Super Bowl 2018 Ad Awards: Too Clever

Posted on
February 7, 2018

If you want better sales, make sure you are clear before you are clever! 

I’m giving away 3 Super Bowl ad awards for 2018. Read about my 3 categories here:

Today’s award goes to the brand that got too clever for it’s own good. 

The Super Bowl is known for brands pushing the boundaries with creativity. This is often why watching the commercials is so much fun!

However sometimes brands get too clever and it leaves the audience scratching their heads. 

Remember, it’s not the best products or services that sell, it’s the ones that are easiest for the customer to understand. 

Confusion always costs companies $$ in the long run and I think this commercial hits the confusion nail right on the head! 


So the “Too Clever” award goes to Progressive! 

Here are a few things that I think were not great about the commercial:

A brand should never position themselves as the hero. They should always be the guide. You can read more about his idea here:

“The year of me”. The character “paperless discounts” has all these adventures all over the world. I’m super confused here. Is Progressive helping us save money or are we watching how this odd character has had adventures that are all about him? Oh wait… they said it themselves “The year of me.” This commercial is all about the character and has nothing to do with us the customer or at the least I have to work super hard to figure out how it's about me.

It took me a little bit to figure out that this stack of papers was offering me paperless discounts. Too many brain calories are being burnt to figure out this commercial.

The character even says “I fell in love with myself!” Yep the commercial was all about this odd character progressive created and nothing to do with the customer.

I think Progressive wasted a ton of $$ on that commercial. Maybe if the “year of me” was that character traveling the world helping people in terrible situations save money on insurance, maybe then it would had made more sense. Maybe.

Nice try Progressive. Good thing they are a huge brand and it won’t hurt them much. But if they keep rolling out ads like this one, then it might start hurting in the long run. 

So as a brand remember clarity is always better than creativity. Sometimes simply stating what you do is better than getting too clever. 

You could state as a design agency that you are for “Aesthetic beauty” with a "buy now" button on your website. Or you could state as a design agency that you are for “Websites that work” with a "buy now" button on your website. Guess what? The second one is going to perform better because it is easier for the customer to understand.

Creativity is great, but clarity must come first! 

 Stay tuned for my next award: The Heart Grabber 

Posted on
February 7, 2018