NEW YORK— What Super Bowl ads will people discuss over the water cooler a day after the big game?
There were no crude jokes. Sexual innuendo was kept to a minimum. And uncomfortable scenes were missing.
In short, there wasn't much shock value.
Sure, RadioShack poked fun at its image by starring 80s icons like Teen Wolf in its ad. And Coca-Cola struck an emotional chord by showcasing people of different diversities in its spot. As did Chrysler, with its "Made in America" message.
But with a 30-second Super Bowl commercial fetching $4 million and more than 108 million viewers expected to tune in to Sunday night's game, advertisers tried to keep it family friendly with socially conscious statements, patriotic messages and light humor. After all, shocking ads in previous years have not always been well received. (Think: GoDaddy.com's ad that featured a long, up-close kiss was at the bottom of the most popular ad lists last year.)
"A lot of brands were going with the safety from the start," said David Berkowitz, chief marketing officer for digital ad agency MRY.
Viewers had a mixed reaction to the ads. Keith Harris, who was watching the Super Bowl in Raleigh, N.C., said he appreciated the safer ads. "The ads are less funny, but it's easier to watch the Super Bowl with your family," he said.
Conversely, Paul Capelli, who lives in West Chester, Pa., found most ads dull: "The best spots were like a Payton Manning-to-Wes Welker pass play — they were there, but too few and those that connected left you wanting something a bit more spectacular."
CONNECTING WITH A CAUSE
Many advertisers played it safe by promoting a cause or focusing on sentimental issues.