E*Trade and Budweiser enhance their brands this Super Bowl

Everybody Loves a BabyAnother Super Bowl has come and gone. And like many a marketing and branding blogger, I have some observations about the commercials.

First, there was too much “creativity” and not enough substance.

I’ll let others try to rationalize or make sense of the special effects and slurred words and innuendos and risqué goings-on. As usual there were the stupid “consumers” trying to steal one another’s attention, girl friend or beers. I just don’t relate to those kind of customers – and I don’t think age has a thing to do with it.

But there was one exceptional pair of commercials from E*Trade.

They were a couple of gems. If you didn’t see them, you were placed in the screen of a monitor looking out at a baby (1-2 year-old?) who spoke to us in “adult” with a baritone voice and beautiful diction. He just told us he had completed a trade using E*Trade and it was “child’s play”. Then in the first commercial he spit-up. In the second, he told us he had just hired a clown after making an E*Trade sale. Then he told us he hadn’t any idea how scary a clown actually could be (or words to that effect).

Demonstrating that trading on the Internet was child’s play drove the point home using a symbol all of us find adoring and attention-getting. Then contrasting the icon with the voice made a great impression. The “kickers” were unexpected and left us chuckling.

In short, the point was made in an entertaining but not a distracting way. There was humor, tension and resonance.

Well done, E*Trade!

Of course, Budweiser had a bunch of ads airing, one of which is worth mentioning. Here, a Dalmatian takes a young Clydesdale under his wing and puts hm in training to pull the beer wagon. The horse succeeds and all is well. Warm, friendly, familiar presentation of the “heritage” symbols Bud has used successfully when advertising to mature beer drinkers.

And that’s about it for my appreciation for this year’s “cream” of Madison Avenue’s best creative minds.

I’m glad I got out of the business.

Martin Jelsema

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