Super Bowl 50 Advertising - What's Missing?

(this article also appears on Huffington Post - click here to read it there)

There's been pretty vocal criticism that this year's Super Bowl buffet of advertising didn't quite cut it.

Sure, there was creativity (Puppy Monkey Baby), technology (New Money), and sarcasm (TJ Miller), but was there true entertainment and engagement? Entertainment and engagement certainly are goals for any spot, among other things.

So what was missing?

There wasn't a lot of insight, at least not to my eye. Great marketing is based on a true, unique, and emotional insight about the target audience. I honestly didn't see much of the creativity grounded in an insight. Even great entertainment is rooted in an emotional insight. There were very few emotional triggers to pull viewers into the message, and to get them to react and engage. Insights were a missing link IMHO.

There also wasn't a lot of social engagement, at least not as much as there could be. Sure, there was commentary and sharing, and many brand analysts have ranked the spots based on social impressions. But there wasn't a lot of social activity back and forth across multiple screens and multiple social outlets. We know people are using multiple screens, but we didn't see many brands leveraging that behavior. It's through multiple screens that you can drive a deeper relationship with the entertainment and the messaging, ultimately moving viewers to take action. Like to buy a product. I didn't see much of that kind of activity.

Finally, there wasn't an overall message to inspire. The Super Bowl is a huge stage, a global stage. It's an opportunity for a brand to make a statement, and to say something motivating and inspiring that can bring us all together. I didn't see much...except at the Half Time Show.

Now I realize that it's easy to criticize and there was a lot of good work in the mix. I just believe it could have gone even higher.

What do you think? What's your experience? JIM