My original plan was to select the best ads of Super Bowl Sunday and explain why they stood out. Really. That was my intent. Then I watched the game.

I took notes on all 60 plus commercials. I waited, pen poised, for the winner that would break out of the dreck. It never happened. What I saw were really expensive ads ($2.5 million for 30 seconds) that fell flat or were flat out offensive. Some were confusing or mildly amusing — but had no point.

Oh well. As Groucho Marx said, “We should learn from the mistakes of others; we don’t have time to make them all ourselves.”

So, I’ll point out one commercial that has already reportedly achieved its purpose (one of the prerequisites of a POP! marketing message – Purposeful, Original, and Pithy), then I’ll dissect what went wrong with the others and show how you can avoid making those same mistakes with your business.

A Dove ad showed young women expressing shame about their body. The “ethnically correct” spot showed a variety of wistful girls sharing their desire to be thinner, prettier, even blonde. The ad ended with a website viewers could visit to learn more about Dove’s innovative efforts to help women feel proud of and grateful for their body, regardless of color, size or shape.

USA Today reported 7,000 people logged on to www.campaignforrealbeauty.com within ten minutes of the ad being shown. Those are tangible results.

What was your favorite ad? Did “The Magic Fridge is back!” ad make you laugh out loud? Did the shorn sheep “streaker” get a giggle? Did the ad featuring the mom and daughter arriving at the hospital room right when the intern with the shock paddles announced “That killed him” shock you?

Quick. Who were the sponsors of those ads? Were you moved to take any action as a result of seeing those ads? Will you check out their website? Buy their product? Do you even know the name of the product that was featured?

Simply said, if people see your ad and can’t remember your name, that ad has failed. How can they find your product in the store? How can they refer your business to a colleague? How will they locate you on the web?

One way to create a memorable marketing message is to place your name in your slogan so it’s imprinted in peoples’ brain every time it’s read or said. For example, fill in the blank, “I wish I were an _______ _________ weiner.” Did you say, “Oscar Meyer” even though you may not have heard that jingle in years? Now that’s a purposeful, high-payoff slogan that POP!s.

Check back Thursday for more Super Bowl ad lessons-learned. (www.samhornpop.com)

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