Superbowl Ads – Just not getting it or a comic relief?

This weekend is the annual party, celebration and competition of the greatest TV Commercials… errr… we mean football teams, to play on your TV set this year.  Rumors are already swirling on who will have the best ads, who will even be advertising during the big game and what approach do businesses take this year?   Do they continue their quirky or whimsical message of “business as ususal – this is party time” or do they take a more sensitive approach and touch on the fact that Superbowl XLIII is part of hard economic times? 

It’s a mix on how advertisers are approaching their marketing message –  E*Trade’s talking baby – now in its 2nd Superbowl –  will be toned down from its traditional “woah – if I can do it, so can you” message. E*Trade’s agency –  Grey New York, retested an initially successful concept after the economy tanked.  “This year is different … when it comes to the financial world, real estate, the stock market,” says Tor Myhren, CCO of Grey New York. “People want to laugh, but anything that insinuates laughing at misfortune is taken more personally.”

First-timers Pedigree is using humor in its ads.  Pedigree’s 30-second spot from TBWAChiatDay will not show a single dog or kernel of food, but instead will demonstrate what a dogless world would be like, according to John Anton, marketing director for Pedigree. “People want to be entertained and watch ads that are uplifting,” he says.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi are both going the optimistic route. Coke’s recently launched global campaign, “Open happiness,” continues with a Super Bowl spot in which teens connect over a Coke and another with an army of insects stealing a napping man’s soda. “Coke is [not] going to solve the economic problems of the world or the Middle East crisis. [It’s] a small, simple pleasure in people’s hectic day,” says Joe Tripodi, Coke’s CMO and commercial officer.

Superbowl Commercials – who knew that such deep thoughts went into their concepts – from dogless worlds to a simple happy moment brought on by a carbonated drink.

Happy Superbowl Weekend!