Wunderman CCO Kevin Drew Davis Talks Super Bowl Ads with SCREEN
February 3, 2020 by Screenmag
Kevin Drew Davis has a history with the Super Bowl. While at DDB as ECD of the McDonald’s business, he and his team made McDonald’s the most retweeted brand ever in a single day during the 2015 Super Bowl. So who better to ask about the 2020 ads than Kevin, now Chief Creative Officer at Wunderman Chicago...
SCREEN: What was your favorite spot of the Super Bowl?
I have to hand it to Hyundai. They did a classic product demo in a fun and entertaining way. The cast was full of Boston-natives (plus honorary native, Big Papi) - to get the accents right. I now know the Hyundai Sonata has the feature, and I even know how to use the “clickah” to get it to park and unpark itself. Again, a classic product demo with an execution that elevated to Super Bowl level. I saw lots of non-advertising people talking about this one.
I also loved the Jeep “Groundhog Day” spot for pure entertainment value. It had some elements of a product demo (though not as strong as Hyundai) combined with national-treasure Bill Murray in an environment we all know. If you’re going to borrow from a film, this is how to do it. Within seconds, the exposition was covered and the context of it being Groundhog Day was setup. A really well-executed and fun 60 seconds.
There was a lot of middle-of-the-road stuff from the usual suspects - Doritos, Pringles, Reese’s, Mountain Dew, etc. I would’ve liked these more if they’d just shown up on a random Tuesday night. But in the context of the Super Bowl, I thought they were just okay. Of the bunch, I’d say Cheetos pulled it off best because the product experience (yellow fingers) was integral to the story.
New York Life had a lovely emotional spot - "love through action” - that was well executed and a really smart strategy. But, it felt out of place in the Super Bowl. And the Google “Remember” spot was sweet and emotional while it was happening, but left at dystopian nightmare aftertaste within seconds of it ending.
SCREEN: What was your least favorite spot of the night or a spot you felt could have been more successful?
Mr Peanut - this whole thing was a disaster. You build a brand for 100+ years only to end it for clicks? Then there’s some sort of rebirth with an online stream of Baby Nut. WTF? The whole thing felt like bad clickbait advertising you see at the bottom of every website. A strategic mess that did some damage to the brand. And doing research afterwards about who was responsible for all this, well, that’s what you get.
Audi “Let It Go”. Another mess. When it ended, my wife gave me that WTF? look - in my household, I’m responsible for explaining all of the ad industry’s sins - and I agreed with her. Just trying to describe it is hard -"We’re going to get Maise Williams that people know as Arya Stark from the television series, Game of Thrones, that ended almost a year ago and have her sit in our Audi SUV-like object driving around traffic-congested LA with only fleeting references to it being an electric vehicle and sing the song ‘Let It Go’ from the Disney kids movie ‘Frozen’ to imply how we have to let go of our dependence on fossil fuels”. See how ridiculous that sounds?
I’m glad cause/purpose marketing has finally taken a back seat. And when it did show up, it felt forced. Really, Michelob is going to make American farmland organic? Maybe they should’ve lead with the fact the beer is organic so I would’ve rolled my eyes a little less in the beginning.
And what was the deal with all the death? Mr Peanut, New York Life and Google all went there. Less death. It’s the Super Bowl, this is supposed to be fun. Even Snickers went down the “everything is terrible” route.
SCREEN: What would you like to see more or less of in terms of advertising in next year's Super Bowl?
I’d love to see better stories. Too much reliance on sight-gags and VO. The best storytelling of the night was Google. Unfortunately, it painted such a vivid picture it left me worrying about the data collection and all the horrible ads the poor man was going to see afterwards.