Super Bowl

Successful Super Bowl Ads Generate a Reaction

Curator’s Scott Battishill joined some of the industry’s most successful and accomplished advertisers and marketers last week for the American Advertising Federation’s 2016 Chalk Talk. The panel spent the evening going over spots from #SB50, sharing their opinions on what worked, what didn’t, which made an impact and which were duds.

The overall sentiment was that companies have to take a stand, make a splash, or do something crazy to stand out in such a loud, crowded marketplace.

To put it bluntly, neutrality sucks and it’s not going to get brands anywhere.

Some brands seemed to put out ads just for the sake of having an ad. They wasted $5+ million and didn’t take advantage of the stage they were on. The spots that everyone forgot about were the spots that didn’t have brand recognition, connect with the viewer, or strongly tie into social, which is where the conversation would continue long after the Lombardi trophy was awarded.

When a brand is competing for attention, they have to be the Donald Trump: loud, crazy, controversial and memorable. Brands who are safe, boring, neutral – the Jeb Bush of commercials – are forgotten. When there is so much going on in the viewer’s life – a game to watch, a beer to drink, a friend to talk to – it’s easy for a brand to get lost in the commotion. Spots that stood out made viewers stop, listen, react and respond.

So the take away here isn’t, “What’s the formula for a successful Super Bowl commercial?” The take away is brands will never get anywhere sitting in the middle. Whether good or bad, some reaction is better than no reaction. Either way, people are still talking about your brand and [hopefully] remembering your product.


For Chalk Talk 2016, Scott was joined by Mary Knight, Principal and ECD of Hydrogen; Ronan O’Mahony, Director of Brand & Advertising at T-Mobile; Cal McAllister, Co-Founder and CEO of Wexley School for Girls; and Troy McCall, Freelance Creative Director. The event was moderated by Chris Copacino, Account Director at copacino+fujikado.

Curator Newsfeed: February 12, 2016

Happy Friday! It was an exciting week at Curator! Not only did the Broncos beat the Panthers in Super Bowl 50, but there were also #SB50 commercial winners and losers too. Curator's own Scott Battishill appeared on Q13 Fox on Monday to share which spots were great and which may have missed the mark. Plus, check out how our clients are celebrating Valentine’s Day weekend and get some great gift ideas for your loved ones!

Super Bowl Ads Draw 476M Views Online, Broadcasting Cable

3 Lessons On How Not to Pull a Red Lobster If Beyonce Boosts Your Brand, Fast Company

These are the Brands Americans Trust Most, Fortune

How the Most Successful People Ask Questions, Fast Company

Instagram Officially Adds Support for Multiple Accounts, Adweek

Twitter Will Now Put Recommended (Not Newest) Tweets at the Top of Your Timeline, Tech Crunch

Facebook Releases New Video Ad Features, Including Automated Captions, MarketingLand

Client Coverage:

February Fun at Las Vegas North and South Premium Outlets, Vegas News

Wildwood Won’t Become a Pharmacy | Chefs Week PDX Takes Over Whole Foods Hot Bar, Eater

Eat It Up: A Look Back at Another Successful Chefs Week PDX, Portland Business Journal

Gilroy Gets C for Tobacco/Win an Outlet Scholarship, Gilroy Dispatch

Whole Foods Market Seattle Food Trends, Seattle Dining

Chinese New Year Rolls Into SoCal Malls, Apparel News

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue…, Stylelogical

Last Minute Valentine’s Gifts for Him, My News 4 & KRNV

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide at Columbia Center Mall, NBC Right Now KNDO

Seattle vs. New England: Which Town Boasts More Brand Marketing Swagger?

A Letter from Seattle

Dear lovable New England Chowdah-heads,

We’re going to take a look at a few Seattle brands that are cranking it all the way to 12 ahead of the big game. But first, we’ve got some news for you, New England. There’s a little local company down the street from Curator’s offices called They crunched a few numbers recently and found that Seattle fans love their team more than New England loves its Patriots. What?! How can that be? Well, first they looked at site searches, then they sliced and diced customer purchases. What Amazon discovered is that items from the Seattle Seahawks Fan Shop on Amazon sold more than 8 times the average NFL team, while the Patriots sold at just 2.5 times the average team. 

Ok, ok. I can understand that you might be leery of Amazon’s bias. They sure were quick to jump on the #deflategate bandwagon. 

Let’s take a look at some other Seattle-based brands and see how they’re participating in this Seahawks frenzy. Everyone knows Boston is famous for tea parties and Seattle loves its coffee. Starbucks, an official partner of the Seahawks, calls the coffee-drinking fans the “Legion of Brew.” This interesting partnership delivered exclusive Seahawks content via the official Seahawks mobile app, when L.O.B.s were sipping lattes inside a Starbucks location. The baristas’ shirts were pretty cool, too. 

