Controversial Super Bowl Commercials: When controversy means business and when to avoid it

With the Super Bowl merely days away the excitement is mounting for an exceptional event. With an average of 100 million viewers tuning in, the Super Bowl is much more than a game. With a widespread and diverse audience, the Super Bowl is heaven on earth for advertisers.  As in previous years, the ads showcased at Super Bowl XLV will aim to capture and amaze us. So what can we look forward to?

With a number of companies conducting competitions to find the most catchy and outrageous commercials to air on game day, the ones that will actually make it are a little up in the air. Although only a few lucky entries make it to the final cut, the creativity and originality that oozes from so many of the mock commercials is outstanding. Entries made to Doritos/Pepsi Max “Crash the Super Bowl” competition were not only innovative, but a number of them also received attention for being slightly controversial.

There were two entries in particular that received special notoriety from the LGBT community for their homosexual undertones. LGBT community members argued that perhaps these commercials were meant to make the gay community the “butt of the joke.” Although the commercials appear to be witty and unique in theme, the response of the LGBT community to these video entries reminds us of the power and influence held by commercials.

Such ads have the distinct ability to evoke emotion in viewers pertaining to both the product and company.  These controversial entries did not make the final cut in the “Crash the Super Bowl” contest.  However, they have acted as a reminder of the importance of finding ways to capture our audience through clever methods without offending potential clients and customers. So that’s the real key in controversy, if it offends customers and clients, probably not the right move, but if it creates a greater discussion and the controversy actually adds to the discussion then you might have a success on your hands.

An ad that we heard so much about last year was the Tim Tebow Focus on the Family spot. And it did just that, created controversy but also created a discussion (perfect for the cause of Focus on the Family.)

In reviewing the questionable entries for Doritos, although the commercials are humorous, they can without a doubt be interpreted as picking fun at this particular group of individuals.  It would seem that presenting such ads would not be a benefit to Doritos.

Remember, the sky is the limit on the amount of imagination and originality you can use to reach your target audience, but be careful to realize that such a tool has the power to build or break your business.

If you’d like more information on how to create a unique marketing campaign tailored for your company, contact Weise Communications at 303-996-9940, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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