderPack”, the GMC Sierra and the GMC Envoy. Each spot included a long list of features, beauty shots of the vehicles in action and, in the case of the Silverado spot, ended with a billboard showing the rebates that are currently being offered (in effect, saying our product is so great, we’ll give you money to buy it!) At least the two GMC spots hid the price in the context of a simple, old-school product comparison ad.

One of the most awesome examples was a short promotion for NBC’s coverage of the Daytona 500 this Sunday, and used some great editing to show speed skaters being run down by Tony Stewart.

Another for an insurance company (I can’t remember it so it wasn’t a great example of brand building) told a beautiful story. A 50-something couple is inspired to go skating while watching the pairs figure skating. At the local pond, the man falls down, bumps the warming shed and a sheet of ice slides off the shed and crushes his car. Great story telling that was very well connected to the content of the program.

I’m going to keep watching the Olympics because there are a lot of great stories during the coverage, but I’ll be watching the spots too, so see who scores well with the judges.

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One Response to Olympic ads score bronze, at best

  1. >Okay, so maybe they aren’t exactly worthy of gold medals, but after the big bowl of crap the Superbowl dished out, even an average ad would seem like a breath of fresh air.Bronze is fair.

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