Image source: Starbucks

Image source: Starbucks

Here in Jet City, both Delta (the team’s official airline partner) and Seattle-based Alaska Airlines want to be known as the Seahawks' biggest supporters. Personally, I like the local guys. At Alaska Airlines, Russell Wilson is the carrier’s Chief Football Officer. Anyone flying from Seattle wearing a #3 Hawks jersey gets to board their flight early. #GoHawks.

Speaking of travel, Expedia employees created an amazing 10-story shrine to Beast Mode completely out of construction paper displayed in the windows at HQ.

Image source: MyNorthwest/Dara  Khosrowhshahi

Image source: MyNorthwest/Dara Khosrowhshahi

Around here, when a brand or businesses uses its building to pay tribute to the team, we call that #Hawkitechture. Go ahead. Scroll through the #Hawkitechture hash tag on Instagram. I’ll wait here. It might take a while. There are just sooooo many. 

When it comes to personal branding, we at Curator have to tip our hats to the #12Pets. Some of those pets have an amazing content strategy. We can't decide who is more creative — @barkleysircharles and his 306K Instagram followers or @Meowshawn_Lynch and his 2,500 Twitter followers. 

You may have heard that recreational marijuana is legal here. We wondered if an industry so young would be ready to jump into the action. Sure enough! A hard-working marijuana dispensary is working round the clock to roll 12,000 joints in honor of the big game. This special Seahawks blend is marketed as the 12th Pack. 

But don’t worry. If that kind of green isn’t your thing, area grocers can hook you up with some fan-friendly organic produce. 

One final note from our local mythical creature brand, Sasquatch. He has made the most mesmerizing 12th Vine. Seriously. I challenge you to look away. 

With that, we’ll hand it over to you, Boston. We’re waiting to be impressed by your marketers' Patriot Pride. 



What an amazing thing the Seahawks have done for our NW community. How rare it is for a team and its fans to truly come together the way the 12s and Seahawks have. And even more rare for an entire region to bind together around a single entity the way we have with our Champion Seattle Seahawks. A new generation of NW sports fans — those nine- and 10-year-olds playing football at recess — can now believe they are playing in a Super Bowl… and winning.

Curator has partnered with Q13’s Bill Wixey to give back to the Seattle Seahawks directly from the 12th man. Over the next week, share your personal thank you through Instagram and tag with #thankyouseahawks. We will be gathering the images and messages from the site to create a commemorative book to be shared with the Seahawks organization and each of the players. We don’t want our appreciation for a season for the ages to go unnoticed! Download the PDF here and view your fellow 12’s #thankyouseahawks on!


The Curator News Feed: February 1, 2013

With lots of talk about the big game this Sunday, it’s no surprise that many of our favorite reads this week are about the highly anticipated Super Bowl ads. But a few other stories caught our attention, including the decline of proper grammar use, a visual history of Lego's and the rising popularity of new social network, Vine.  

3 Ways Advertisers Can Use Vine, hasoffers. Among the 2013 class of rookie social networks, Vine appears to be the first one to break out (though Twitter is its parent company, so, of course). Vine is like a Twitter-for-videos — you shoot little video segments till they total six seconds, the result of which is a GIF-looking mini-movie, and then upload them to an Instagram-looking feed. If this sounds like a mishmash of various social networks and internet memes, well, it kind of is, but that hasn't stopped some users from getting creative with it. Check out the vines at the link from Gap, which shows off a (very) brief history of its advertising, and a Virginia coffee shop, which shows how latte art gets made. – Paul

5 Super Bowl Ads the Enlist Viewer Help, ABC News. With the Seahawks out, I am less excited for the Super Bowl than I was a few weeks ago, however I am still going to tune into the big game for the ads of course! I love reading all of the predictions and seeing the teasers, but this year I’m most looking forward to how brands will use their primetime ad spots to engage their audience. And it appears many already have. Pretty cool. – Chelsey

Most Viral Super Bowl Ads of All Time, Bloomberg Businessweek. The countdown has officially begun – Only two more days till the big game! While I’m still mourning the fact that the Seahawks won’t be playing this Sunday, I am pretty excited to check out which advertisements grace our screens this year. We’ve already seen some previews and teasers pop up from companies like Volkswagen, just adding to the anticipation. This week, Bloomberg Businessweek took us down a walk on memory lane to recap the most viral Super Bowl ads of all time. Personally, I hope the “E*Trade Baby” makes another appearance. What’s your bet on the company that will have the most viral ad this year? Can’t wait to find out! – Annie

Michael C. Moore - VIEWPOINT: Proper grammar ain't a thing like it used to was, Kitsap Sun. I was reading my local paper this weekend and came across this little ditty about the use of proper grammar in today’s digital age. And while it is my job to adapt to the changing landscape and take advantage of communications systems available and used by consumers today (e.g., Twitter), I can’t help but feel a kinship with Mr. Moore and hope that kids do learn and appreciate the importance of grammar in conveying context and meaning. B sure 2 tweet ur thots 2 @danmiller1973 – Dan

