Bringing culture into branding
Advertising that reflects current societal desires and anxieties have a better chance of making an impact on their targeted audiences
THE SUPER BOWL final in February is the main sporting event in the American calendar, the equivalent of our All-Ireland finals in September. In an era of fragmenting audiences for mass media, it is now one of the few times advertisers are guaranteed a mass audience in the US, and for the marketing communications community it’s all about the ads rather than the football.
Given that a 30-second slot in the half-time break costs more than $3 million, it’s no wonder advertisers who can afford the entry fee want to put their best creative feet forward, but this year’s selection (they can be viewed online) are nothing to write home about with one stunning exception – an inspired and inspiring two-minute spectacular from Chrysler featuring Clint Eastwood as presenter and voiceover.
The ad is beautifully shot and directed with Eastwood filmed against a variety of moody backgrounds, delivering his lines with brooding, almost biblical authority. But the real star of the commercial is the words, the copy. Bill Bernbach, watching on a widescreen at the right hand of OMG, must have been very proud. Someone on earth had heeded his dying wish: “All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society and we can vulgarise that society, we can brutalise it or we can help lift it onto a higher level”.
Eastwood delivers the words: “It’s half-time. Both teams are in their locker rooms discussing what they can do to win this game in the second half. It’s half-time in America too. People are out of work and they’re hurting. And they’re all wondering about what they’re going to do to make a comeback. And we’re all scared because this isn’t a game. The people in Detroit know a little something about this. They almost lost everything. But they pulled together now Motor City is fighting again.
“I’ve seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life, times when we didn’t understand each other, it seems that we lost our heart at times; the fog, division, discord and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead. But after those trials we all rallied round what was right and acted as one. Because that’s what we do. We find a way through tough times and if we can’t find a way we make one.
“All that matters now is what’s ahead. How do we come from behind, how do we come together and how do we win. Detroit shows it can be done and what’s true about them is true about all of us. This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again. When we do the world’s going to hear the roar of our engines. Yeah, it’s half time in America and our second half is about to begin.”