Storytelling: Super Bowl Ads Compared and Contrasted

Super Bowl ads are known for being creative, memorable and sometimes a little outrageous. But is that what makes them a good ad, or is it the storytelling the advertisers use to promote the product?

The first Super Bowl ad I chose was the Budweiser ad called “Brotherhood”. The ad is meant to be sentimental. At the beginning, during the exposition, the ad shows a man and a baby horse. Then during the rising action we watch the man take care of this horse and they become very close as he trains him. In continued rising action Budweiser is identified and the horse goes off to be a Budweiser Clydesdale. In the Climax, the man goes to see the horse in Chicago, at first the horse doesn’t recognize him but then the story is resolved as the horse runs away (which is slightly frightening) and the man hugs him. You can watch the ad here.

The next Super Bowl ad I’d like to look at is the RadioShack ad called ‘The Phone Call Commercial”. Unlike the first ad, this one is meant to be more comical and tells a little less of a story. From the very beginning you see two Radioshack employees in the store and one is on the phone. The employee hangs up the phone and tells the other man “The 80’s called they want their store back.” I would have to call this the exposition. Next, during rising actions all these celebrities from the 80’s come running in the store like Hulk Hogan and even Chuckie the evil doll from the movies. In the climax, all the celebrities take everything out of the store leaving the two employees empty handed. During the resolution the screen switches from the old empty RadioShack to a new sleeker looking store you hear a man narrating about the new RadioShack. You can watch the ad here

Though both ads are different, I would say both are very successful. Though the Radioshack ad is short and to the point, I would say the Budweiser ad had a stronger narrative and used more native advertising. I would definitely say both have a similar target audience, men ages 21–45 (somewhere in that area) but they went about reaching them differently. Even though I think the Budweiser ad has a better narrative, I think the Radioshack ad is more eye-catching and more likely to be shared.

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