How The Usually Dry Annual Report Has Become Brands’ Secret Marketing Weapon, Creativity Online. This article talks about how a lot of companies are realizing that their annual report shouldn’t just contain the dry facts and figures, but that it’s an opportunity to connect with consumers and show the world what they’re all about. I’m sure you’ve heard of, or seen, Warby Parker’s Annual Report that blew up the interwebs the last two years, but there are some other great examples of companies flexing their creative muscles. – Megan

55 Years of the Brick, Facebook. As a father of a two year old in an iPad generation, I find myself working hard to make sure my son explores the world around him away from a screen. From Lincoln Logs to Lego's, building toys were a huge part of my childhood and something I want for Jax as he begins to discover the power of his imagination. Montreal agency "Brad" has created some beautifully inspired posters (55 of them of course) for this iconic brand's 55th anniversary. Brilliant and definitely worth checking out. – Shawn

Matt McInerney Scores With Redeisgned NFL Team Logos, If It's Hip, It's Here. This link celebrates the Superbowl this weekend, but it's not an article about predictions or commercials. This designer from New York gave all the NFL Team logos a modern twist. I'm as much of a retro fan as the next 80s child, but some of these are pretty rad. The Seahawks redesign definitely deserves a look. What's your favorite? – Maria

Samsung Next Big Thing, YouTube. Pass the nachos, please. The BIGGEST day in advertising is upon us. – Ann Marie

Groupon Out Daddy’d GoDaddy

Groupon Logo

Once again, showed up to Super Bowl 45 with its spectacularly brainless T&A spots meant to polarize and scandalize the millions of viewers gathered to watch this world championship of brand advertising. Surprisingly, it wasn’t Danica Patrick’s hair flipping and bad acting that had people seething. It was Groupon’s parody ads about saving the whales (or not), preserving Tibetan culture (or not) and rainforest deforestation.

I’ll let other folks debate whether these ads were in good taste. Here, I’ll simply offer 3 tips that might help Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason when he debuts next year’s Super Bowl spots.

1)      Warm up the 12th Man. Groupon has zillions of customers who are out there singing the praises of Groupon every day. These brand evangelists are basically an extension of the Groupon staff. And yet when the ads aired and Twitter went up in flames with angry Groupon Tweets, there were almost no messages of support from your fans. Why? Because barely anyone knew the punchline. Come Sunday night, no one was telling Groupon’s story. Instead, the critics told *their* version of Groupon’s story all night long. Next time, let some of your biggest brand advocates in on the joke, too. Groupon users are a social media savvy bunch. They are active on Groupon’s discussion boards, they Tweet, they share information on Facebook. Share with them the story of what you’re trying to accomplish with your ad campaign and they’ll have your back when the Twitter mob comes calling.

2)      Don’t Forget Your Special Teams. It’s hard to get angry at people who save the whales, protect the rainforest and rush to the aid of an oppressed people. These are noble causes that most of us can get behind. If you’ve got friends like Greenpeace, The Tibet Fund or The Rainforest Action Network, tell us! But perhaps more importantly, have them vouch for you. By Monday, Greenpeace posted a blog entry explaining the Groupon/Greenpeace collaboration. Then came the response from buildOn, and by Tuesday Rainforest Action Network had also shared some very candid (and somewhat critical) feedback. Wait...I feel like there was one more...who are we But for most, this seems too little, too late. Next time, work with your allies ahead of the big event and help them find ways to put the work your doing into context for your audience and theirs. Seed them with ideas for their organization’s blog and invite them to guest post on your own. Invite them to post a message on Facebook or brainstorm Twitter messages to post over a longer period of time. If the partnership is significant enough, determine whether there are opportunities for them to participate in media interviews.

3)      Read the Blitz – Be Ready to Call an Audible. How did a company that is fueled by social media buzz get caught so unprepared? As the storm on Twitter raged on, everyone from CEO @AndrewMason to the @Groupon local reps went silent for hours and hours. During the game, anyone who visited Groupon’s Facebook pages got…crickets. A glance at the Groupon discussion boards showed plenty of comments from angry viewers, but nothing from the company. These are powerful tools to tell people not just about your daily deals, but also about your story – how you began as a cause-based website called The Point, the collaboration between your organization and the charities, why these charities matter to your customer. Next time, help your staff use all of these tools to contribute to the conversation happening around Groupon’s brand. I have to wonder whether there would still be seven pages of angry comments on the discussion board if someone had honestly answered that first question of, “What were you thinking?!”

And on a related note, if the overwhelming feedback from customers is telling you that your message was ill-received, you may want to take a closer look at what you said, and engage in sincere dialog with your critics on why they are offended and what you can do to change that.

We don’t expect this to be the end of Groupon. In fact, it's TBD whether this post-game buzz will turn out in their favor. We’re just hoping the next time they take the field, they’ll be more prepared.